On Fairy Tales and Rocky Horrors
Beatrice E. Rangel
As Disney began its campaign to attract attention to its new feature: The Lion King which tells the story of greed and abuse of power, the US Attorney General unveiled an indictment against Mr Alejandro Andrade a former body guard for late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Mr Andre is accused of lying to federal authorities and amassing over US 1B in bribes while working for the government of Venezuela.
Meanwhile visitors to Colombia’s most eastern border with Venezuela witness scenes that would make the Victor Hugo’s depictions of poverty in 19th century Paris a fairy tale. Thousands of former middle-class Venezuelans group to secure a sleeping place in public squares, outside corridors to buildings and everywhere they can secure a spot to rest for a few hours. During the day they roam the streets of Cucuta searching for any kind of temporary jobs or soliciting a few pesos to buy food. Both events seem to be connected in a dreary kind of way.
The Lion King depicts the unethical and illegitimate take over of power of a pride in Africa by the uncle of Simba, a young lion that happens to be the son of the death leader. Simba narrowly escapes murder and wonders through the jungle up and until his pride is lost and dying of famine. Simba the heir to the throne makes a come back defeating the impostor and saving the pride from destruction. In short, the story tells about crime and punishment.
This is exactly what Mr Andrade is going through. Born and raised in a country where the rule of law is a matter for scholars and selected bureaucrats, Mr Andrade thought he could easily establish himself with the booty extracted from the Treasury of Venezuela and live happily ever after. He, of course, did not take into account the independent nature of the US Judiciary and law enforcement establishment that together work to abate organized crime. And slowly but surely the wheels of justice caught up with him . He now faces at the very least a decade in prison and the loss of his illegal wealth. And most interesting is the fact that the Andrade investigation has shed light on the greatest looting ever affected against an individual nation.
Law enforcement agencies in the US now have approximately 62 persons of interest that sooner or later could face indictments. These individuals have plucked out of Venezuela approximately US 350 B . Should this money have been distributed to the 30M plus population of Venezuela they would have received about US 11,500 per capita twenty years ago. Given that the average cost to start a small business in Latin America averages US 4,000 this payment could have turned Venezuela into a middle-class country over the 20-year period ruled by President Chavez and his successor Mr Nicolas Maduro. Instead Venezuelans are today slaves in a country of servitude and misery.
And the misery is now spreading to neighboring Colombia that has seen all its development efforts siphoned out by a massive inflow of migration that is capsizing its educational; health care and law enforcement institutions. The Venezuelan tragedy is also bringing Latin America back to the 1950s in terms of the health landscape. Vanquished diseases are staging a dreadful home coming. Poliomyelitis; typhoid fever; malaria, smallpox and bronchial diseases are spreading due to the absence of medical treatment in Venezuela whose regime suspended vaccination many moons ago. And as the region is inoculated with these diseases development efforts are destroyed by a regime that seems to have taken looting to perfection.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, November 26, 2018
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