Differences Between Venezuela Fighting Corruption and the US

For Venezuela, fighting corruption is a crucial battle to guarantee the strength of the state.

The modern state and capitalism are both essentially corrupt and ever since they have co-existed in Latin America, corruption has too.

From the time when Francisco Santander embezzled Colombia's resources to deny money for Simon Bolívar's troops, corruption has had the double objective of personal enrichment and political use.

The novelty of the 20th Century was the use, managed from the United States, of a phony, highly selective "fight against corruption" to overthrow governments resisting U.S. hegemonic interests around the world, but especially in what the U.S. considers its "backyard."

That is the objective of the biased, discriminatory and very selective use of the fight against corruption. For example, Operation Lava Jato in Brazil achieved one of its objectives by removing Dilma Rousseff from the presidency without it ever being proven that she was involved in any of the acts of corruption or administrative negligence of which she had been accused. Even mainstream media outlets like the BBC acknowledge as much.

Now a process is at work to arrest Lula da Silva, favorite to win Brazil's next Presidential elections. Meanwhile, well-founded accusations of corruption against Michel Temer were set aside and Temer continues as Brazil's anomalous president, rolling back all the political advances of the previous Workers' Party governments.

The same thing has happened with the cases revolving around Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction engineering company, thanks to revelations made by the U.S. Department of Justice. This case has been used mainly to attack progressive governments or individuals who, after leaving governmental office, remain inconvenient for U.S. interests as has happened in Perú, Panama and Guatemala.

The case has also been used to discredit the governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández in Argentina. Now too it is serving Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno, having betrayed his election platform of continuing the "citizen's revolution" to begin a privatization program, clearing the way by imprisoning his Vice President, Jorge Glas. Glas was Lenin Moreno's running mate, but was the first to publicly criticize plans to privatize Ecuadoran State companies and alert people to Lenin Moreno’s overall betrayal of the achievements of Rafael Correa.

By contrast, a veil has been cast over the Panama Papers scandal involving US allies like the Presidents of Argentina and Chile and the leaders of Saudi Arabia. Even Argentina's President Mauricio Macri's defense lawyer does not deny Macri’s involvement, limiting himself to defending the legitimacy of offshore companies.

The fight against corruption is very different in Venezuela, where cases like that of "Coco" Sosa or Orlando Chacin, ex-President of the Venezuelan Oil Corporation show that no one is above the law.

The Bolivarian government's attack on corruption is waged by the State itself and has a very different focus. In the first place, because President Nicolás Maduro himself has taken the lead. On repeated occasions he demanded that the former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz prosecute crimes of corruption that were affecting the country's stability.

To the contrary, Ortega Díaz and her husband German Ferrer preferred to place themselves at the top of a crime pyramid extorting individuals guilty of corruption, perhaps trusting in the adage absolving "thieves who rob from thieves." Once they were found out, they fled Venezuela and joined the international campaign attacking their country.

In contrast to Ortega Díaz, current Attorney General Tarek William Saab, representing the institutions of the Venezuelan State, now heads a battle against corruption that has already led to the arrest of Orlando Chacín, who was also PDVSA's vice president of Exploration and Production.

Chacín is accused of "criminal conspiracy, obstructing freedom of trade and official collusion with a contractor" and, too, "criminal embezzlement and malicious damage to the oil industry."

This case confirms two things. Firstly, the fight against corruption does not exclude even trusted managers at the highest level of government. Secondly, the corruption uncovered ha been a tool created and used by multinational interests to sabotage Venezuela's economy and destroy the infrastructure of Venezuela's principal business company.

The reaction of corporate media like Reuters is very suspicious because its reporting tries to detract from this important blow against corruption by falsely framing it as a conflict of some kind between the Supreme Court and the Attorney General, which is baseless.

At a time when corporate information media increasingly control public opinion and in the middle of a multidimensional war to manufacture opinion favoring the political objectives of Western elites, the main international agencies and NGOs publish corruption data and country rankings based on "perception studies" rather than solid facts, like, for example, the number of formal accusations, indictments and arrests, which would doubtless be more scientific but would also demonstrate the reality from which the United States and its regional allies do not emerge looking good.

The much touted U.S. model of a "war on corruption" resembles ever more clearly little more than an attack on the nation state aimed at clearing the way to legalizing the theft and expropriation of Latin American countries’ natural resources by means of arguments marginalizing the role of the state so as to leave everything in the hands of multinational corporate monopolies.

For Venezuela on the other hand, fighting corruption is a crucial battle to guarantee the strength of the state, sustain and reorganize both companies essential to the country (like PDVSA) and also the system of foreign currency controls, in an economic context where foreign currency is no longer so abundant as in the past. These actions go well beyond merely economic considerations. They are matters of national security and defense.


Translated by TeleSUR English.

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