New York Post: How Venezuela's Corrupt Socialists Are Looting the Country to Death



**Venezuela is no longer a country with a government, institutions and a civil society. It’s a geographic area terrorized by a criminal enterprise that pretends to govern, with a civil society made up of two sets of people: accomplices and victims.

More than 30 million of the latter.

The Hugo Chavez-led looting spree began in 2000. By “looting,” I mean fraudulent government contracts, a celebration of bribery, phantom payrolls across all government ministries, bogus government-grant programs, the sacking of Venezuela’s gold reserves and a massive currency-exchange scam.

More than $1 trillion has disappeared — some of it wasted on social programs that produced nothing — and a staggering amount has ended up in bank accounts in Andorra, Panama, New York, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

And the pillaging has turned Venezuela into a dystopian landscape. There are shortages of every imaginable foodstuff and basic necessity; diseases once thought eradicated are back with a vengeance; and a crime wave that has given Caracas the highest murder rate in the world.**

another excerpt:

I**magine a group of 20-something American-educated Venezuelans who have never had any experience whatsoever in government contracting, let alone building power plants.

In 14 months, they obtained 12 contracts to build electric power plants for the government. They hired an American company to build nonfunctioning plants and then overbilled Venezuela’s government by more than $1 billion. These “Chavezkids” (Bolichicos) shamelessly bribed government officials.

And what did they do with the stolen money? They used US, Canadian and Andorran banks to launder and conceal the cash.

Then they lived like kings, purchasing real estate all over the world, including a $30 million hunting estate in Spain; renting a Fifth Avenue brownstone at 75th Street; buying an Olympic Tower penthouse across from Rockefeller Center, million-dollar beachfront condos in Miami’s Sunny Isles neighborhood, apartments in Paris, fancy cars and a $20 million passenger jet. Recently, they put $53 million of the stolen Venezuelan money into a sunglass start-up in Spain called Hawkers.

According to Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal, federal and New York City prosecutors opened criminal investigations into Derwick’s principals Alejandro Betancourt and Pedro Trebbau. In Venezuela? Crickets.

The legislature made a big deal of investigating Derwick but after enough money was spread to the right committee heads, the investigation came to nothing. Furthermore, the outgoing head of the legislature happens to be the brother-in-law of one of Derwick’s shareholders, Francisco D’Agostino.

When I started looking into the case, it wasn’t long before they began offering me bribes, too.

The Derwick case is one of hundreds just like it in Venezuela, a country rotting from the top. And once they’ve gotten the stolen booty, slime like the Derwick boys doesn’t stay in Venezuela. It moves to Miami, Madrid or Manhattan. Florida, Texas and New York are home to thousands of crooked Venezuelans who bear significant responsibility for the current financial crisis there.

Let’s hope that, since there won’t be Venezuelan justice, the US justice system does right by the millions of Venezuelan victims.**

Thor Halvorssen is president of the Human Rights Foundation


Funny that so much of the misappropriated funds have ended up in the US. What a surprise!


When have Marxist government officials NOT looted their country? You could have set your watch by this one.


Why are so many Americans enamored with Socialism?

When the foundation of the belief system is taking from one group who has earned and giving it to those who don’t, eventually those doing the taking alot themselves more of the bounty. It is built in to Socialist ideology.

It always ends up with the collapse of the system.


Just now, when I thought about your question … why are so many Americans enamored with socialism? - the first thing that came to mind was the phrase, ‘angel of light’. People are being fooled by a false light. It looks good to the ignorant, but upon it’s practice and closer examination it is revealed to be a lie.


Socialism is attractive to 2 kinds of people: people who have never lived under it, and the people who were doing the exploiting.


Well the social democracy, or “socialism”, of Bernie Sanders really isn’t as radical as the social democracy of Chavez.

But one of the fundamentals of socialism (or at least Marxism) is that it isn’t the capitalists who create or “earn” wealth, it’s the workers. Value is created by labour, the capitalist just extracts the surplus value from the worker. All the revenue the capitalist receives is just unpaid wages. Ownership of property in itself contributes nothing.

I might work in a factory and produce $80 worth of goods in a single shift, but I’m only paid $40. That other $40 is value I produced but is appropriated from me by the owner of the factory.

Well the point shouldn’t be to rely on a state to just appropriate some money from the capitalists via taxes and redistribute it into social programs. The point should be to abolish the capitalists entirely and allow the workers to take over the economy and the state. Socialism should seek the abolition of capital and wage labour in their entirety.

Venezuela never abolished capitalist property relations, and a large private sector still exists today. Chavez did ridiculous things like set price controls on commodities without actually having any control of the businesses selling and producing these goods. They also relied on large amounts of oil money to fund social programs, money which eventually dried up, They never abolished capitalism to stop themselves being subject to the anarchy and crises of the capitalist market.

And yet pretty much all of the popular uprisings that occurred in the Eastern Bloc countries sought to establish some form of democratic socialism with genuine workers’ control of economic and political life. None of them sought the restoration of capitalism.


A common muse by proponents of Socialism is that it wasn’t implemented properly. In actuality, it is just an unworkable system based on the human psyche. Similar to slavery-the slave doesn’t want to work because there is no benefit for them in greater production. The owner doesn’t want to work because he has slaves to do it for him.

I don’t think that pure Capitalism works so well either due to human greed, but with reasonable restrictions, it is much better as it rewards innovation, risk and a strong work ethic. In capitalism as witnessed in America last century, a rising tide lifts all boats. Even the poor in America have a higher standard of living, and better social safety net due to the benefits of Capitalism than anywhere in the world.


Unpaid wages? There isn’t any reason to this argument. Co-op’s don’t work when it’s members are forced into it … it’s not a co-op at that point. The state cannot innovate, inspire, incentivize, manage, or provide like a free market can. Marxism has proven to be a humanitarian disaster over and over again for the last 100 years.

I’m pretty sure every “Eastern Bloc” country is a republic with elected officials. So, yes the people there do have control over their economic and political life, unlike in a socialist state.


I don’t think even socialists believe the “labor theory of value” anymore. Value is not exclusively created by labor. It’s created by the combination of labor and capital. Without capital, we would still be trying to dig ants out of an anthill with our bare hands for food. Tools are capital. Non-human energy is capital. Plow horses are capital Even stone axe heads are capital. The factory is capital. Cash balances are capital temporarily. Sometimes those things bring a good return to the owner, and sometimes they don’t. Without capital, labor contributes very little to value. For the most part, capital is useless without labor. It’s the relationship between the two that creates value, and did since the first time a man picked up a stone to throw at a rabbit for food or chipped a rock blade to cut some wild seeds from their stem.


Has Obama ever addressed what has been happening in Venezuela?


The Obama admin did declare Venezuela a national security threat. Some credit is deserved.


How could Venezuela in its poverty be a national security threat to the U.S.?


Hating our way of life – support terrorism. Narcoterrorism is my concern. Hezbollah (and groups that pay them) is rooted in South America and have easy routes via the Mexican Cartel(s) tunnels into the US. Thus, why I am pleased hearing Gen. Kelly’s appointment. He knows the dangers better than most.


Walls don’t obstruct tunnels.


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