Saturday, March 11, 2006

Exemplary Punishment

Since Hugo Chavez took over the presidency not a single Venezuelan had been charged for corruption. For seven years Government Prosecutors focused exclusively on political cases targeting opposition forces. Not even after President Chavez declared “Fight to Death to Corruption” in 2004 the Venezuelan courts went after the first Bolivarian corrupt.

That is why a recent announcement by a National Assembly Commission investigating a high profile corruption comes as a surprise, and a nice one for that matter. Nineteen people have been declared politically responsible for stealing close to US$ 1.5m from a publicly funded sugar can mill. This means that they won’t be able to hold a public office for the up to fifteen years. Charged parties include a former Minister and a General.

It is a good thing that finally the Chavez’s administration is moving from rhetoric to practice in this front. Still remains to be seen if the punishment will go beyond the symbolic and the guilty parties will spend time behind bars.


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