The Fortress

In a government marked by opacity, CADIVI stands alone for its total data impenetrability.


Even when set against other opaque government agencies, Cadivi stands alone and cloaked in shadow.

I’ve spent much of the past five years entreating various Venezuelan bureaucrats to share data for research purposes—sometimes successfully, other times laughed out of the room. Either way, at ministry after ministry, and even at the Central Bank, I’ve always had a shot, a chance, a foot in the door.

Always, that is, except at Cadivi.

Last February I traveled to Caracas expressly to speak with an actual human being inside the agency. I started with the caminos verdes, asking friends to put me in touch with any Cadivi employee they knew: even a security guard, I told them, a janitor, an IT guy. This failed, so I turned to the caminos not-so-verdes. I scoured old newspaper articles for names of Cadivi officials and then looked up those names in the CANTV whitepages. I cold-called. Most people who answered thought that I was crazy. Then, at one house, a friendly voice told me that I had the right number—but that I was looking for his son, a former Cadivi employee who had moved to Colombia. So I called Colombia. No dice. In short, I pulled out all the stops, including this one: if you have ever worked at Cadivi, I would love to hear from you.

Without inside information, my coauthor Bobby Gulotty and I are currently using Cadivi’s public data (this, for example)—together with data and interviews from less-impenetrable parts of the government—to try to understand who really profited from the dollar giveaway. 

It’s better than nothing, and on good days I feel that we’ve learned something, that we’ve found a window onto the story of Chavismo. Other days, I feel that we have only a keyhole, and catch flashes of the scene without the full picture. That’s when I want a hammer to break down the door.

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  1. I went to Uni with one CADIVI employee. I think he was in the imports division, and almost no one in the classroom knew where he worked. CADIVI -turns out- was a great place to work, full of perks in the early years and not so good when the military peeps took over. This guy had a Master’s degree and his boss was un Coronel that was clueless.

  2. I once heard (not completely reliable source) that you could get in contact with the assistant of a hotshot in Cadivi and they will charge a determined amount in Bs for each dollar she got you approved.

  3. BTW when Hernández Behrens (a devout evangelical christian) was there apparently it was like a evangelical mafia controlled the institution.

  4. People should be in the street with pitchforks asking for Transparency.
    I can not even imagine the drain that is going on as we speak.
    With the $ at 1000 the profits are bigger than ever and growing by the day.

    Lost hope in Humanity. I just watched a video of a poor chavista woman from the barrios really concerned that the Opposition will steal the money from the poor.
    We should encourage more people like her to vote to “defend their rights and interest” lol [sarcasm]

    • ….exactly my point in raising awareness and preparing for the pitchfork event.

      The Chavista apparatchik has been busy for 17 years + in blaming everything in la derecha apatrida. Lets be wary of what we wish for, once the social explosions coalescence into that major single event, the turbas may be headed to el cafetal and los palos grandes adn not to miraflores instead.

      Its key to establish and assigning responsibilities at once!

      First at a media and communicative narrative level, so pitchforks face the right way, and later at a legal and judicial system level if we are able to survive as a nation the coming shock.

  5. apparently the Cadivi fortress is about to get refurbished , Minister Faria today announced that the old forex system didnt work anymore and that very soon announcements would be made regarding its adjustment ……, Carnival time is a traditional time for govts in Venezuela to take uncomfortable decisions , people are kind of distracted and dont get that sore.!! This kind of anouncements have been made before with nothing happening afterwards …..maybe with the situation being so critical , this time the announced adjustment will be for real….!! Time will tell….


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