Alek Boyd's blog
infodioLeaks continues to provide some truly amazing leaks about corruption in Venezuela. One of the first questions ever asked to Derwick Associates, when it became known that it had been gifted 12 contracts in non-bidding processes, was to produce copy of said contracts. After all, Derwick was believed to be a Venezuelan private company, run by Venezuelans, that had been contracted by Venezuelan State's institutions, and that had been paid with Venezuelan public funds.
Alejandro Betancourt is a chavista wunderkind. A 'pioneer and global entrepreneur' he seems to be preparing his move to Spain, considering the tough times in his native Venezuela. Given his worldwide 'stature' as a 'businessman, philanthropist, innovator, and financial wizard,' Mr. Betancourt’s PR team recently unveiled a new website: AlejandroBetancourt.Es (notice Spain’s TLD) to serve as his presentation card to the world.
It is not an exaggeration to say that in many Venezuelan homes, regardless of politics, there's a weapon. The website gunpolicy.org cites some stats: "The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Venezuela is 1,600,000 to 4,100,000... In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Venezuela ranked at No. 27... Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Venezuela there are estimated to be 1,100,000 to 2,700,000".
The latest in the series #youcantmakethisshitup comes from Hollywood director Oliver Stone. Early in his latest propaganda film, aptly entitled "Mi Amigo Hugo", Stone says (3.13) "I did not know then that Hugo's end was near, that he'd be infected with a brutal and aggressive cancer in 2011..."
You know Eva. She was the "darling" of Hugo, the "sweetheart" of the "revolution". She must be sobbing today. Upon finishing her studies, in a rather expensive college, she went on to study law, and became, according to chavismo's conventional wisdom, a "renowned author", an "investigative journalist", a "TV presenter", an "editor of Correo del Orinoco", an "expert on Venezuela", and even a "Venezuelan". Imagine just how desperate for useful idiots those revolutionaries are, that Eva, an American citizen, published her first "book" in Havana.
There's a tendency, by international journalists covering the current Venezuelan crisis, of projecting own ideological, political and cultural baggage onto their reporting. It is only to be expected and natural, for true objectivity is an utopia. While professional journalists have to maintain an appearance of striving for objectivity, examples of gross subjectivity continue to find their way to media outlets perceived to be editorially objective. I can think of a couple of recent examples: Associated Press and the BBC.
Marvinia Jimenez is a young, partially disabled mother (35). When spreading protests came to her largely poor neighbourhood in La Isabelica, Valencia (some 200 kilometers from Caracas) on 24 February, she thought that instead of retreating, or running away, she would approach the National Guard, to have a word. What followed was one of the darkest episodes of brutality seen in Venezuela in the last few years. To President Nicolas Maduro's shame, almost every detail of the vile attack on unarmed Marvinia was recorded by many neighbours, who uploaded the gory stuff onto social media in real time. The pictures and video immediately went viral.
The last couple of days have been kind of extraordinary, in the sense that some of chavismo's big dogs have come unhinged. First we saw Jose Vielma Mora, Governor of Tachira state where protests began, criticising President Maduro in a radio interview. Vielma Mora said he was against the brutal way in which protesters have been repressed, and added that he disagreed with keeping political prisoner Ivan Simonovis and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail (both on trumped charges). We then saw President of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, come on TV to lie about an alleged weapons cache that General Angel Vivas had in his house.
"When you're not allowed to think for yourself, when you're not allowed to have, and voice, an opinion, insofar as such opinion is contrary to the diktats of the ruling party, you lose the only thing that makes us human. You become like an object in a meaningless life, and such life is not worth living. So I decided to rebel against that system and I had no fear of dying, for living in such condition was akin to being dead."
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will take to the streets today. The Maduro regime has failed spectacularly in its attempt to 'convince' the world that widespread protests that have rocked our country since Feb. 2 are the product of U.S. intervention, fascism and other such totally unsubstantiated nonsense. I remember having written a while ago that if the Cuban dictators could not impede the free flow of information in the prison island, Maduro stood no chance of succeeding at it. Despite the local media blackout, social media has roundly defeated all chavista attempts at censorship.
In the last few days the chavista regime in Venezuela censored the Colombian news channel NTN24. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul and his crew were assaulted by police in Caracas for, basically, doing their job. Caracas Press Club and Instituto Sociedad y Prensa have reported various attacks on journalists in the last few days. Images and videos of the brutality unleashed on protesters uploaded to Twitter have reportedly been censored. Yesterday, President Maduro threatened to kick CNN out of the country.
There's confusion. Loads of it. On the one hand, everyone feels energised by Leopoldo Lopez's heroics yesterday, on the other a question hangs in the air: now what? Dawn breaks in Venezuela with a resolved opposition movement with its leader in jail, unable to organize, communicate and execute whatever strategy going forward. Or is it? Let's take stock of what happened yesterday. Hundreds of thousands dressed in white took to the streets across Venezuela yesterday, answering the call made by Lopez.
Leopoldo Lopez has been arrested by Venezuela's National Guard, after giving a speech in front of thousands of people. He was taken away in an armoured vehicle. Destination unknown.
This post will be updated throughout the day, although for latest update best to check my TL @alekboyd on the right.
13:04: Lopez is taken out from armoured vehicle and into black SUV.
Leopoldo Lopez, one of the two most promising leaders of the Venezuelan opposition (the other being Maria Corina Machado), posted a home video yesterday, raising a few claims and stating that tomorrow he will go to the office of Ministry of Interior and Justice, to hand a petition and hand himself in:
Primicias24 is chavista investigative journalism at its very best. It is a site run and edited by a chap called Carlos Herrera, a former councilman. Herrera and his rag have been on a relentless streak of late, posting stuff about me that reveals more about their worldview than anything else. So for instance, I learned from Herrera a while ago that I "had AIDS". He then posted a piece entitled "Carlos Herrera replies to the hitman, homosexual and sick Alek Boyd".
Check out the videos below:
Seriously. Force yourselves to watch them. Now, to all the comeflores around (they know who they are), please answer this simple question:
Damaging corruption information keeps arriving at infodioLeaks. Check out the document below. Google "Rolls Royce Trent 60" and lots of different results will come up, though the one I like is this one: it's from Mark Alflatt, Rolls Royce's Director of Financial Communications, who in May 2009 wired a press release entitled "ROLLS-ROYCE WINS €70 MILLION TRENT CONTRACT TO POWER GERMAN POWER STATION". In it one can read:
Now the fingering starts, doesn't? "It was your fault!" will say the regime, "no, it was yours!" will retort the opposition. One can always count on The Times (paywall) for its sobriety in reporting:
On the back of my alert to Matt Cutts and Google's subsequent decision to eliminate bogus results from searches related to Venezuelan criminals, now Crowdflower, the microtasking crowdsourcing platform, has eliminated all astroturfing tasks created by Clean Perception, the "online reputation mana
Nicolas Maduro was at his very best last Friday. He said: “Debería prohibirse que gente que no viva en Venezuela sea dueña de un medio de comunicación. Me parece una buena idea, hay que estudiarla". Translation: "it should be forbidden for people who don't live in Venezuela to own media." Hear it from the
horse's ass'es mouth in the video below.
The stuff published in this website is not to everyone's liking. Boligarchs in particular are seething with the prospect of having their dirty deals exposed here. Given the enormous hard power that they wield in Venezuela it's no surprise they got the site banned. It also requires executive powers to send intelligence police to raid homes of poor fellows they suspect are providing me with information. I find astonishing the silence of fellow Venezuelan bloggers, journalists, media and freedom of expression advocates in this respect.
El caso de BANCORO, a través del cual Fernando Lauría y su esposa Inés Osío de Lauría se habrían apropiado indebidamente de unos 543.654.000 de dólares, sigue su curso en EEUU donde FOGADE inició acciones legales contra ellos. Lo último es que el bufete de abogados que representa a FOGADE ha introducido una enmienda, en la cual no sólo nombran a Inés Osío de Lauría como cómplice, sino que además mencionan a Davos Financial Corporation y Davos Financial Advisors como parte de la red de instituciones financieras utilizadas por Lauría para cometer el guiso.
Me llegó la carta adjunta. Su contenido me parece sumamente interesante, y por ello la reproduzco.
Para concebir lo aborrecible que está la cúpula de la “alta sociedad” de la Republica Bolivariana hay que aceptar, sin rencores, que la condición actual tiene su origen en la República de Venezuela. Los lectores de esta tribuna deducen que mi meollo es la sociología de la high society, no de la economía ni de la política. Al tocar las intrigas de la casta brahmán quiero aportar algo para mejor entender de donde salen aquellos que figuran como líderes en la Venezuela de hoy.
The document below is a prelude to the sort of deals that the Venezuelan State, through its utterly corrupt officials (like BARIVEN's President Guillermo Arellano) made with the bolichicos of Derwick Associates: Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Francisco Convit Guruceaga, Francisco D'Agostino, and Pedro Trebbau Lopez.
The question in the title may sound overly dramatic, but I don't think it is. This website has exposed a number of Venezuelan crooks, otherwise known as Boligarchs. We are an equal opportunity exposer, in the sense that with the very limited resources at our disposal we strive to shed sunlight on criminal / illegal activities of all Venezuelan thugs, whether in relation to power plants, banking, oil, foodstuff, telecoms, media, politics, military, etc.
It doesn't look pretty for Derwick Associates. Not pretty at all. Readers may recall that former U.S. President's Special Envoy for the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich, filed a RICO lawsuit against Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Pedro Trebbau Lopez and Francisco D'Agostino (of Derwick Associates's fame) in New York in July last year. When reading the claim the first time I thought "this is a looong shot..."