Electric Kool Aid Acid Guiso

A 100 megawatt GE LMS-100 gas turbine. Price: $36 million. Unless you're Bariven. Then it's $96 million.

You remember Chávez’s Electrical Emergency Decree, right? Signed during the blackout-prone days of early 2010, it allowed state agencies to circumvent normal public sector procurement processes to obtain new generating equipment. Ever wonder what happened with that?

Well, thanks to some enterprising reporting over at Ultimas Noticias, we’re starting to find out. For one thing, it seems that Bariven – PDVSA’s procurement subsidiary – offered $767 million for $400 million worth of gas turbines, but didn’t pay in full, so none of the turbines were ever actually delivered. Bello. 

Say what you will about Eleazar Diaz Rangel, but UN actually has reporters out there running down stories like this.  And that’s the only way we’ll get to hear about it, cuz for all the attention this story’s getting from Venezuela’s anti-corruption tsar the guy might as well have dropped dead.

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  1. “Say what you will about Eleazar Diaz Rangel, but UN actually has reporters out there running down stories like this.”

    Go figure. Eleazar is all in with el proceso, pero su periodico tiene tubazos de vez en cuando.

    • Is he? I remember like two years ago he was praising the military regime but I also remember a couple of months ago Izarra and even the Caudillo himself criticizing Últimas Noticias. Hasn’t there been a progressive change?

      • I don’t care that much about EDR’s personal politics, I care about the kind of journalism he devotes resources to. Why don’t we find stories like this in El Nacional? In El Universal? Because they don’t give their reporters the time and space to research and write them.

          • In my view print journalism in venezuela is (a little bit) more committed to investigate than its broadcasting counterpart. You can barely find investigative journalism in TV these days.
            Globo tries, but still comes off (because of the sensationalism who lingers in its presentation). For me, less tabloid and more seriousness, like PBS’ Frontline.

            But compare it to open national and regional channels (including the media state apparatus), more interested in the same old tour of the barrio without basic services, the obssesive following of the local so-called celebrities or the personality cult directed to you know who.

          • Re: Quico

            El Universal has a section called Expediente every sunday about a single theme. This week is about the state of Los Roques


            El nacional has a similar page called Siete Dias (Seven days). This week is about education, because the new school year begins tomorrow.


            Must admit that the print version is superior to what you can found online.

            The thing about the difference between print and TV was a personal rant.

          • Geha, there is another journalist at El Universal with a surname that seems Polish or the like. That person also writes rather decent reports, specially on corruption. I can’t remember the name now…but there aren’t so many non-Spanish surnames there.

        • don’t know, it’s not that I am very happy with the other newspapers. I specially find amazing how those newspapers in general cannot show things in perspective…comparing two recent dates is the most…comparing the development of anything through several years is unheard of. Simple charts about anything are apparently unheard of in Venezuela (I remember having to plot charts when I started secondary school, though). Scandals like the FONDEN thing are not followed up. Still: perhaps things are even worse now that those newspapers are losing money. I understand Últimas Noticias was doing much better in that respect…if you have a little bit more of dosh you may feel you have more space and time

  2. Yes, and follow-up on lots of things. This article not only shows
    an unthinkable purchase “deal” -and none ever got installed.
    Double slap in the face for “el pueblo”..
    Military purchases for example. All those billions.
    Or, how are those “farmer trainers”from Cuba who are supposed to
    teach Venezuelans how to farm-how is that going?

    • P.S. Heard anything about Venezuelan Navy lately?
      What about those submarines from Russia?
      Is Chavez investing in the Bolivian Navy also?-haha

  3. If a tree falls in a forest and the people of the village it almost fell on top of refuse to see it or hear it, did it really happen?

    Seriously… Does reporting of corruption and malfeasance in the government make ANY difference at all? The people who don’t want to hear it won’t. The people who might once have cared have long since used up their capacity for outrage. You can keep on investigating and reporting, for the record. But it can no longer make any difference.

      • I think it’s significant when Ultimas Noticias talks about corruption. UN is more widely-read by swing voters and chavista sympathizers than any of the other traditional newspapers out there. The message penetrates more when it comes from them.

        The problem is that UN is not read widely in the boonies, which is where this story would have bite, because that’s where the blackouts are occurring.

  4. “Bajo esas directrices, Bariven, presidida en ese momento por Luis Pulido, hoy detenido en la sede del Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (Sebin) en Naguanagua por el caso de la pudrición de los alimentos de Pdval, realizó la operación. ”

    I thought it was confusing that a chavista paper would attack government work. Not to rain on your parade…

    • It’s not so simple. The story names three firms – Ovarb Industrial LLC, KCT Cumaná II Internacional and Derwick Associates S.A. – directly benefitting from the overcharging. Whomever’s behind Ovarb, KCT and Derwick is not a happy camper today…

      • My point is that even extremely competent journalism, if in the hands of a chavista, is just a political tool.

        “Whomever’s behind Ovarb, KCT and Derwick is not a happy camper today…”

        I think its more Ockham-ish to assume that this is part of the intended political outcome rather than a case of a chavista doing things right for doing things right’s sake. Maybe someone didn’t get their cut of the shenanigans that should have gotten a cut. Whatever it was, the situation makes me think of how certain chavistas have been chosen to be guillotined to appease el pueblo’s worries about corruption within the government. If that is the case here, then a beautifully writen article works all the more in Chavez’s favour.

        • Apreciado lector. Es el mismo argumento que columnistas de postín están utilizando para desacreditar mi trabajo. Pero le puedo asegurar que mi trabajo es periodismo de investigación con un solo propósito, conseguir la verdad. Saludos

  5. there is another article about about Derwick in UN by the same author http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/economia/firma-hace-billete-con-crisis-electrica-nacional.aspx

    I used to live next door to one of the owners at Derwick, in La Lagunita. I know one of the other partners in the company. This is a story of true oligarchs turned boligarchs.

    I have a contract in one of the plants (Guarenas I). I was not contracted by Derwick, but by a company let’s call it Company X. Company X was hired by Proenergy which in turn was contracted by Derwick who has the contract of Corpoelec. I can tell you the proenergy folks are very capable. Company X was not even staffed by engineers (I guess this is why they hire me). I never saw on the site anyone from Derwick (except once when Ali Araque was there). My thoughts about the quality of the works is that they were good but to accomplish them they were very wasteful and hired lots of people doing nothing.

  6. “Bajo esas directrices, Bariven, presidida en ese momento por Luis Pulido, hoy detenido en la sede del Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (Sebin) en Naguanagua por el caso de la pudrición de los alimentos de Pdval, realizó la operación.”

    Is it me or this stinks of “Let’s blame Snowball for everything”? I mean, it might be possible that this guy is in fact guilty of two major corruption scandals in unrelated sectors, specially with the nepotism that runs free in the govt. But it also might be he is a scape goat, very convenient these days.

  7. I may not have it right, but isn’t Ultimas Noticias part of Cadena Capriles?

    Isn’t Herinque Capriles Radonsky related to those Capriles’?

    IF both above are true, is it any wonder UN has run those stories, and will continue to run stories like those from now until sometime in October of 2012?

    Just sayin, y vaina, de pana and everything………………………………….

    • Como redactor de la nota, le puedo asegurar que no existe ninguna relación entre el tema y la precandidatura del señor Henrique Capriles. Si realiza un seguimiento de lo que hemos publicado en la Unidad de Investigación durante los últimos años, observará que tenemos nuestra propia agenda, con el interés de hallar la verdad.



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