[UPDATED] A thoughtful reader, without any respect for my well deserved break, but remembering that I was victim of an extortion in Puerto Cabello a couple of months ago, sent me this little piece of news where in the US the Venezuelan public "servant", a certain Rafael Ramos de la Rosa in charge of Unovalores was trying to get out of their owners 2 million dollars so as to write them a favorable report that would free them of major responsibility, allow them to keep their business alive, and avoid jail. That is, either you give me 2 million dollars or you go to jail and lose your business, regardless or how guilty you may be, or not.
Unfortunately for Rafael he forgot that in the US there is an independent judicial system and that extortion is not as easy as it is in Venezuela where you own the blessing of the regime. Venezuela, the most corrupt "democracy" in the world, by far, if we are to believe all the recent publications on that subject. He is kind of an idiot by the way, because after the Antonini affair of the 800,000 USD (those were the times! now we are talking millions!) he should know that anyone who does not risk jail under US law will call law enforcement agencies to help them out. Unlike in Venezuela where guilty or innocent you still need to negotiate your extortion amount with the chavista official, military, local pol, whatever, that you had the misfortune to cross in your path. So Rafael is now in a Florida jail awaiting who knows what.
Thus you have it, the routine extortion system in Venezuela where the chavista regime has set a system to steal from the private enterprise whatever they feel like stealing, from extortion to allow you to remain alive, barely, to outright seizure of the business.
How long until the country collapses? Because I hope you do realize that such an "economic" system where organized robbery replaces organized production can last only for so long.
UPDATE!!!! La Patilla, a real news website, gives us the papers that led to the arrest of Ramos in the US. In it he states simply that his boss, Sanchez, the guy he set up with the extortion scheme to the different trading houses they seized earlier this year, wants to become finance minister because Giordani is sick and cannot last much longer. I suppose he has the right credentials, he is pro Chavez and knows how to operate highway robbery schemes. What else do you need to run Venezuela's economy?