Thursday, March 27, 2008

Family values

In an audience with then World Bank president James Wolfenson in 1996, Indonesian president/dictator Suharto reportedly said "What you regard as corruption... we regard as family values", one of the greatest lines ever(reported by Sebastian Mallaby in his excellent book "The World's Banker", p. 179).

Now it appears that things might work the same way in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

Hugo's dad is the governor of a state, his older brother is the federal education minister, and two of his younger brothers are accused (to be fair, by a political rival to his father) of buying a string of 17 ranches using fronts to hide their identity.

Excerpts from the article:

Venezuela's National Assembly opened an investigation Wednesday into a congressman's accusations that two of President Hugo Chavez's brothers acquired 17 ranches in recent years — if true a potential stain on the image of Chavez's socialist movement. Lawmaker Wilmer Azuaje detailed his allegations in a closed-door committee session, presenting documents that he says show how an assortment of ranch lands were obtained by Chavez's brothers Argenis and Narciso. Azuaje said afterward that he asked the congressional audit commission to visit the haciendas for an inspection and to summon those who sold the properties for questioning. Azuaje, of the president's socialist party, said the ranches are all located in Chavez's home state of Barinas, where the president's father is governor. Asked if the accusations are linked to his own campaign for governor in Barinas, Azuaje said Chavez and his party "demand that we denounce... acts of corruption (and) incapacity." There was no immediate reaction from Chavez's younger brothers or the president, who was traveling in Brazil. The lawmaker told the Venezuelan television channel Globovision on Tuesday that he has documents indicating Chavez's brothers acquired 17 ranches through front men who carried out the transactions on their behalf. Azuaje said he decided to call for the investigation because he feels the land acquisitions harm the image of Chavez's socialist movement. He said he also has asked prosecutors to open a separate investigation.