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A concerned reader asks what can be done against corruption

An anonymous reader has sent the letter below. My reply will follow*.

Dear Alek Boyd,

I hope you will agree to publish this letter on your site without alteration.  

I am a new user to your blog. I thank you for posting about the crimes of the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian government. I have read every post you have written about the various crimes of the cronies of the governments of the so-called Latino Left. These people are foul creatures. Out of the darkness of these revolutions a new breed of individual was created and the vestiges of the ancien regimes were transformed into something different. From greedy fools with gauche tendencies to a manner of person lacking all tact, respect for the rules, and utterly devoid of charm. They are all a cheap copy of how they think rich people should behave. It reminds me of when rappers in America become the trend-setters in society. The gilded youth of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panama (to name another example of excess corruption) follow the worst elements in their societies. The "vivos" are the new "pelucones."

I am half-Venezuelan and half-Ecuadorian. My family has been here for more than 200 years and I write anonymously because I do not wish to bring upon my husband the negative consequences of what you have suffered. You may dismiss the attacks on you but as a mother of two I am concerned with what you may face if they ever get ahold of you.

You have given truth to the truism that great power isn't necessary to hold evil in check. You are doing it. On the web you and your writers unmask and expose the powerful, on a level-playing field, where they cannot bribe anyone or censor your views. But what can I do to help, beyond comment? Beyond forwarding? Beyond posting your reports on my FaceBook?

The people you write about appear to believe they are answerable to no person. Not a code of ethics or principles or a system of laws. They violate European, American, and local laws due to a mixture of purchasing influence and the inertia of utter impunity. Their pride will be their downfall. It is hard to understand how they have gotten away with their crimes so far. How is this possible given the incalculable mistakes they make when they leave records and a trail of bank documents? You have the documents. What are the governments of Europe, Canada, and the U.S. waiting for? How can a single member of the Ecuadorian or Venezuelan New Class think they will not be found out, eventually? Latin America's judicial systems are foul with decay. But the European and American systems have to operate within certain parameters. Have you ever thought of compelling trials by doing something like Notitia Criminis? The law does not just live in codes and aspirations but in real actions.

You seem near-obsessed with the Derwick "businessmen." I can see why. They are hardly the stuff of entrepreneurial legend. They have defiled the U.S. banking system, and its courts. Are they perhaps cooperating with the U.S. authorities? Might this explain why they pop up in the media with no concern for the allegations against them? America's authorities have been sitting quietly for far too long. What are the chances they will bring to justice the people exposed on your blog pages?

True courage is not about knowing when to attack but when it is time not to. You seem to measure your writings with the right timing and I wish you well. Thank you for what you do. I ask again, however, What can I do to help, beyond forwarding your articles to members of the diplomatic corps or to concerned reporters?

Concerned in Caracas.

* My reply.

There is one thing that those "businessmen" you refer to crave above all: the recognition that comes with social acceptance. Boligarchs that have stolen thousands, millions or billions of dollars in Venezuela are desperate, all of them, to be recognized. Whether it is stupid Victor Vargas saying to the Wall Street Journal "I have been rich all my life", which is obviously false, to Juan Carlos Escotet's lying to European and Spanish authorities about his wealth, to Gustavo Cisneros getting angry for getting a lower rank in Forbes ridiculous "rich list", to the new generation of Derwick bolichicos, buying Onassis' pent house in New York City and pretending to be "entrepreneurs", this bunch of thugs have one common characteristic: their wealth was not created but stolen. There is no Steve Jobs in that lot. They can pretend to be "businessmen" all they like, but one thing is certain: drop them naked, without a penny, in either New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mumbai or Shanghai, and I guarantee you they will never make a fortune out of their own wits. Ever. It doesn't take a great deal of intelligence and business acumen to sell overpriced stuff to an utterly corrupt State, whose procurement is in the hands of equally corrupt people relying on companies owned by friends and/or relatives. It doesn't take a Warren Buffet to buy bonds at the official rate of exchange and flip them at black market rates. Nor does it take a Bill Gates to register hundreds of shell companies that are then loaned millions and disappear. Any imbecile, with the right connections, could do that.

So what you and I can do is increase the social cost to those involved in corruption. It is not right, nor acceptable, to ignore corruption, to turn a blind eye on it. Venezuela is in its current sorry state due in large part to systematic and chronic corruption. Everyone in Venezuela knows who the corrupt are, but it seems that our countrymen have a soft spot for corruption, whether it is paying a bribe to the traffic warden, or to the gestor to get a passport, or to attend a wedding of a relative whose wealth comes from contracting with the government. No decent person would hang around with a known killer, or a pedophile. Why are the corrupt treated differently? The corrupt ought to be ostracized from society, and to do that we must expose them, relentlessly, in social media, online, which as you rightly pointed out, is a level playing field where every individual voice counts.

Keep forwarding my articles, keep posting them on Facebook and Twitter, talk to your friends and family about these issues, explain to your children that corruption robs the disenfranchised their future and arrests development, contact your representatives in Congress and ask what exactly are they doing against corruption, talk to the media, give a donation to those of us doing the digging and exposing, and shun the corrupt as if you were dealing with somebody who stole your children's future.