One Guy vs. the Petrokleptocracy


This week on, I try to explain to a gringo audience that the real problem with cases like the Aban Pearl’s isn’t just the unabashed looting of public funds; it’s that Venezuela’s institutions have been degraded to the point that there are simply no repercussions at all for people engaged in this sort of scam.

Obsessive lone-wolf bloggers are now more or less our only remaining line of defense against total impunity. And we don’t have nearly enough of them…

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  1. Good article and I have hope that these efforts to expose the corruption won’t remain in vain. The statute of limitation for corruption crimes doesn’t start to pass until the person is out of office. The other thing is that corruption is a pretty handy tool for chavismo to get rid of someone who becomes undesirable or falls from grace. Its such a very perverse system: hire unqualified officers, let them steal shamelessly, don’t prosecute anyone, just charge them when they jump the talanquera (Baduel) or when they fall from grace from unknown reasons (Justices of the TSJ)

  2. So many corruption scandals AND outrageous crime AND the giveaway of our resources to other countries: people should be fed up and the opposition should be winning by a huge margin, which amazingly is not.

    I’m tired of listening that the government bribes and threatens voters with losing privileges, enticing them to give their vote to Chavez. If they are bribed it’s because corruption flows in their veins, if they are scared of losing privileges it’s because they are self-oriented. It’s time to attribute Chavez’s authoritarian regime to Venezuelans, who have elected him twice and have all the tools to stop him.

    All efforts to present corruption scandals in Venezuela are extremely important but will seem worthless if Chavez is reelected.

  3. Would have been nice to go back to the old-fashioned
    old-testament Crime and PUNISHMENT world.
    Yet after PJ’s ouster,
    and some mild slaps
    on the wrists that followed,
    the Criollo Way became the Crime and CONSEQUENCE Highway,
    with much heart wrenching HOWLS, pityfull WAILS, and
    ever wider and deeper pockets for the
    CHORRO of ill-gotten gains.

  4. Gustavo is a man of utmost integrity, a moral beacon, a rarity in Venezuela, one of those walking encyclopaedias on all things oil in Venezuela, his commitment to the country second to none. You are right FT, we don’t have nearly close to enough of them…

    • I want to confirm Alex’ description of Gustavo Coronel. My father died last year after having lived the remaining 15 or so of his 94 years as an ex-pat in Maryland. His memorial service took place on a day that tornadoes were wrecking havoc, making any travel precarious at best. Mr. Coronel nevertheless showed up to pay his last respects to “un viejo Adeco” who had been “out of the game” for many years.

  5. Nice work on the article, Quico. I would have put in a snazzier title, though. “Corruption never sinks”, perhaps?

  6. No question that Gustavo Coronel, as well as FT, are doing incredibly valuable service to their Country as “Lone Wolf Bloggers”! And, FT, in case you haven’t yet seen it, in newspaper “La Razon,”July15-22, 2012, pp.A1/8, Carlos Penaloza explains how national elections in Venezuela have been/will be fixed electronically with no trace. I personally would be very interested in Bloggers’ views on this, particularly Eric, who has commented so intelligently on electoral fraud in the past.

      • Well, NET and Firepigette, about an hour ago I posted a long piece about vote fraud and Teodoro Petkoff’s role in attempting (quite successfully, until this last year) to suppress it as a topic of debate in Venezuela and abroad, but I guess Quico found it too inflammatory and decided to not to publish it. Actually, I’m not suprised. Teodoro’s influence as an intellectual caudillo is very powerful, and many people, including Quico, take whatever he says as the gospel truth. It’s a pity, because he’s run one of the greatest political con jobs ever put over in modern Venezuelan politics.

        • Thanks anyway Eric.

          Political correctness watch:

          Pervasive intellectual caudillismo extends its influence,and Petkoff ranks high in this category.

          This form of caudillismo is a mind parasite which is essentially so internalized that it takes a life of its own.It then easily justifies itself, elaborates itself, gangs up on truth, and intimidates the healthier parts of the mind.Intellectual caudillismo is a dictator who comes to power ” legitimately, but then corrupts the levers of power to stay their there and eliminate opponents.

          We have to have a free discussion to be able to discover the truth.We have to discuss all the possibilities in order to tackle any complicated reality.Intellectual caudillismo seeks to stifle that free discussion.

        • Eric. apart from intellectual caudillismo and leftover radical leftism, Teodoro has an interest in publishing “Tal Cual”, which , I assume, would have a hard time surviving without Cadivi dollars for newsprint. But, to summarize Penaloza (who, I recall, was the Comandante of the Ejercito who warned the Adeco Leadership about Chavez before his Golpe, but was ignored), the SmartMatic machines are bi-directional, can deliver data to a variety of illegal data collection centers, where they are massaged to be delivered to the CNE some 3-4 hours after polls close, and then are given to the public as gospel. At this time, there is no physical proof of fraud, which can only be dis-proven by a full manual count of all voting cuadernos (probably soon-to-be “safely” stored in Fuerte Tiuna). Anything less than a resounding Capriles landslide will once again be lost in the Chavez fraudulent shuffle. Comments, if any?

  7. Hats off to Gustavo Coronel and to Caracas Chronicles’s Quico and Juan.

    “it’s that Venezuela’s institutions have been degraded to the point that there are simply no repercussions at all for people engaged in this sort of scam.”

    In a reasonably free society and sane government, people like you are always and ever the very first step in bringing the racketeers deed to light and making them feel repercussions.

    There’s never enough people doing it, thanks to the Web and blogging for making it possible to people other than employed journalists.

    Now the task after October 7th., supposing we win, is of nation building. We have to build a justice system. What we have now is a PSUV appendix, or rather a PSUV narcokleptocracy appendix. I can bet it’s so utterly dishonest and shameless that even now it will do nothing. Except maybe try to harass the denouncing parties.

    • This and Mr Coronel’s blogs, as a few other blogs I read such as Venepiramides, Devil’s Excrement, etc. play an important roll, perhaps the only one, in unveiling and analyzing the atrocities that are being carried out by the chavista regimeand its cronies. However, I’m afraid and concerned this information does not reach many at home. First of all, it’s elitesquely written , – we are writing- in english which only a few in Venezuela can understand. If ithis blog is meant for the international community, then I believe its focus is not correctly oriented for it’s more than proven that Venezuelans are alone in the struggle to reach a change in government.

  8. Alex brings up a valid point: who are with writing to? I would comment as follows:
    My blog is in Spanish and I have been dennouncing the Aban Pearl fraud both in Spanish and English since 2010, both in my blog, http://www.lapatilla,com, in ND (they have given me much coberture) and in, to liitle or no reaction. Now I see has also taken up the battle for Aban Pearl and, of course, the very well-read Caracas Chronicle has written up on it and Quico has written a great summary for FP. I see that, slowly, the cry is being heard about the dismal ethical behavior of PDVSA.
    It is true that Caracas Chronicles, The Devil’s Excrement, Alek Boyd’s blog, Venezuela news and Views, Setty’s Notebook, Caracas Gringo, are all in English but they have many followers. There is an audience in English which is well-informed and influential.
    For our specialized topics the audience in Spanish is, amazingly, smaller or, at least, less vocal. C.C can easily get 100 comments in any story. In my blog, at the most, I get 10 or 11 comments. I can get 8000 readings in ND in my articles in Spanish about the Aban Pearl or other texts on government corruption but if I get 15 comments I consider that a lot.
    The net result is that I simply do not know if I am reaching enough people with my whistle blowing or if this simply one more case of vox clamantis in deserto, as the Darmouth College banner reads. All I can do is keep insisting. And really, Quico has given me a greaat push forward.
    All in all I am optimistic. (I need to be).

    • Please keep insisting, Dr. Coronel. I also believe that your/these Blogs’ audience includes a sufficient number of international opinion makers to make all your efforts worthwhile!

    • IMHO, it would be more accurate to think –
      “There is a huge English-speaking
      [spanglish?] Venezuelan audience
      which is well-informed & well educated….”
      Let’s not shortchange our home-grown Tacos and Tacas 🙂

      Gustavo Coronel says Re:
      There is an audience in English which is well-informed and influential.


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