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Column 042312 Brewer

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Corruptive Failure of Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution

By Jerry Brewer

Thirteen years ago Hugo Chavez was sworn in as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. And then, with his "Bolivarian Revolution" ideology, Chavez set out to build a mass movement to implement "popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption."

President Chavez's Bolivarianism, a slanted and sinister interpretation of Simon Bolivar's rule and doctrine, was an extreme and forced socialist perspective that has imposed horrific sacrifices on the Venezuelan people and their once cherished homeland. It is not a democracy; there is virtually no economic independence and equitable distribution of revenue; and political corruption has been a rampant unwelcomed commodity. His "Bolivarian Revolution" is clearly a leftist political and social movement that is reminiscent of the failed and shameful 50 year Cuban revolution of Fidel Castro.

With little doubt, a parallax view of the Hugo Chavez' government exists and it is anything but transparent. 

Without a modicum of diplomacy in his veins, Chavez has probably inflicted more lasting structural damage on Venezuela's political institutions, economy, and people than any other president in Venezuela's history.

Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has essentially been destroyed by the Chavez leftist regime, this to an oil company that generated over 90% of the country's foreign exchange earnings, while providing jobs to around 100,000 employees. Chavez's incompetence has apparently led to "over $50 billion of financial debt to this institution."

However, Chavez's fortune grew considerably as Venezuela's wealth rapidly diminished.

Eladio Aponte, a Venezuelan Supreme Court judge removed from his post last month for allegedly assisting a drug trafficker, has accused the Chavez regime bosses of "systematic manipulation of the courts, including meddling in drug cases."  Officials have revealed that Aponte has been in contact with U.S. DEA officials in Costa Rica, where he fled over two weeks ago, having been "flown out aboard a U.S. government plane."

Hugo Chavez's regime ended cooperation with the DEA in 2005.

Aponte is making open statements about Chavez regime corruption that mirror many similar ones by former Chavez government officials, as well as those by a major Venezuelan drug trafficker, Walid Makled, who is being held by Venezuelan authorities and who the U.S. is seeking to extradite.

An affidavit for extradition for Makled, issued in November 2010 by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, states: "From approximately 2006 through August 2010, Walid Makled-Garcia operated and controlled several airstrips located in Venezuela." The airstrips "were used by different drug trafficking organizations in order to fly multi-thousand kilogram quantities of cocaine out of Venezuela, to locations in Central America."

On April 10, 2006, one of these flights that departed from Simon Bolivar International Airport in Venezuela, landed in Campeche, Mexico with 5,600 kilograms of cocaine.  DEA sources listed in the affidavit that Makled "makes payments to the Venezuelan police and national guard" to guarantee safe departure from Venezuela without "law enforcement interdiction or intervention."

The Chavez regime was also accused of funneling "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to the campaign of Argentina's (now) President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

In 2007, Venezuelan businessman Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson arrived in Argentina on a private flight hired by Argentina's state oil company with Venezuelan state officials, carrying nearly "US$800,000 in cash which he failed to declare."  Chavez had planned to travel to Argentina in August 2007 to refinance billions of US dollars in Argentine debt through bond purchases and announce a natural gas deal.

And now, the Argentine President recently announced that her government will seize controlling interest in the YPF oil company in Argentina, "51 percent of which is owned by the Spanish oil concern Repsol."  This action mirrors many of Chavez's actions in nationalizing businesses in Venezuela.

The recent accusations by former Supreme Court Judge Aponte included a statement saying he was frequently "told by the presidential palace how to rule on judicial cases that the government was interested in." He claims he was "often contacted" by Alejandro Castillo, a federal prosecutor, whom Aponte described as being part of a group of "preferred" officials inside the Attorney General's office who worked closely with the Chavez Miraflores Palace.

Aponte reported that the directives of the justice system in Venezuela come from judges and prosecutors in the "Vice President's office" who "regularly" meet to "discuss what action to take in legal cases that [are] important to the government." One such case he cites was an order by senior government officials to release a Venezuelan army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Maggino Belichi, who had been arrested in November 2005 for allegedly helping smuggle 2 tons of cocaine in the state of Lara, Venezuela.

Regarding Chavez's record and rule of Venezuela, these issues will come before the people as they vote on October 7th of this year -- in what are hoped to be upright, transparent and democratic elections.

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.


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