Perhaps the best sign that things aren't going well in Venezuela is the sudden decision of powerful Boligarchs to flee the one place to which they owe their riches. In the last few months, we have learned about Juan Carlos Escotet's one billion-Euro bid and subsequent acquisition of Novagalicia in Spain. Novagalicia, a small bank with a footprint in northwest Spain, had gotten financial aid from Spain and Brussels during the banking crisis, and so its sale had to have the imprimatur of relevant Spanish and European watchdogs. Despite Escotet's lies about the wealth of his BANESCO bank, he claimed to have €25 billion using an impossible-to-obtain Bs/USD rate of exchange, official approval came about swiftly and without much questioning. The latest is that he appointed to Novagalicia's new board his partner of old, Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez, former owner of Venezuela's largest newspaper conglomerate.
In different news, we also learned about Victor Vargas' attempt to get into Spain's banking sector, by acquiring Banco Europeo de Finanzas (BEF). The possible take over is spearheaded by Tomas Niembro, one of Vargas' trusted men. And finally we have also chronicled the activities of Derwick Associates, whose execs are now flogging Venezuelan oil and gas in the market through a former U.S. Ambassador (more on that to come), and seem to also have a soft spot for Spain.
No wonder why all of these thugs are being welcomed with open arms in Spain, not only by banks, authorities, real estate brokers and society. Spanish politicians that would otherwise rail against what the Boliburgeoisie represent, have also been caught getting their hands on Venezuelan public funds, through dodgy contracts. So this is a case of a common let's-loot-Venezuela-whenever-however-we-can trend, in which, as good old David Cameron famously said, "we are all in it together", whether utterly corrupt chavista officials, Venezuelan 'entrepreneurs' and 'bankers', radical Spanish politicians, members of the Kennedy clan, Republicans, etc.
However, if there's one thing that can be said about the thugs above, is that they are a well connected bunch. They know, perhaps better than anybody, how the wind is blowing in Venezuela. By the very nature of the deals that they do with chavismo, they must be seeing something dramatic enough to decide to decamp to other countries, like Spain. I'd say that Miguel Angel Capriles Lopez, Juan Carlos Escotet, and Victor Vargas are among a handful of the best informed / connected Venezuelans there are today. Not only do they deal / have dealt for years with chavismo at the highest levels, but through patronage and corruption they also know what goes on in the army, opposition, energy sector, finances, media, etc. And, crucially, they are now 'diversifying' into other jurisdictions, where it will be impossible for them to do what they have done in Venezuela.
What are these people seeing? Although a case for wealth/assets protection could be made, I don't think that explains it. For the stuff these people have done, could only be done in Venezuela. Are they about to turn their back on the possibilities that Venezuela represent for them? Billions made overnight, illegally, without consequences? Or is it, rather, that the Venezuelan petro-piñata hasn't got anymore sweets, and the regime is looking to get back some?