One day we’ll have tough investigative media…like Nicaragua does.

Nicaragua’s Confidencial magazine has the scoop on corruption in Albanisa – Alba de Nicaragua, S.A. – a binational firm created with Venezuelan state capital. Though Albanisa  has expanded to sectors as varied as power generation, agro-exporting, construction, forestry, hotels and even private TV, its backbone is as an oil firm…in fact, the firm manages the remarkable feat of being a loss making oil company. The firm lost $20 million last year on $400 million in sales – big bucks at Nicaragua’s scale.

How did they manage that? By selling subsidized oil and products at cost and then allowing well-connected partners to sell them on at profit, while running losses in all other activities. Even the PSF-reduct that is the Council on Hemispheric Affairs is horrified.

The thing that got me from the Confidencial report, though, is this:

 Esta semana, una copia en Excel de las cuentas de la contabilidad de la empresa que cubren los años 2007 y 2008, más ocho meses de operaciones del 2009. Después de comprobar la veracidad de la información contable con más de cinco fuentes especializadas, Confidencial decidió poner a disposición del público las cuentas y balances de Albanisa, algunas de las cuales como las cuentas SIFO fueron elaboradas por los propios auditores de PDVSA (emphasis added.)

Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles…there are still magazines running actual investigative stories, verifying their leaks with experts and writing the reports…but only in Nicaragua.

Algún día, con suerte, llegaremos a ese nivel de desarrollo…

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