Luisa Turns on the Fan, to Little Effect

Luisa Ortega's highly anticipated speech in Brazil to fellow Prosecutors General included no actual evidence, at least one crazy exaggeration, and ultimately did more to undermine her credibility than the regime's.

After her movie-worthy, boat & private jet-included escape to Colombia (the type of absurd escapade that’s only a fantasy for most of chavismo’s political prisoners, including the ones that she put away), Luisa Ortega Díaz started to spill the beans on chavista honchos shenanigans during a Prosecutor General’s Convention in Brasilia. At least for now, her revelations are underwhelming.

Luisa reminded us why she once used to fit in comfortably among the chavista elite. Displaying shocking ignorance, she claimed that the government paid Odebrecht $300 billion for 11 unfinished projects in Venezuela: a ludicrous figure worthy of Austin Powers, or notorious hucksters Arevenca maybe.

You’d think by now, Luisa would have nothing to lose and so she came ready to present hard evidence. No such luck.

In her speech, Ortega Díaz made a series of evidence-free accusations against top chavistas: Nicolás Maduro owns a Mexican company that imports the products used for CLAP boxes, someone wired a Spanish company Diosdado Cabello’s cousins owns $100 million, her successor as Prosecutor General, Tarek William Saab, was involved in several PDVSA corruption schemes and ANC member Jorge Rodríguez was also involved in the Odebrecht bribes case, she said.

You’d think by now, Luisa would have nothing to lose and so she came ready to present hard evidence. In its absence, these claims are no different from the gossip you overhear in many a Caracas restaurant or autobuseta. She promised to deliver copies of the documentary basis for her claims to the authorities of several countries including the US, Spain, and Colombia. Why not the public?

Meanwhile, SEBIN released a video of its raid on her Caracas home. It shows a lavish, decadent lifestyle way beyond her Prosecutor-General paygrade. Frankly, it’s more outrageous than any of her allegations.  

Her muscle-bound replacement, Tarek William Saab also struck back reminding us of Luisa’s lackluster performance as Prosecutor General. As cynical as his statements are, they double up as an uncomfortable reminder of the many crimes and irregularities that went down during her watch. In the government battle to jam Luisa’s new claim to sainthood, the erstwhile Fiscal gave the government more than enough ammo over the years.

Venezuela didn’t morph from a peachy democracy into a narcokleptocracy suddenly in March 2017. The reality is that, for nearly a decade, Ortega led a corrupt and subservient institution that aided the government’s authoritarian drift at every turn. It’s naive to think that she’s the only one who has dirt on people.