Opinion and Analysis: Opposition
The Perfect Crime in Venezuela
"Peru is prostituting the principle of asylum" is the headline of a story re-published today in Axis of Logic's World News. The Peruvian government stands accused of degrading the concept and practice of political asylum by granting it to one of the most well-known crooks in Venezuela. Manuel Rosales ran against President Chávez in the 2006 presidential elections and lost by a very wide margin. At one time, Rosales was considered to be the foremost leader of the minority opposition against the Bolivarian government. He was actively involved in the failed coup against President Chávez in April, 2002 and he was later granted amnesty for that crime against the state by President Chávez. But in the last few years, the opposition lost most of their interest in him, relegating him to the role of a back room member of the old guard whose massive coup failure in 2002 broke the back of the opposition. Since then, the CIA-backed "student movement", funded by NED and USAid, has taken the place of the old guard.
Manuel Rosales on the lam
In early April of this year, Salim Lamrani, an eminent Parisian scholar and analyst on Latin American affairs, wrote about Rosales:
"He is suspected of corruption and unjustified enrichment during his mandate as governor of the state of Zulia between 2002 and 2004. Rosales, whose trial was transferred to Caracas (because he had met with four judges of the state of Zulia), is suspected, amongst others of:
- donating to relatives and friends more than 300 vehicles that belonged to the State;
- starting businesses in Miami whose assets surpass US$ 11 million; and
- taking bribes from the German enterprise Siemens for the construction of the Maracaibo subway. The said multinational corporation acknowledged having paid certain amounts in order to obtain the contract, without mentioning any name, however."
Prosecutors have been focusing on corruption in government, charging a number of past and current officials with related crimes - indeed, a serious problem in Venezuela as it is in all countries. Among those charged is Carlos Giménez who was politically affiliated with President Chávez and removed from office in 2008. Rather than answering to the charges against him in court, Rosales went on the lam and ended up in Peru, where the U.S.-backed regime of Alan Garcia has now given him asylum on the pretext that he is the victim of a drive to eliminate political opponents of President Chávez. This, of course, makes good press for the rabid Venezuelan opposition and the anti-Chávez western media. But truth to tell, Rosales never representated any real political threat to the elected government or to President Chávez, politically or personally. Manuel Rosales appears to be no more or less than a common, white-collar criminal who got caught with his hand in the taxpayer's pocket like so many politicians in the U.S.
Rosales should be prosecuted and if convicted, should be sitting in a Venezuelan jail. This story says as much about the corruption of Alan Garcia's regime in Peru as it says about the thieves they are protecting. The cornerstone of the perfect crime is getting away with it. The way to do it in Venezuela is to claim persecution by the government and to flee to Peru or Miami where political asylum is for sale. But if you're interested in following suit, you better take some money with you. It looks like Manuel Rosales had as much as $11 million salted away in Miami for just that occasion.
- Les Blough in Venezuela
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