Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will the Antonini/Del Nogal money laundering scandal bring down the Venezuelan government?

Financial Crime Consultant, for World-Check
by Kenneth Rijock
Mr. Rijock, age 59, is a Financial Crime Consultant based in Miami.
More about the Author
Will the Antonini/Del Nogal money laundering scandal bring down the Venezuelan government?
21 October 2007

For those readers who want to learn the latest developments in the Argentinean-Venezuelan money laundering case, we have summarised them below. Denial seem to be the order of the day for the Venezuelan government, which appears to be under extreme pressure to take legal action against Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson and Alex Del Nogal, both of whom are not just linked to governmental officials, as has been claimed, but are employed by the Venezuelan government. Is this case Venezuela's Watergate?
To update you on this unfolding story:
The Venezuelan government has announced that it is taking steps to seize and freeze all assets of Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson,[UID 684165] wanted in Argentina, in connection with money laundering and Walter Alexander "Alex" Del Nogal [UID 441492], in custody in Italy due to an arrest warrant for narcotics trafficking issued by a Palermo magistrate investigating Mafia narcotics operations. No actual asset seizures have been reported, however, and it remains to be seen whether this announcement was intended to pacify the growing outrage being expressed by many Venezuelans over the growing scandal over what is known there as "valijagate" (Suitcasegate).
Government agents ransacked Del Nogal's home, ostensibly looking for incriminating documents, but questions are being raised as to whether it was a pretext for destruction of evidence linking Del Nogal with high-ranking government officials. Other sources claim there was outright theft of some of Del Nogal's possessions by these agents.
Governmental press releases have claimed that Del Nogal has been released, and was on his way back to his native Venezuela, but the Italian government, who is holding him, has not released him, and opposition leaders are pointing to this as an example of intentional disinformation, to mislead the Venezuelan public.
There are allegations out of Venezuela that Del Nogal is engaged in substantial petroleum business in Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Argentina.
Whilst Antonini has not, as of this date, been extradited from the US to face charges in Argentina, His close associate, Franklin Duran, has been seen driving into his multi-million dollar Key Biscayne Mashta Island mansion, under close surveillance from a Land Rover packed with four men in business suits. It is unknown whether these are bodyguards, or US law enforcement agents following him around Miami.
Del Nogal has been identified, by a high-level Colombian narcotics figure in currently in custody in that country, as the primary money laundering player in Venezuela. Will he now be indicted in Colombia?
Venoco President Carlos Kaufmann [UID 239412] has reportedly fled Venezuela altogether, and is presently living in his castle in Italy. Our readers will recall that Antonini has business cards identifying himself as a vice president of Venoco, though he resides in the US, and he apparently has no duties at the company. Venoco mysteriously holds a monopoly upon petroleum lubricants in Venezuela, and is believed to be a de facto government-controlled corporation with close links to officers at PdVsa, the government petrochemical giant.
Del Nogal has been reportedly linked to other senior PdVsa executives in questionable activities that seem to indicate money laundering operations, and we shall publish these details as soon as verification of this information can be obtained.
There has been no explanation offered as to exactly why Del Nogal took eleven trips to Argentina, and the question pesists: why is the Argentinian prosecutor who seeks Antonini silent on Del Nogal?
Photographs taken at a recent birthday party at Del Nogal's Caracas residence show that reputed senior members of the Sicilian Mafia who reside in Venezuela attended that function. We shall continue to monitor this story, including a follow-up report on Del Nogal's Italian indictment, and details of the PdVsa connection.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Bayly - Chávez y Ahmadinejad holding hads

Funny!!!!!! Check the following link:

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Chavez, the third enemy of US

Chavez, the third enemy of US
I need to tell this to anybody checking this information. Chavez can say anything, but Venezuelans mayority likes and admires US. Also, Chavez is hurting really bad Venezuelan's economy. I hope he will kick out of power soon, by Venezuelans of course. Also, I hope US never does anything bad against my country.



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Sunday, October 7, 2007

The King of Venezuela

"Most remarkably, inequality and corruption have, by most measures, gotten marginally worse. From here on, with all his enemies vanquished, Chávez will have no one but himself to blame for the empty promises of his revolution."

Published: October 7, 2007
When Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, most of the world heeded the advice of the American ambassador in Caracas: “Watch what Chávez does, not what he says.”

On the campaign trail, Chávez had railed against liberal economics, the Venezuelan elite and United States influence in Latin America. He had shown himself to be a savvy political performer who would intersperse off-color jokes and prankish gimmicks among proclamations of a “revolution” that would wipe out the old political leadership — the “corruptocracy,” as he put it. Ignore all that, the ambassador’s line went. Despite the bluster, Chávez's actions would turn out to be fairly moderate.
The opposite advice would have been more helpful: everything Chávez said he would do, he has eventually done.

While gleefully playing the buffoon, he has dismantled and refashioned most of Venezuela’s political institutions, taken control of its crucial industries (oil, most importantly) and rewritten its Constitution — twice.

He has used headline-grabbing rhetoric, aggressive diplomacy and petrodollars to become one of the most famous political figures in the world. And he has recently set about abolishing term limits so he can stay in power as long as is necessary to build “21st-century socialism” in Venezuela.

Donald Rumsfeld has likened Chávez to Hitler; Chávez has likened himself to Jesus Christ.
His ability to make opponents underestimate him has always been one of Chávez's essential weapons.

Just six years before becoming president, he was an unknown lieutenant colonel whose frequent talk of rebellion was dismissed as messianic delusion. When an intelligence report warned of an imminent Chávez-led coup, Venezuela’s defense minister scoffed, and the report’s author was ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam. Weeks later, Chávez tried to overthrow the government, failing but nonetheless turning himself into a national celebrity.
Two new Chávez biographies, “Hugo Chávez,” by the Venezuelan journalists Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka, and “¡Hugo!,” by a Newsday reporter and former Associated Press correspondent, Bart Jones, set out to explain how Chávez turned himself into the international figure he has become, and why.

Where they differ is on the question of underlying motivation. For Marcano and Barrera, Chávez's drive is explained mostly by megalomania — by the “perpetual and restless desire of power after power,” as their epigraph (from Hobbes) puts it. For Jones, it is explained by selfless outrage at the injustices of the world. Chávez may have an apparently unquenchable thirst for power, Jones concedes, but only because he needs it to triumph over the enemies of the people.
In interviews, Chávez has said he never imagined he would become president. But Marcano and Barrera’s meticulous, finely detailed account (in an updated, inelegant translation of a book published in Spanish in 2004) shows that he saw himself as a heroic figure long before anyone knew who he was. They gained access to Chávez himself and to scores of people who have known him, as well as to two decades’ worth of his personal diaries and letters (given to them by a former Chávez girlfriend). By the time Chávez was 19, a military cadet fresh from the impoverished Venezuelan interior, he was already talking to friends about saving the homeland. “I hope,” he wrote in his diary, “that one day I will be the one to bear the responsibility of an entire nation.”
Within a few years, the young Chávez was feverishly organizing revolutionary cells and fusing Marx, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara and Simón Bolívar into “a rudimentary amalgam of leftist ideas.” To some this may have seemed farcical, but Chávez was waiting for his main chance — the moment when mounting disaffection with an underperforming and vastly inequitable political and economic system would open the way for a boisterous military man promising to tear the whole structure down. Those cells later became an important power base for Chávez, and that “rudimentary amalgam” a framework for his “21st-century socialism.”
Marcano and Barrera propose a few explanations for Chávez's undeniable popular appeal. Venezuela’s combination of extensive oil resources and widespread poverty — a combination sadly common in petrostates — has long offered an opening for a people’s “avenger.” (It was a Venezuelan who first called oil “the devil’s excrement.”) “If there is one thing the president has most successfully communicated,” Marcano and Barrera write, “it is that he cares about people.” They also note the popularity of his social-welfare “missions.” Unfortunately, their enmity toward Chávez prevents them from fully conveying his savior-of-the-people charisma.
Jones does so much more successfully, in part because he is caught up in it himself. (At points, he veers into outright hagiography, admiringly quoting Chávez's poetry and going out of his way to excuse Chávez's rumored womanizing as the typical behavior of a Venezuelan man.) "Chávez's rise,” Jones writes, “represented the first time in the country’s history that the dark-skinned impoverished majority was seizing power. After decades, even centuries, of running the country like their own personal hacienda, the elites’ grip on the corruption-riddled and exploitative system was suddenly undone.”

Jones certainly captures the adulation of Venezuelans who view Chávez as a hero. Like Chávez and his most ardent supporters, Jones sees almost all criticism of the president as driven by “frustration, paranoia, classism ... racism and loss of power.” Although that is true of some of the more hysterical charges against Chávez, even the more measured criticisms — about his tendency to rule by decree and dismantle checks on executive power, for example — are, in Jones’s telling, just the baseless hypocrisy of opponents with sinister motives.
Jones is right, however, in describing those opponents, in both Venezuela and Washington, as inept.

Business leaders tried to unseat Chávez by shutting down the economy with a general strike and ended up giving him an excuse to kick them out of the oil industry just as prices were going through the roof. The political opposition tried to overthrow him in a 2002 coup and ended up discrediting itself as an enemy of democracy. United States officials denounced Chávez as a “hyena” and a “negative force in the region,” and ended up legitimating him as a proud Latin American nationalist bravely standing up to United States imperialism. As Jones makes clear, Chávez has won every confrontation he has been involved in.
In 2002, after the White House ham-handedly praised the short-lived coup in Caracas as a victory for democracy, Chávez issued a public challenge to President Bush. Waving a dollar bill in the air, he proposed to bet which of them would last longer in office. Now that Chávez has outmaneuvered or outlasted almost every one of his opponents, it is a wager that he is all but certain to win. He has suggested 2030 as the year when he might consider his revolution complete — a revolution that, Jones writes, is certain to alter the landscape of Venezuela and of Latin America.
In fact, much less has changed, for better or for worse, than Chávez's brash declarations and outsize profile would suggest. Chávez is not the bold revolutionary who has turned back the tide of history; nor is he the evil-genius dictator who has subverted democracy and the market throughout the hemisphere.

Despite his many well-financed, willfully provocative diplomatic initiatives in the region and elsewhere, the actual results of his foreign policy have been paltry: most of Latin America has accepted his money without embracing Chávez as a leader or a model. Within Venezuela, unemployment remains high, poverty has fallen only with rises in the price of oil (just as it has in past oil booms), and the main human-development indicators are little changed. Most remarkably, inequality and corruption have, by most measures, gotten marginally worse. From here on, with all his enemies vanquished, Chávez will have no one but himself to blame for the empty promises of his revolution.

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan is a senior editor at Foreign Affairs.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

10 reasons to why I reject the Venezuelan constitutional reform

We agree with Mr. Duque
10 reason to why I reject the Venezuelan constitutional reform
by Román J. Duque Corredor, former Venezuelan Supreme Court Judge.
1. Because it will take away from my children the right to get free education and to choose what profession they will like to be.
2. Because my vote WON'T COUNT any longer on making decisions and designate my neighborhood councils, my governor and my major.
3. Because the back up of my money will depend only from the President.
4. Because I want to get the right to enjoy my property and dispose of it as my will, and not from a permit from the governemnt.
5. Because I won't be able to choose about to keep the political division of my neighborhood, my township and/or even my state.
7. Because I won't have the right any longer to private enterprise and to choose what type of work I would like to do.
8. Because with indefinite reelection I won't be able to vote to choose the president and the government.
9. Because I won't be able to vote about what is good for me or not about the constitutional reform.
10.Because for me to be able to work and because to be reduced my work shift, it will be necessary to be imposed to me and every citizen only one way of thinking and only one ruler for life.

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