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 News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela

Intelligence agencies: Top executives cooperating with Zulia separatists in plans for a US-led invasion of Venezuela’s sovereign territory Venezuela


Sunday, April 16, 2006 editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: Although some our our more vitriolic objectors may beg to differ, we do not take our responsibilities as publishers of lightly.  We subscribe to a code of ethics and an editorial manifesto which is 100% in support of Venezuela’s democracy, constitutionality and the rule of law.  Some, in their own peculiar fashion have chosen to see our independence as being somehow joined at the hip to President Hugo Chavez’ political thrust … and this is as may be, considering that he is the democratically-elected President of the country and that he is a servant to its democratically enacted and approved Constitution.

Venezuela’s rule of law is another kettle of fish…

Under the 1999 Constitution, a set of rules and procedures were set out to handle a variety of aspects in the day-to-day living of each and every one of Venezuela’s close on 25 million citizens and those others who reside within its legal jurisdiction.

It would be Valhalla to presume that every citizen is an angel and that every government official is targeting his or her responsibilities on the prospect of ultimate sainthood.  Such is life, and it is for that reason … in any society … that laws and penalties are enacted for those who choose to live in discord with established norms.

The tragic reflection on pre-Chavez years was that Venezuelan justice was a recognized commodity to be bought and sold.  To a significant degree that has continued to be the case as the Chavez government struggles to reform the judiciary, all the time within the constraints of a democratic constitution and knowing that, given the slightest opportunity, there are those who will seek out each nook and cranny, searching for convenient loopholes to circumvent the right and proper way of arriving at legal and equitable goals.

It has in fact been commented upon that Venezuelans are so adept at the game of ‘find the loophole’ that they are often expensively blinded to the fact that the proper way of doing things is perhaps the easiest solution and certainly the least time consuming … the latter factor, perhaps, is the raison d’etre for the legions of handsomely-paid lawyers who scavenge the corridors of power in Caracas and elsewhere.

The Rule of Law is therefore a concept that is yet to be prized in Venezuela, especially among the so-called upper echelons of the government’s administrative machinery where nefarious practices still abound as paper-pushers invent spurious delays with the obvious intent of inciting hoped-for rewards to clear fictive bottlenecks. By any other ugly name it is still corruption with a capital C.

It was therefore heartening to hear President Hugo Chavez Frias say he was to launch a war against corruption throughout the bureaucracy and the land as a social entity … but waving the big stick (at the risk of being accused by North American big-stick wavers of being a dictator himself) is one thing and the practicalities of doing it is quite another.

Yet the urgent task facing President Hugo Chavez Frias is to grab the red-hot tongs and begin branding the animals for what they are.  Will he be able to do it?  Who knows?  It is a mightier task than most men have ever faced and he faces a mountain that would even have perplexed Mohammed with any thought to move.

The task is, however, all the more urgent as our sources at the Foreign Ministry (MRE) described just last Friday and as we have revealed afflicting the Ministry of Communications & Information on several occasions. 

Were it but these two that have been singled out, the task incumbent upon the President and his closest executive team would be difficult as it is, but when corruption permeates all levels of just about every ministry, municipality and mayoralty across the vastness of Venezuela it will take very much more than the powers of Mandrake the Magician who (at the beginning of his presidential tenure in 1999) President Chavez admitted, frankly, he wasn’t…

As an e-publication focused on Venezuela, its hopes and aspirations we’ve been challenged on numerous occasions by the country’s penchant for easy pay-offs, back-handers, baksheesh or other impolite forms of financial inducement.  It would have been so easy for us to succomb to a double-invoice requirement from the manager of a leading hotel chain who offered an attractive source of advertising revenue provisional upon a significant payment (commission?) to be paid to his personal Miami bank account.  We declined.

There have been other opportunities too numerous to mention here.  Suffice to say that VHeadline is in a constant state of borderline bankruptcy where we prize our ideals over surrender to the dark side.

Of course, we have had our own debacle with MCI and more recently with CITGO where an executive (with many years of anti-VHeadline obstructionism) pulled the plug on a successful advertising campaign that had already over the space of the last two years produced around four times the internet industry average response.  Rafael Gomez had joined CITGO from Caracas last May on the heels of countless sighs of relief at PDVSA public affairs when his departure hit the water coolers.  Gomez’ fetish apparently stretches back to the infancy of this e-publication when we challenged the lunacy of a PDVSA-sponsored radio campaign to legalize cocaine … but was exacerbated just a few years back, when the still Caracas-ensconced PDVSA executive let violently fly that a foreign-based top executive was “a ****ing Nazi!”  WOW!

It was roughly around the same time that our colleague, Las Vegas-based film maker Harry Minetree had gotten involved with a project to cover the 2004 Presidential Recall Referendum.  Harry recalls his innocent induction into the nether world of Venezuelan corruption when he authored a production plan and entered into a deal with PDVSA-owned CITGO’s then-president Luis Marin to fund the project.  His suspicions were primarily aroused by a shadowy figure who spuriously claimed to be President Chavez’ illegitimate offspring; understood that he was a key player in what later proved to be nothing short of subterfuge.  As a detective novel would continue, the whole process was drugs, sex and rock & roll but the guy who got stiffed on the penultimate page was Harry … to the tune of $130,000 .. significantly less than we were stiffed by Rafael Gomez, but!

Harry, of course, has fought his own battle with stonewalling executives and personal secretaries at CITGO’s Tulsa and Houston headquarters and we’ve published quite a few of his remonstrations in as regular readers must now be aware.  Whether or not the deal with Harry will be dealt with honorably is still a matter of speculation but the longer the spaghetti is left to unravel, the more the journalistic exercise gets intriguing.

Our natural concern has always been that, while attacking corruption and indolence in CITGO, PDVSA, MRE, MCI or elsewhere in the Venezuelan administration, our ultimate goal is NOT to cause damage to any of these institutions but rather to activate those in responsible executive control to exercise that executive responsibility and to cut the cancer from the core before their nefarious actions cause lasting damage to the whole.

…and that is why, although (from valued sources) we have been inundated with compromising information on quite a few of the key players in Venezuela’s continuing foreign and domestic drama, we have shied away from publishing details which could easily be turned back upon us as somehow venting our own disappointment at having been shafted. 

It would have been too easy to let slip the confidential reports we have received from intelligence services of under-the-table dealings, cocaine and prostitution.

We were recently about to publish shattering details which — if documented — would have given the US State Department more than several reasons to break open a case load of Chablis, when even more astonishing details came to us by way of British and German intelligence officers concerned by top-level executive infiltration as part of a covert plan to cooperate with Zulia separatists in the event of a US-led invasion of Venezuela’s sovereign territory. 

We could (perhaps should) name names but at this stage the government of President Hugo Chavez Frias has already been made aware that senior foreign-based executives have been “in talks with” a major US oil company and Pentagon officials with a view to an immediate executive takeover of Venezuela’s western oilfields in Zulia and part of Tachira as well as possible incursions across Venezuela’s porous border with Guyana to seize the country’s oil wealth and millions upon millions of tonnes of mineral deposits in the southeastern Guayana and Amazonas regions.

Harry Minetree was stiffed for $130,000 and we at were stiffed for considerably less … but it is at strategically critical times of Venezuela’s imminent peril that we should, for a time, to step aside for President Hugo Chavez and his ministerial team to urgently clear the decks and prepare for what will hopefully not be their final battle.

Roy S. Carsonņol remains 100% independent of all political factions in Venezuela

— our aim is to report what’s happening without submitting to lawlessness

Our editorial statement reads: Venezuela is a wholly independent e-publication promoting democracy in its fullest expression and the inalienable right of all Venezuelans to self-determination and the pursuit of sovereign independence without interference. We seek to shed light on nefarious practices and the corruption which for decades has strangled this South American nation’s development and progress. Our declared editorial bias is most definitely pro-Constitutional, pro-Democracy and pro-VENEZUELA.

— Roy S. Carson, Editor/Publisher

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