Once upon a time, when there were still real intellectuals in Venezuela, when we thought democracy was coming, we used to say of Gomez that he was a ferocious dictator and that he managed the country as if it were its own rural estate. We must say that after 13 years of Chavez if one Venezuelan caudillo will be rehabilitated it is Gomez. Sure, Gomez stole a lot of public funds but he did not steal more than other caudillos, just for a longer time. And still, Venezuela was better off when he died than when he took charge. Let's just imagine for a minute how good would Venezuela had been if Gomez had stolen less than he did....
With Chavez we cannot even give him the benefit of the doubt since he steals money for the most useless causes. At least Gomez invested most of what he stole in Venezuela, buying cattle ranches and paying off Venezuelans to get peace. Chavez just grabs money and throws it out the window. Indeed, if there are mega scandals of fraud or corruption like the millions of tons of food that rotted, there are also "lesser" scandals such as the millions given to the F1 Williams team for no return to the country whatsoever. Our own Alek Boyd has it all, this time around working with Representative Ramos.
Personally any motor race is a No-No for me, for the environment, for the noise, for the waste, etc, etc... My stuff is sailing, hiking, swimming. But in Venezuela, a superficial and lazy country if any, F1 car racing is big. So Chavez in one of his now multiple acts of fancy decided to finance Williams to the tune of a few million dollars as long as one of their main drivers was Pastor Maldonado, some kid from Maracay who did good in the minor league of car racing, whatever these are.
The political fallout at first was good: Pastor came to Venezuela with a prototype before the season started and a whole bunch of people Ooohed and Aaaahed in rapture as he did a few laps at Los Proceres, our Army parade field.
But it went all down the drain fast. Pastor in all of the season has been able to mark a single point while the winner, a certain Vettel, has 374 as of this typing. Our own Gustavo Coronel who follows F1 has lovingly been reporting on Pastor's multiple excuses and propaganda stints with Chavez.
But all good things must go an end and now there is someone in Venezuela questioning the legality of the Chavez grants to Williams, grants given because he felt like it, even though there was possibly no positive return for Venezuela, even though that money spent in athletic facilities could have improved, say, last dismal results at the Panamerican Games.
It is not a book about Corruption in Venezuela under Chavez that we will write someday, it is an encyclopaedia....