South of the Rio Grande, only Venezuela can claim to have reached Olympian heights in the corruption leagues. Venezuela is where grand theft has become institutionalized, and more importantly, perhaps the only country in the region -apart from the Cuban dictatorship- where stealing billions of dollars has no consequences. None.
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.
Rafael Ramirez is the Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela. For the past 11 years he has also been the President of the state-owned petroleum company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). I would like to describe in this article how he led the company into bankruptcy. In so doing he has also generated economic and social chaos in the country, since petroleum is the only source of foreign currency for our nation. It represents 96% of all Venezuelan exports.