|A mere 75 million USD, airplane not included|
One does not know what to really make of Alek's latest findings. In a time of financial crisis the Venezuelan government through its Central Bank (BCV) makes available to a third party in Britain of 2 billion dollars in bonds for charity purposes in the Caribbean. What a sweet gesture you may say, but take a closer look....
The bond seems to be processed through an Isle of Man firm (tax heaven, by the way) whose declared values are a mere 2,000 pounds. One pound supports 1 million dollars. Surely there is something legal somewhere to justify that but at the very least the ethics are to be questioned. I mean, a 2,000L company could well serve to finance, say, an industrial project worth a couple million dollars. But a 2 billion bond issue? Do 2,000L even manage to pay the computer and desk required to control the financing?
The next item to note is that a supposedly noted charity manager from England is the appointed person to fly across Central America and the Caribbean to spread the wealth is a Conservative Party guy, a certain Tony Caplin. Well, being a conservative or labor or liberal is no guarantee of impartiality and honesty. But let's not be petty. I mean, is there no one in Venezuela able to disburse two billion dollars directly to charities? Why must we use an intermediary that surely will cash something for his travails? After years of Petrocaribe largesse we have no one that has bothered to know first hand the charitable necessities of CARICOM?
Oh dear! Call me crazy but this smacks of two things: corruption and vote buying at the OAS in prevision of next year electoral fraud all but officially announced by Chavez. I mean, will the prime minister of Banana Island will be able to vote against Chavez a few weeks after s/he received a fat check for a mere million?
Not to mention that Venezuelan hospitals and school could use a little bit of that charity.
This morning when I read first the news I was outraged more than anything else by the need to seek some Brit to do something that I could do myself for cheaper and better and less corrupt if Chavez were to call me (yes I would, if Chavez really wanted to do charity I would cooperate with him). Thus my text on this first impression, that we cannot even steal ourselves through charity...
The thing is that there is something rather fantastic about the whole scheme, from the amount to the purpose, almost as if it was done so that folks would get caught. You now, like the Nigerian Prince dead father with a big inheritance that cannot be cashed scheme on spam.
Since it was a story by Alek who has hit a few good ones before and there is no reason for me to think he did not do his homework, I will let him bring further evidence as to its sustainability.
I prefer to make the following comment: after all the scandals from Pudreval to the FONDEN missing funds, we are now so blasé that we are willing to take at face value any of such schemes. Maybe the judicial system is so useless in Venezuela that now they do not care anymore as to people finding out; or maybe it is indeed someone making fun of us. Whatever it is, one thing is certain, it is a sad reflection on how degraded a society we are now.
[written at 7 PM the same day]
What do you know? I received a tip as to this thing from Miguel in the afternoon and wrote this caveat above when I reached home after work. A little bit later I do my evening survey of news and Miguel reports more work on it, and that his conclusion is that it was fake. Ill intentioned alright, but more than likely fake as far as the documents stand. Though it may still be proven true, but that is up to Alek.
My caveat above thus still stands with the added warning that the corruption of the regime is making all sorts of shady practices float around, linked or not to the regime (just as Nigeria noted corruption created that spam industry around its prince and other victims of air plane crashes).
As for me, even if it comes from Alek, I will bite my keyboard for a few hours before transmitting the news.
We should also note that even if this particular "gift" is not true, the moneys given by the regime in the Caribbean over the last decade are way higher in total. What is a billion more between friends?
[written at 7:45 PM]