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Venezuelan judiciary "after" Rafael Ramirez

Is the ask that has no reasonable explanation: how come Rafael Ramirez has not been indicted, charged, arrested, extradited, jailed? Anyone that has spent more than five minutes in Venezuela knows the answer. Justice is something reserved for political foes, a tool to be used selectively, when convenient and politically expedient. Ramirez seems to have become a target in some factions within chavismo, but it will be difficult to disentangle mess left behind. For one Nicolas Maduro was sitting across the table in PDVSA's board when Ramirez was looting the company with family and friends. Asdrubal Chavez -currently in charge- approved and signed the $4+ billion money laundering scheme for which Ramirez is wanted now. If combating corruption is the goal: how about those two?

Since end of 2017 Ramirez has spent long periods of time in Rome, in a flat that was bought and refurbished by Nervis Villalobos, a trusted associate of Ramirez. This site was able to not only get documentary evidence linking Villalobos to the acquisition, but also got information that placed Ramirez as resident in Villalobos' flat. Italian authorities were given the information, yet no action was ever taken. Expecting Italy to move against Ramirez is like expecting Venezuela to move against Francisco Convit, another key member of the criminal group behind the scheme. 

Arresting Convit would bring other problems, because in a separate $1.2 billion money laundering scheme in which he also participated some of the loot was shared with Maduro's stepsons

Venezuelan prosecutors arrested Victor Aular, designated by Ramirez to set up on PDVSA's behalf the $4+ billion deal with Luis and Ignacio Oberto, and have just arrested Fidel Ramirez, brother of Rafael, who is involved -along with other brother Reinaldo and many others- in yet a separate $2+ billion money laundering scheme centred in Andorra.

Ramirez's brothers, Ramirez's first cousin, almost every colleague at PDVSA board level and every proxy are involved, or have been involved, in criminal proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. Put another way, in jurisdictions where the "I am a victim of chavista political persecution" excuse can not be applied, Ramirez and every last member of his closest entourage are part of criminal probes. 

Another of his trusted lieutenants, Javier Alvarado, emerged recently as an informant of State and DoJ. This site is certain that Alvarado kept to himself information pertaining his own corrupt deals with Villalobos and Ramirez, for let it not be forgotten that Alvarado is a key member in the $2+ billion criminal probe in Andorra. Furthermore, Alvarado is directly responsible for procurement granted to Derwick Associates whereby another $2+ billion were looted

Ramirez was at the core of a multibillion dollar graft enterprise that bankrupted not only PDVSA but Venezuela. Life imprisonment is what he deserves, but Venezuelan prosecuting authorities are on very shaky ground. It is hard to see law enforcement in European countries or America giving any consideration to attempts to arrest and extradite Ramirez & co.

Spain has repeatedly refused to send Villalobos, Alvarado, Hugo Carvajal and other Venezuelan criminals to face American justice. Switzerland never saw a single Venezuelan dollar from corruption it didn’t like. Italy is an ungovernable territory where those like Ramirez can live forever. The UK has a monarchy and a ruling party that embrace the utterly corrupt, and of course their money. Chavismo, however, is a damaged brand. Beyond Russia, China, Iran and similar pariah states, no developed country has a shred of trust in its judiciary. That has become the defence of choice for Ramirez & co., who continuously argue a) that either no charges against them have ever been filed and no firm sentence has been issued, or b) that if they have, in Venezuela, charges are politically motivated and they are, in fact, victims (of the multimillionaire through corruption kind).

Chavismo has in its hands mountains of evidence that could be used to build water tight criminal cases, but in each one it will have to field -rightly so- whataboutism challenges. Ramirez, and others in similar situation, have retained the very best lawyers, lobbyists, and mouthpieces ill gotten money can buy. Chavismo, on the other hand, is universally despised in the Western world. Will it change in the near future? Will Italy, or Spain, act upon Venezuela's requests to have Ramirez & co extradited? Unlikely.

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