By Luis Manuel Aguana
The corruption plot uncovered following the accusation made public from the United States that the well-known businessman Raúl Gorrín, owner of Globovisión, bribed half the Venezuelan political class with Venezuelan money has unimaginable implications.
We all had the presumption that opposition collaborationism was financed with the coffers of the regime and the money of the Venezuelans, but no idea how or with whom. But little by little the size of that iceberg will be known in much more detail, and we only know the peak of it because we hit it. There is still much to know. The Gorrín-Andrade duo was managed by only a billion dollars. Imagine if that alone is a peak of thousands that exist…
For now I only wish to highlight two aspects that have been made public and that in my opinion are extremely important, beyond knowing who are the opposition that have enjoyed at the expense of hunger and death of their compatriots.
The first of them is highlighted in his Twitter account by Ambassador Diego Arria from his exile: “The assets stolen from Venezuela by Gorrin-Andrade and others are ours and the USA should not be allowed to keep them. AN must be activated with Rescue Law”. (see in Spanish, https://twitter.com/Diego_Arria/status/1065292709211054082). Obviously the first thing that stands out is that you have to recover the money turned into goods by these thieves.
As Ambassador Arria well informs, a Federal Court in the State of Florida in the United States has instructed the U.S. Treasury Department that the assets seized from those involved in this very serious corruption case be liquidated (see NTN24 interview in Spanish with Diego Arria, in https://youtu.be/ClAa5TbWSyg).
Ambassador Arria is right to set off the alarms because, as he rightly says, the origin of these assets are assets of the patrimony of Venezuelans, which were improperly appropriated by these criminals, so they will have to return to the Venezuelan Public Treasury once democracy is restored in our country. This measure of liquidation of assets by the U.S. Treasury Department should only be taken to keep those funds in custody until their due repatriation; and these in turn should be arranged by a legitimate government.
But a number of questions arise when I hear that question. On the one hand it is true that we will have to move urgently in the North American Courts, something that Arria mentions in his interview, but who should do it? The deputies of the National Assembly, who since December 2017 are in the process of a “Law for the Recovery of Assets Resulting from Corruption” that is going to have almost a year between discussions and consultations but that still does not come out? And why hasn’t it come out yet?
In fact, on December 14, 2017, Venezuelans learned that the National Assembly approved a bill with a very suggestive name, “Law for the Recovery of Assets Resulting from Corruption” (see news of the Carabobeño in Spanish, in https://www.el-carabobeno.com/an-aprobo-proyecto-ley-recuperacion-activos-producto-la-corrupcion/). Unfortunately, we do not yet know its content, but by its name we assume that it is in line with the proposal made by Ambassador Arria in relation to the need for a Rescue Law.
On April 20, 2018, the President of the Permanent Controller Commission, Congressman Freddy Superlano, publicly announced that his Commission will present to Venezuelan public opinion and the Diplomatic Corps the Bill for the Recovery of Corrupt Assets on April 23, 2018 (see news of the AN in http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/noticias/_ley-de-recuperacion-de-activos-producto-de-la-corrupcion-sera-presentada-este-lunes-23-de-abril). This was going to be the last public event for his return to the Commission “for the discussion and elaboration of the report of what was released in the public consultation for its later presentation to the plenary”.
More than 5 months later, on October 11, 2018, Congressman Superlano informs that the Bill for the Recovery of Assets resulting from Corruption would enter “the second discussion in two weeks before the national Parliament, a tool whose purpose is to promote that the resources maintained abroad, due to acts of corruption, return to the country and are invested for the benefit of the population” (see news in Spanish in La Patilla, in https://www.lapatilla.com/2018/10/11/superlano-proyecto-de-ley-de-recuperacion-de-activos-producto-de-la-corrupcion-entrara-en-segunda-discusion-en-dos-semanas/).
On November 14, 2018, one month after the first year of hearing about this law, Deputy Superlano reported that “between November 27 and December 4 of this year, are the tentative dates for the second discussion of the Bill for the Recovery of Assets Resulting from Corruption before the national Parliament” (see Prensa AN in Spanish, http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/noticias/_hhh).
And you will say what game is this? Why is it that an instrument that has demonstrated with the facts that we are seeing, to be so necessary in the face of the overflowing corruption of the regime has not yet been approved and even less publicly released? Because it should be noted that the text of this bill has not been published on the official website of the National Assembly or anywhere else. We know it only by the name and the declarations of the deputies.
The Gorrín-Andrade case grabs us without a legal instrument to deal with the recovery of 1000 MILLION DOLLARS – easy to say- in the United States, with a U.S. Treasury Department about to liquidate what is Venezuelan patrimony. What makes us wonder, could it be that part of the sack of money seized from Gorrín was precisely to stop the approval that the National Assembly has had in its drawers for more than a year? How convenient…
Which leads me to highlight the second aspect mentioned above that happens to this drama of this Law, and that is as or more important than the first. Are the deputies of the National Assembly, who have delayed this important matter, and are they in turn constitutionally called to agree on the designation of a Transitional Government as a consequence of the Institutional Power Void provoked by the sentence of Nicolás Maduro Moros on October 29, ethically and morally in a position to make that designation? Is it in the interest of Venezuelans that all those deputies, questioned -just and sinners- by the Gorrin-Andrade scandal, name a new government that responds to us and not to the interests of those who would be paying for a decision in their favor?
This is so serious that if it were a company, it would have to be closed until an audit is carried out to determine who is and who is not a thief. If before I thought that it was not politically convenient for the National Assembly to appoint a Transitional Government, now I am sure that it is not in a position to appoint a new Government that will look after the interests of Venezuelans. The whole Parliament is under serious suspicion.
The above leaves us with the last glimmer of institutionality, the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice in exile. It remains for these Magistrates to immediately assume the serious responsibility to the Venezuelans for the designation of a National Emergency Government, which integrates personalities of unquestionable reputation before the national and international public opinion, with an impeccable record of services in favor of the Republic, so that they immediately embark on the legal procedures in the United States for the recovery of the assets of the Gorrin-Andrade case and the rescue of the freedom of Venezuela. What a task! If corruption doesn’t stop, we can’t either…
Caracas, November 26, 2018