Give me that bank

For Friday, May 4, 2018. Translated by Javier Liendo.

Photo: Univision

The Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants against 11 Banesco executives for their alleged involvement in a foreign currency black market, according to imposed prosecutor general Tarek William Saab, who claimed that the executives “acted by omission,” even though the investigation’s just begun and consequently, he couldn’t produce evidence about the bank’s alleged bad practices, completely bypassing due process, presumption of innocence and the right to property.

In his tale, the existence of a parallel financial system undermines the country’s socio-economic development, not the controls, corruption or hyperinflation. In any case, we have the precedent of the intervention carried out by the government against exchange bureaus to “finish off” the black market dollar. Those people spent two years in prison without a trial and were released without charges against them. The black market dollar’s still here, increasing. VTV reported last night that Banesco has been intervened for 90 days and Yomana Koteich will head the Administrative Board to “redirect the bank’s administration, cleansing it and clearing it from any activity that might be illicit or favoring the commission of illegal financial operations,” according to the statement. Koteich has held several offices in the chavista administration, including her most recent role as Finance Vice-Minister (in charge); but her most important role is as shareholder of the State provider company (Equus Proyectos y Soluciones, C.A.), which proves the coherence of the intervention’s goals. The National Assembly stated its absolute condemnation for this action and Juan Carlos Escotet, chairman of Banesco Grupo Financiero, claimed that he’ll return to the country as soon as possible to negotiate the release of his executives.

Foregone results

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) reappeared to restate that they won’t participate in the May 20 process and to urge citizens to leave the streets empty that Sunday, as a protest mechanism. MUD asked public employees —who are forced to vote— to do all they need so that their vote is null and the entire population to reveal the social crisis and to call for protests to intensify the political and social struggle.

“If they carry out the fraud it will be disregarded,” said lawmaker Delsa Solórzano, adding that new fighting mechanisms will be implemented through the Broad Front. Lawmaker Henry Ramos Allup said that May 20 results “are already forefone” and that each candidate will get “the votes that the CNE wants them get.” Ramos challenged the government to offer better conditions: a later date, new CNE authorities and lifting the political ban against opposition leaders so they can hold primaries, cautioning that after May 20, “political persecution’s coming.” The Broad Front for a Free Venezuela issued a statement insisting that Venezuela lacks the optimal conditions to hold real elections, so they restate that the May 20 event “is a farce” and that it people mustn’t valide it by attending the process.

The usual suspects

Yesterday, the Eurochamber’s plenary approved by a broad majority a resolution rejecting the early elections for May 20 and demanding their “immediate suspension.” According to CNE chairwoman Tibisay Lucena, the Eurochamber’s statement is gross meddling because “the CNE complies with the Constitution,” the same they’ve been violating at leisure changing the electoral timetable at the behest of PSUV. Her memorable phrase: “We’re the same people, the same machines, the same broadened guarantees, the same authorities,” the clearest discouragement you could read against voting. She also announced —after Nicolás and Diosdado did it— that on Sunday, May 6, they’ll hold an electoral drill. Lucena restated that they’ve called for over 20 million voters to participate, including those who have been registered abroad. She also ratified that the date for elections won’t change.


  • The Supreme Tribunal of Justice in exile declared this Thursday the suspension of Nicolás as President of Venezuela, and barred him from holding any other future public office. OAS secretary general Luis Almagro tweeted: “We recognize the disqualification and suspension of Nicolás Maduro as President of Venezuela, issued by the TSJ (in exile).”

  • The National Assembly’s Finance Committee offered a balance of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first months of this year. Lawmaker José Guerra explained that with the 3% reduction in economic activity, 2018 could end with a GDP drop of about 15 to 17%: “This is an unprecedented case in modern economy, where the Venezuelan economy has contracted for five years in a row, dominated by the oil industry that’s not making any investments,” said Guerra.
  • The BCV released the regulations for the monetary reconversion process, including prices for basic products, the rounding and presentation of amounts. These regulations must’ve been written by VTV’s community manager. Additionally, they point out that liter of gasoline will be kept at Bs. 6, so the current currency will coexist with the new one.
  • From Aragua, Nicolás announced the creation of the Cryptocurrency Bank for youth and students, with a 20 million petro investment -some $1,2 billion, if he can collect them- to support economic activities.
  • Even though there are areas that have not recovered water supply services in days, Hidrocapital chairman Edison Torrealba that 70% of Caracas won’t have water supply due to an electrical malfunction in the feed line of the Taguaza System.

  • Lawmaker Freddy Guevara has been sheltered in the Chilean Embassy in Caracas for six months “to protect his physical integrity in view of the violation of all constitutional and procedure rights,” said his lawyer Omar Mora Tosta.
  • ProCiudadanos announced that Timoteo Zambrano will no longer be a part of their movement, which must be one of the most fleeting supports in recent political history, and he was even their Secretary General, eh.

A Contel committee along with the National Guard shut down the radio station Nuestra 100.7 FM, located in Vista Hermosa, Bolívar state. This is how the government commemorates the World Press Freedom Day, ratifying their policy of restricting information, censorship and persecution against the media. According to the National Union of Press Workers: “The press is destroyed in Venezuela, seven newspapers have stopped circulating in the last four months alone.”

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  1. That Banesco Juan Carlos Escotet dude is another despicable Chavista living the good life abroad. Much like other Thugs, Ramirez, Luisa Ortega, the Derwicks, he just distanced himself from the sinking boat. Another jumping rat. Much like many other corrupt thugs from many of the surviving banks in Kleptozuela: to even make it there, you must be complicit at least, culpable most likely. (Much like the rest of the average kleptozuelan population).

    This is probably just a fight for interests and money between the banking hyennas and the Chavista piranhas. They all want a piece of whatever’s left of that dead carcass we used to call Venezuela. Especially now with the Billions of USD and Euros from remittances. That, plus another convenient way to blame everything on others, the imperio, the derecha fascista, the PDVSA crooks, or the banking crooks now. They probably just had a difference of opinion as to whom should be getting how much on those putrid financial hams. Just another fight among wild chavistoide dogs salivating over another Mega-Guiso in Kleptozuela. Remember, the kleptocrats are everywhere and at all levels of society there, including top “white collar” scoundrels like these Banesco thieves, chavistas or not. When the food becomes scarce, all types of disgusting scavengers fight among themselves for the last pieces of rotting flesh. Or, in this case, a new, flesh lomito: Remittances and other financial scams.

  2. MUD needs to tell people to vote, instead of boycotting the election.
    If you don’t participate you hand the election fair and square. If you turn out and vote then you force them to steal the election.

    If you don’t vote – then I have no sympathy for you

    • The election must be boycotted AND protests must follow the next day.

      People has been forced to vote in the crooked system for the last 19 years and that has achieved absolutely NOTHING.

    • JC how blind and ignorant can you be, you really think the CNE will acctualy hold real, free and fair elections? You really think they will be counting votes on the 20th?
      If you think this, I have no sympathy for you!!

    • Wrong! This farce cannot be dignified by participating in it as though it were a real election. On 20 May, the only sounds on the streets should be the chirping of birds.

    • Sad to say that regardless of any boycott or not, Venezolanos can not elect their way out of this disaster.

    • There shouldn’t be a need for the vote. There should be social chaos right now. There should be heaping piles of rotting colectivo bodies on every street. Maduro should be “in hiding”. Delcy should be squawking from Cuba. Diosdado should be hanging from a trestle.

      THAT is what should be happening. Voting is the least of concerns.

  3. THe CNE declared that any call to boycott the election would be punished as a criminal act , just two days ago the MUD parties called on every one to boycott the elections , to leave the streets deserted and empty and if you are dependent on a govt job or hand out and had to vote , to deliver a null vote …….this is in direct defiance to the govts claim at omnipotent control of things …….and yet the govt hasnt even mentiond the MUD call , what it does is go after Banesco , the biggest bank , one that works , on some trumpted up pretext , to show off its powers of arbitrary power and intimidation , to distract people from all the disasters that are befalling us , a country without water , electricity , shortages of medicines , foodstuffs , steeped in crime……and of course they have a new corpse on which to feed their vulture appetites , now that oil is done as a business , that agropatria has nothing to offer , they need something productive to sacrifice to the altar of their self omnipotence and greed ……people were expecting this , Banesco by its very size called upon the regime to see it as a target to take over, show off how all powerful they are, and of course how destructive ……
    Problem with voting or not voting is very simple , if you believe that the govt will allow a thriunphant falcon to be handed over the reins of power by the regime (with its control of the CNE and all formal institutions) then go vote , if you think that it wont then dont , because any vote will be presented by the govt as proof that all those people who voted believed that the CNE could be trusted not to distort the results following Maduros orders. Remember that when falcon offered himself as candidate of governor of Lara State in the last elections ( Lara were he is most popular and has the most followers and machinery) he was trounced by an PSUV candidate no one ever heard of……, thanks of course to the CNE fraudulent counting of votes, and now that he is running for president with many not joining him in the oppo …he is going to be allowed to win ??? doesnt sound very likely …still hope springs eternal !!

    • Oscar Schemel (rhymes with “Smell”), turncoat market researcher sold to the highest bidder, just announced the future Pres. election results, and, in spite of his opinion poll (only) 70% disapproval of the Regime for myriad reasons: Maduro-54%, Falcon-36%. So much for the hypothesis that Falcon will be allowed to “win”….

    • “Problem with voting or not voting is very simple, if you believe that the govt will allow a triumphant Falcon to be handed over the reins of power by the regime (with its control of the CNE and all formal institutions) then go vote, if you think that it wont then don’t”


      If Falcon wins, then out goes the Revolution (or not). Goodbye CNE, TSJ and ANC.

      The point is, Chavismo cannot risk it. The Revolution is too important to them! It doesn’t matter to the Chavistas that people die of hunger or disease. Pfft. People die all the time, but the REVOLUTION IS ETERNAL! Falcon is a Chavista, but he can’t be counted on the way the PSUV party faithful can.

    • Bill. Just a quick note to say how much I appreciate your input. Whilst many who post I have learned to skip past due to the repetitiveness ad nauseum of their diatribes (e.g. Poeta Criollo), I always look for your posts, as they are invariably well thought out and well written. Keep up the good work. It’s appreciated by all of us looking for reasoned discourse.

  4. Maybe someone could explain to me how the bankers are gaming the system as well. For that to make any sense, they’d have to be trading or working with some other currency than Bs. So how does this all work? If the Chavistas are pissed, it’s always because they feel they’ve been done out of something. How so?

    • Juan –

      I was pondering this same question. The Bank has to be an empty shell, financially speaking, unless it has real USD and/or Euro or other currency assets? Or maybe they hold a bunch of real estate? What is there to steal?

      Or maybe this is to give them a way to steal remittances by somehow forcing a significant number of them to go through the bank to be converted at a fake low rate into bs, and they keep the Fx money?

      How does it work in Cuba? Because that’s what they will try to emulate.

      • No intrinsic assets, no loans ability–just a means to steal (25% of all public/private transactions go through Banesco).

    • Banesco has branches in at least the USA (Coral Gables) and Panama, and probably elsewhere. So they have to deal in US dollars as well as Bolivars. They wire funds back and forth. I can think of a million ways to game the system. For example, with runaway inflation every exchange is extremely time sensitive.

      “Heavens to Betsy, quitting time is only an hour away! Maybe I will take a coffee break and process these documents Monday.”

      • The US branches would have to be under a subsidiary bank that is subject to US banking laws. At least, that is my understanding. Not sure how that would impact transfers, exchange rates, and so forth.

  5. NET: Just because a transaction goes through a bank, it’s not axiomatic that said bank can steal said funds. Unless you’re talking about outright theft, or ludicrous “fees” for all transactions, with bankers skimming a “commission.” But if all that’s done in Bs, who gets rich, no matter the volume. I’m siding with Puzzled Gringo – that the real dough is in collecting remensas, which flow in either in Euros or dollars (mostly), but then what? What is the mechanism where the chicanery goes on, because there’s NO way the bank ain’t raking off the fat, or gaming the exchange rate. Cuba must have a model in place, as mentioned.

    • Of course, if remesas in real money are translated at the Dicom-only Govt. legal rate, then there’s real money to be made–not to mention Govt. transactions to imagined third parties, even if in devalued Bs.

      • I’m not sure how much remesa theft would be tolerated. If Maduro & Co. don’t get too greedy, say only 20% greedy, then maybe this works, albeit with a lot of grumbling (like Ticket bastard fees). But, if they get “Dicom%” greedy, I doubt many people would be dumb enough to use the bank for remesas. New “black market” exchange schemes will pop up that are less greedy.

  6. And many people still wonder why Kleptozuela’s Kleptocrats don’t give a flying fock anymore about PDVSA..

    All Sold out, mortgaged to China and Russia. And the rest is just a mere $55 Million per day, hard to hide and steal, only from the USA and India. Plus it takes freaking planning and maintenance and shit. And work! Oh no!! Take the Drug Trade instead! Magnificent. Little to do, except a few phone calls, coordinate shithole airports and dirt roads, and collect the cash. Easy to hide and/or bury. Zero maintenance, little work, just a few cordial chats among friends: the Mexican, Bolivian, Colombian, Brazilian and Caribbean Cartels. Good friends, all of them. Who misses El Chapo or Pablito Escobar? Many more have taken over, except it all goes through Narco-Kleptozuela these days. Wayyyyyyyyyy more than than stupid oil money.

    Add to that the new Klepto-Petro gig, the usual “control-exchange Mega-Guisos, now with Banesco and others forced to join the party, plus BILLIONS in “Remesas”. Not to mention countless other scams with every other ‘industry” plus the “private industry” and our contractor buddies…

    Who the hell cares about oil or freaking PDVSA? Let’s hit the banks elsewhere! way easier and way more profitable these days! Chavistas maybe be ugly, but they ain’t stupid mega-thieves.. they adapt, and conquer new horizons. Chapeau, far from “inept” they are extremely adept at what they’re all about: STEALING and hiding the proceeds. Plus remaining in power.

    Unless they cool down on the Phenomenal Drug Trade few talk about – 20 x bigger than oil by itself – the DEA/CIA and the USA might be their downfall, though. But they might even be smarter than that too now, with so many other ways to steal, survive and get rich.. Gold, Finances, Remesas.. And people still wonder about oil, or if Chavistas are “incompetent”. They are uneducated, with zero moral values, criminals, but far from inept at doing what they do: STEAL, everything in sight. Chapeau.

    • Forgot the astronomical Food Clapcrap Mega Guiso too, shady deals about mineral explorations, you name it., I bet they already steal much more on FOOD scams only, than with oil.. And that’s just one of the 10 top ways they steal billions these days, much better than oil.. Finance scams of all sorts are just the latest trend.


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