CARACAS, Tuesday August 13, 2013 | Update

The Boligarchs

All Venezuelans should be outraged at theft but especially the desperate poor people who voted for the millionaires now sacking their government

Tuesday August 13, 2013  08:53 PM
The ancients said that a dead fish stinks from its head. And so it is in Venezuela, which stinks of corruption at the top. But the government's obfuscation on the subject is so far confined to false shock and empty threats that "heads will roll" if the president finds corruption in Venezuela... but he can't.

Maybe he's not looking in the right place. The government has been blaming private sector capitalists conspiring with foreigners for all that ails Venezuela, especially corruption. But even in the barrios, it is clear as day that the shortages of everything combined with excessively lavish consumption of those in power since 1999, could not be a plot by foreign capitalists. Something else is obviously going on.

A recent New York court suit filed by former US ambassador Otto Reich describes in 45 detailed pages one example of how it works. Kids in their twenties incorporate a company to produce high-technology machines generating and transmitting energy – machines that General Electric, Siemens or Mitsubishi might produce. With no resume, experience or capital to speak of, the kids somehow get awarded more than a billion dollars of sole-source contracts with no transparent competitive bids, thank you. According to the court suit, lopped off the top is a huge chunk kicked back to the government's insiders, and another huge chunk for the kids, so they can buy Florida mansions, jet airplanes, racehorses... whatever they want. The actual work is subcontracted out as the electricity sector has –as all Venezuelans know- collapsed into blackouts.

Here's the truth about corruption: the money of the Boligarchs is more mountainous than all the money accumulated by the bottom 75% to 90% of the country, and it all comes from being in the right place at the right time for theft. All Venezuelans should be outraged at theft but especially the desperate poor people who voted for the millionaires now sacking their government, and whose heads will not roll because they own the courts, the guillotine, and the basket for the severed heads, too.

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