Like almost anyone else who has an idea about the graft corruption of Venezuela, I was a little stunned when I learned that the 4 banks of Fernandez Barrueco were "intervened" and that the guy found himself in a DISIP cell yesterday.
Stunned by the speedy story from rags to riches to jail, but not by the story itself since it is a classic tale of corrupt regimes who start to devour themselves as the money runs out. Then, those who "did well" are resented as not sharing enough with their little friends. Perhaps the most historically famous case was the one of the Templars, long time friends and financiers of the French monarchy and its obscure dealings, to be send to the burning stake when Philippe IV run out of cash and needed the fortune of the Templars to pay his debts. OK, maybe not a good example as the Templars were something else than the mediocre state sponsored robbers flourishing under any autocratic corrupt regime, recently here at home. The fact of the matter is that people like Chavez, Peron or Castro (or Gomez to name an earlier one) never had any problem sacrificing any former ally they had when money or power was at risk.
Considering there are now three blogs doing all sorts of economic reports I have stopped following as closely these financial dealings nfocusing on other stuff such as election thingies. For the details on the Barrueco story you can go for example to Miguel or to the very well informed Caracas Gringo.
My modest contribution here is to remind readers that this month we are also commemorating the fifth anniversary of Danilo Anderson assassination and we are equally far from knowing who ordered such an assassination. In fact, we can even doubt that those condemned for the actual murder were those who made said murder. We have gone as far as establishing the necessity to investigate Isaias Rodriguez for ordering the falsification of documents during the investigation, and of producing false witnesses. Yet, the victims of Isaias and his false witness are still under investigation when not in exile while Isaias Rodriguez is enjoying himself as Venezuela's ambassador in Spain. The General Prosecutor, after hinting at an investigation as simply kept her mouth shut since.
So, what is the connection you may ask? The current main hypothesis on the reasons to murder Danilo Anderson is that he was participating in an extortion ring. As a prosecutor he had access to lots of documents who allowed him to investigate banking activities of people supposedly involved in the 2002 events against Chavez. Such an extortion ring has been denounced but never investigated as it should because, well, it was also probably used to start the creation of new fortunes. Some of the investigated parties were probably forced to get rid at discount prices of part of their assets at a time where Chavez needed reliable providers to avoid again the stress of the 2002-2003 strike.
2003 was a good year to start such immediate fortunes. Oil prices were rising and Chavez was spending without control to prepare himself against the Recall Election. Anyone wanting to help Chavez was welcomed with no questions asked, while Chavez entourage understanding now that eternity was not their sure lot started using front men, cashing all sorts of "favor" money to secure a golden retirement. Classic tale of regime's corruption except that it was all compressed in barely a year in the Venezuelan case. The survival of Chavez in the Recall Election simply must have convinced him to keep the system in an elemental "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" reflex as the guys getting rich around him distracted his attention with international dreams of grandeur.
Danilo Anderson was the first case, and last for a while because its purpose was to scare away anyone who was willing to either prosecute these thieves, or be tempted to have second thoughts about their practices (1). High oil prices did the rest to butter up the system as no matter how much was robbed, enough was trickling down to pacify and convince the masses to stick with Chavez.
But make no mistake, those who ordered the assassination of Danilo Anderson were placed high in power, the only reason why the case as never solved. I am not going to speculate who gave the order to kill Anderson and forced Isaias to lie. Maybe there was more than one interest. I am not going to speculate either as to whether those who killed Anderson are behind Fernandez Barrueco sudden downfall. It is really not the point.
My point is that the mechanisms of corruption and power work all the same and are at the origin of Anderson like folks assassination as well as the making and unmaking of cover guys like Fernandez Barrueco.
It simply yet another evidence that what came to power in Venezuela on February 2, 1999 was not a socialist revolution but a mafia gang that used populist, socialist words and demagoguery as an excuse to loot the country. Venezuela is just a country controlled by a new type of Mafia, perhaps at this point already controlled by narco traffic interests. Which makes you wonder about people like Lula or Zapatero who cannot not know what is going on in Venezuela. Uribe and the US do, not that it is of much solace.
ADDED in proof: as I was typing this post Caracas Gringo was also typing a new entry. Do not miss it! Names and all!!!!
1) there are plenty of entries in this blog with Anderson Case as a label if you need to refresh your memory.
Sort of off topic, but as I was catching up my reading at Caracas Gringo I found his recent entries with yet more information over the 2002 events. In a way he did not taught me anything since I always suspected that there were coup-within-coup-within-plots maneuvers, but he actually bring in names that I had not heard of yet. Whoever Gringo is, he is too well connected for his own good and should be careful. by the way, ZETA this week uses extensively one of his articles to discuss the electricity problem at Guri.