martes, 10 de agosto de 2010

Heritage takes a look at Venezuelan corruption

This is a Backgrounder On Economic Freedom

Cronyism: Undermining Economic Freedom and Prosperity Around the World
Published on August 9, 2010 by James Roberts Backgrounder #2447

Fragment on Venezuela.

Freedom from Corruption in Venezuela.

Although Venezuela has been plagued by corrupt governments since its founding in 1821, the intrepid and well-informed analyst of Venezuelan politics Gustavo Coronel has documented that since President Hugo Chávez took power in 1999, “corruption has exploded to unprecedented levels. Billions of dollars are being stolen or are otherwise unaccounted for, squandering Venezuelan resources and enriching high-level officials and their cronies.”[37]
According to Coronel’s findings, by 2008 “the total income of Venezuela during Chávez’s presidency has been approximately $700 [billion]. This formidable amount of money is nowhere to be seen in terms of public works or effective health and education programs,” but “national debt has increased from $22 [billion] to about $70 billion.”[38]
Indeed, the 2010 Index finds that corruption in the Venezuelan government is rampant. Venezuela ranks 162nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009.[39] Government tenders are vulnerable because the process frequently lacks transparency. Critics allege that price and exchange controls, government and military officials’ involvement in narcotics trafficking, and kickbacks on major weapons purchases are sources of corruption.
Tragically, corruption in Venezuela under Chávez and his cronies has extended far beyond traditional graft, kickbacks, and theft of government funds. As The Washington Post reports, in late December 2009, “the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a searing and authoritative report on the destruction of Venezuela’s political institutions and the erosion of freedom under President Hugo Chávez.”[40]
The IACHR report details the many actions the Chávez regime has taken not only to destroy Venezuela’s independent judiciary, impose totalitarian controls on press freedom, strip opposition elected officials of power, and use “bogus criminal charges to silence human rights groups,” but also employing “violence and murder” to preserve and strengthen Chávez’s grip on power.[41]
“The report documents killings of journalists, opposition protesters and farmers; it says that 173 trade union leaders and members were slain between 1997 and 2009 ‘in the context of trade union violence, with contract killings being the most common method for attacking union leaders’”[42] that are carried out by “officers from different state security agencies”[43] and “radical groups allied with Mr. Chávez.”[44]
Meanwhile, Chávez and his henchmen are destroying what is left of Venezuela’s economy and oil sector with their mismanagement. In the past two years, a drought has highlighted the inept management by the government of Venezuela’s once-abundant hydroelectric resources.[45] Responding to a nationwide meat shortage, Chávez recently ordered the arrest of butchers.[46]
In short, Venezuela in 2010 is a stark reminder to the world of where the crony corruption highway leads: to violence, poverty, and a complete loss of freedom.

References from Gustavo Coronel’s paper:

[37]Gustavo Coronel, “Corruption, Mismanagement, and Abuse of Power in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela,” Cato Institute, Development Policy Analysis No. 2, November 27, 2006, at (July 23, 2010).
[38]Gustavo Coronel, “The Corruption of Democracy in Venezuela,” USA Today Magazine, March 2008, at (July 23, 2010).

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