The case of former President Hugo Chávez's nurse and former national treasurer, Claudia Díaz Guillén, is the latest in a legion of 9,000 Venezuelan individuals and companies that are part of a "super network" of corruption that are under investigation in different parts of the country. world, including your country of origin.
Díaz Guillén, extradited from Spain to be prosecuted in the United States, is accused of participating, together with her husband and former head of security for Chávez, Adrián Velázquez, in the crime of money laundering and bribery of at least 1,000 million dollars, in addition to illegally trafficking in gold bullion from the Central Bank of Venezuela.
But the case of the couple Díaz Guillen and Velázquez is just one grain of the mountain of corruption in the South American country.
Its magnitude is unprecedented, it is "antifragile" and feeds on "chaos", argues the Colombian philosopher and political scientist Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán in his latest research.
Eduardo Salcedo directs the Vortex Foundation, specialized in organized crime, which together with Transparency International, Venezuela chapter, carried out the investigation. In their report they x-ray a “super network” in which at least 9,000 people or companies that have been operating in the country for years participate.
The newspaper Voice of America published a summary of the forum organized by Salcedo to publicize the results of the investigation. Compared to other cases of corruption in the region, Salcedo maintains that the one in Venezuela leaves the 'Lava Jato' case in Brazil in its infancy, which has been the largest file of illegal financial practices in the world where dozens of politicians, businessmen, and Brazilian companies until 2014.
Salcedo details that the Brazilian “Lava Jato” case involved the interaction of 1,399 people and companies, or “nodes”, as they are called at Vortex. In Venezuela, the first inquiries in September 2020 made it possible to detect the corrupt actions of 5,500 “nodes”, that is, individuals and companies.
In January 2021, that number had grown to 6,273 and then, now, it climbed to "more than 9,000 nodes and 23,000 interactions", that is, the sending or receiving of resources, whether information, money or favors (traffic of influences).
The main spokesperson for Vortex stressed that the "Lava Jato" case "did not reach a billion dollars" in its entirety, according to the conclusions after specifying "60 stages of investigation" of these operations inside and outside Brazil.
He explained that there are 121 judicial proceedings within Venezuela and abroad for various forms of corruption. Of them, 74 are being investigated in the same South American country; 51, in the United States; 15, in Argentina; 8, in Spain; 5, both in Ecuador and Mexico; and 4, in Brazil.
Those cases alone involve 67,883 million dollars and the leading role in that "super network" of 362 people and 212 companies, of which 142 have already been sanctioned in various countries, such as the United States and Spain, he stressed.
In Venezuela, "there are no guarantees of due process (against corruption) and that they end in something," says Jesús Urbina of Transparencia Venezuela, Zulia chapter.
"This is a 'bite' nothing more. This is vastly greater and that amount is higher than any act of corruption that has been 'caught' and prosecuted anywhere in the world," said Urbina, a Venezuelan teacher and researcher at the forum.
“Nicolás Maduro had to face a situation in which he lacked the same resources as Chávez. He has had to resort to a greater use of violence, coercion by means of force, nepotism, to guarantee the continuity of this regime and this 'super network,'" Salcedo said, concerned about this observation.
The Colombian researcher points out that the Venezuelan corruption system is strengthened by chaos and disturbances, it does not disappear or completely dismantle, it is an 'anti-fragile' system, which supposes the "unprecedented" reaction of institutions and global civil society .
Venezuela is considered the most corrupt country in the Americas and is only surpassed in the world by Somalia, Syria and Sudan, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index, released in January by Transparency International.
The comptroller commission of the National Assembly, elected in 2015, chaired by Juan Guaidó, estimates that the patrimonial damage of the Chavista government amounts to 450,000 million dollars due to corrupt practices.
And the worst thing is that corruption, a cancer that has not been curbed due to the impunity with which it has acted in these 23 years of Chavismo, has metastasized in the Venezuelan population.