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Open letter to Derwick Associates

Dear Derwick Bolichicos,

I know you must be desperately wanting to see the end of this Annus Horribilis. Mind you, in 2013 you have gone from cocky proxies of Hugo Chavez, persecuting and prosecuting his opponents, to pariahs. In the space of less than a year, you went from believing that you could simultaneously steal hundreds of millions while destroying the reputation of widely respected Venezuelan businessmen, who made their names, wealth and businesses through actual work, to become perhaps the only billionaires in town worthy of near absolute contempt.

I think I have said this to you boys in the past, but in case you've missed it, here it is again: take your ill gotten fortune and just disappear into the sunshine. I am sure you have heard stories about Vinicio Carrero. Oh wait, you are too young, ask your parents, they'll remember. More recently, Smartmatic pulled a similar feat, and nowadays is successfully fooling people in other countries, into treating them as a respectable and capable business. I could give you other examples, your mate Luis Oberto for instance, or the father of your partner Francisco D'Agostino, but I reckon you get the drift. None of them served any jailtime for what they stole. None had international lawsuits filed against them. None of them were the object of media attention and blogosphere scrutiny. You did this to yourselves. What possessed you to take the utterly insane decision of suing Banco Venezolano de Credito in a Florida court? Pray tell, just who advised you to do that? Was it really Jose Vicente Rangel? Are you actually that thick and gullible? Most of us wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't begun making noise in the U.S. judicial system.

Do you honestly think that two paid releases, one on a Madrid website that was authored by a person who doesn't exist, and the other in El Nacional, employer of your PR man Nelson Rivera, is really going to make anyone give you the benefit of the doubt? I would have thought that the alleged $3 billion in overprice that you got could get you more competent PR people. But you bolichicos never cease to surprise me! When Spain's ABC, America's New York Times, France's Agence France Presse, and countless others focus attention on your misdeeds, you come back with extorsionist Carlos Herrera? With your "ethical hacker" RaFa? And now with this website Derwick Responsibility? Seriously? I notice that your new website is aimed at drawing attention away from your serious crimes and refocusing on your "philanthropy." You claim that Venezuela has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Really? Did your chavista handlers never send you the memo that Venezuela had eliminated illiteracy?

Do yourselves a favour boys: stop and think. Realise the importance of the first rule in a PR disaster: radio silence. In other words, when you are stuck in a hole, stop digging. You won't win people over if you keep lying, obfuscating, or using distractions. It must be difficult to get out of the echo chamber you live in, surrounded by fawning jalabolas, yes-men, sell-out family members, chavistas, and pneumatic women with silicone in their brains, but for the love of God, get serious if you have any consideration for your reputation and future. Global company? Apart from Hillary Kramer, who's going to buy that, given that you haven't got a single powerplant deal going anywhere else but in Chavezland? ​

How long do you reckon it would take a person with an internet connection to find out that, at best, you are highly questionable fraudsters? You can't say you obtained the powerplant contracts through open and competitive bidding. You can't say you solved power problems (the blackout's worldwide attention revealed that the system you claim to have contributed to is actually worse, not better). The areas where your powerplants are "installed" were also affected, and continue to be so. You can't say you had any prior experience whatsoever, you have zero track record and you didn't even study engineering or energy. You can't explain how you actually secured so much with so little. You can't publish what you charged Venezuela (versus what you paid ProEnergy). And you will have a lot of trouble explaining to the authorities, when the day comes, what all that money going from JP Morgan to Switzerland and Panama has gone to pay. Contractors? You couldn't pay them from JP Morgan? So where did the money go? To whom?  Who are the bolichicos inside the government? You can't say you come from money, as all your assets have been acquired in the last three to four years and your parents's most valuable possession was oversized imagination about the "good old days." You can't say you're a global company when having done deals exclusively with the utterly corrupt chavista regime. You can't say you have a social conscience, when you've, allegedly, stolen $3 billion and pretend now to clear your name by boasting about having built a single basketball court in a barrio. You can't say you respect democratic tenets when you've threatened, sued, ordered illegal surveillance, attempted to bribe and hacked journalists and bloggers asking perfectly legitimate questions. You can't say you understand "compliance and responsibility" when you refuse to open up to perfectly valid and legal scrutiny. You can't say you've added value when all you've done is get contracts with one hand and subcontract with the other. You can't say you contribute to the local economy when you're syphoning most of the money out of the country and your entire operation is staffed by just a dozen relatives. You can't say you're honest, upstanding businessmen, after your involvement in guisos with Lanz and CVG before "making it" as Derwick Associates. I mean, that line in your PR video "if you want solutions, fast and efficient, give us a call" just couldn't be cheesier and further apart from the type of business you're meant to be "running". I guess your small-town, vendedor-de-empanada-mentality got the best of you.

In conclusion boys, just don't say anything.

Shut up.

This being Venezuela, in a few years time no one will remember you. No one will remember what you did, or the amounts you got away with. Abroad, no one is going to question the source of your wealth as long as you keep your noses clean and stop picking fights.

However, there is one place where you will be remembered and where it won't be easy to get some rest. The internet. Understand that every time you come up with some inane response, every time you register some bullshit website, or send Carlos Herrera to Luisa Ortega Diaz's office, you will draw more and more attention to yourselves. I mean, look at what happened to Hillary Kramer after you had her publishing that morsel of baseless hagiography in Forbes. That's what we could call a "precedent."  Look it up in the dictionary. Remember what happened to you in the previous lawsuit and the humiliation you felt? I've been told that you've fired that idiot lawyer of yours in New York, alas you're still retaining the other one in Miami. Bad decision boys. These are the folks who put you in this pickle. Know that after what you've done, after the trail you've treaded, you will never, ever, succeed in the court of public opinion. So leave. The attention will diminish and will eventually disappear altogether, but you have to make it so by keeping mum for a good while. Talk to Antonio Mugica. Antonio who? Exactly. He'll tell you.

In the meantime INFODIO will continue to serve as the headlight to reveal your "reputation management" and astroturfing of the internet.