Ricardo Bello on Fri, 21 Jun 2002 09:57:32 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Chavez īs final days, the media and the judgesīrebellion

Personally, I believed that media is one of the few Venezuelan
institutions not receiving the Presidentīs order, but in most of them you
can find two competing workers organization: one of them pro-Chavez and
another in the opposition. Even MACCSI, Caracasīs contemporary art museum,
a public institution, has two workers organizations or had, as most
members of the oppositionīs union were fired last month.

Last Saturday (June 15th) nearly a million people marched again asking for
Chavez dismissal. The day before the President placed seven SAM missiles
sites in downtown Caracas near the Presidential Palace, afraid of another
military insurrection similar to Aprilīs 11th. The same thing Hussein did,
thinking his enemies will not dare to attack him, because of the logical
innocent casualties. That day military officers dressed in regalia walked
hand in hand with civils and media owners replied to Chavezīs threat not
to cover the march, that those officers could marched naked, in bathing
suits or with uniforms, they would sent photographers and TV crews.

Today very good news---> the Supreme Court questioned yesterday morning
the Attorney Generalīs impartiality in the trial of several charges of
corruption against Chavez, such as the one mentioned by Strafor bellow.  
If the Attorney General is ousted, Chavez days are counted and the
prospect of civil war will be a bad dream.

Venezuela: Scandal Brewing Over Missing Oil Funds
3 June 2002 

The government of Venezuela is seeking the authority to borrow $6.5
billion from domestic and foreign lenders in order to shrink its fiscal
deficit as the country sinks into stagflation. But a growing furor over
unaccounted-for "rainy day" funds is threatening the country's financial

In the National Assembly, political opponents of President Hugo Chavez are
demanding to know the whereabouts of between $2.3 billion and $3.2 billion
that the government should have deposited into the macroeconomic exchange
stabilization fund, called the FIEM, last year. The FIEM, which predates
Chavez's administration, is designed to save a portion of Venezuela's oil
revenues when global prices are high for spending during oil price slumps.
Both the central government and state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela are
required to deposit revenues into the FIEM.

Some of Chavez's critics charge that funds were transferred through secret
government accounts controlled directly by the Interior and Justice
Ministry to numbered bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and other
Caribbean offshore banking centers.

The opposition's demands for government accountability could impede the
passage of a larger fiscal adjustment package that would allow the
government to increase taxes on sales and financial transactions.

Government officials insist the funds were not stolen; rather they went to
boost public-sector wages and salaries and cover other current spending
needs of the central government. Nevertheless, these officials have not
denied that the failure to deposit the missing funds in the FIEM violated
public credit laws and regulations. That potentially could carry criminal
repercussions for some current and former government officials.

The Chavez regime likely is truthful in saying the missing money was
applied to current spending needs. However, charges that some government
officials or agencies are transferring huge sums of cash abroad are also
likely accurate, according to private economists and military intelligence
sources in Caracas.

Venezuela's Central Bank reported last week that capital flight totaled
$3.7 billion during the first quarter of 2002, the highest quarterly total
in 14 years. While some of this capital undoubtedly originated in the
private sector, Caracas-based economists like Robert Bottome and Francisco
Toro believe the severely weakened private sector lacks sufficient
currency reserves to acquire $3.7 billion over a 90-day period -- and to
transfer those dollars abroad at a time when the economy is shrinking,
unemployment is rising rapidly, incomes are falling and demand is

These economists theorize that corrupt government officials at numerous
federal and state agencies may be skimming cash through over-invoicing and
bogus purchase contracts, then moving it out of the country in expectation
of an imminent regime change.

However, anti-Chavez military sources told STRATFOR May 30 that some
military intelligence experts suspect large sums of money also have been
transferred from Venezuela's government to Caribbean banking centers for
the purpose of funding clandestine activities in Venezuela, Argentina,
Brazil and the Andean Ridge region. These sources said investigators are
focusing on several key associates of Chavez, including former Interior
and Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.

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