The chemical analysis of eight Mexican brands that the Venezuelan government supplies to the low-income population through the Local Supply and Production Committee (CLAP), gives scientific determination to what appeared to be an urban legend: it may be powdered, but it is not milk. The fraud affects both the coffers and the public health, by offering as food a mixture poor in calcium and proteins, yet full of carbohydrates and sodium.
Hurried by the drop of oil prices and the collapse of oil production, Nicolás Maduro bets on the Orinoco Mining Arc as a formula to increase the resources that are so scarce in the national coffers. Under the "joint venture" system, the Government has ended up agreeing with companies insufficiently known in the extra-activist industry, like Corporación Faoz. Among the beneficiaries is Gold Reserve, the Canadian mining company that Hugo Chávez expelled from Venezuela years ago. The Paradise Papers filtering shows that both have registered companies in that tax haven called Barbados.
The Venezuelan businessman quietly established a complex corporate structure until last February the US Treasury Department accused him of being the "front man" of the Vice President of the Republic, Tareck El Aissami. The Paradise Papers leak now reveals that his business assets are broader than those initially blocked by the US authorities and that the island of Barbados was chosen to create a sort of holding that groups the companies with which he participated in the oil and food business, among others, and whereby he was awarded millionaire contracts with the Venezuelan government.
In two countries of "Bolivarian" regimes, Ecuador and Venezuela, Chinese investment has found avid business partners over the last ten years. The Asian giant has injected vast financial resources and resources for infrastructure works into both nations, many of them unfinished. But the other side of the coin is the conditions imposed on the partners in draconian contracts that the Chinese entities and companies have subscribed by their local counterparts. In the height of the 21st Century, the foreseeable power of the future imposes terms and conditions of the 19th Century, like the suspension of labor laws, importation of labor, exclusive use rights, more expensive financing, payments in foreign currency, among other nineteenth-century privileges.
The rebel prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Díaz, opened a real Pandora's box. Her accusation against Group Grand Limited not only strips the food import business for the popular Local Supply and Production Committee (CLAP). It also confirms that the businessman from Barranquilla, Alex Nain Saab Morán, hitherto linked to former Colombian senator, Piedad Córdoba, is also a hinge of President Nicolás Maduro. From the port of Veracruz, at least 7 million boxes of food have been shipped to Venezuela by a ghost company with no permanent office in Caracas or Mexico, and thanks to a millionaire contract with the Venezuelan government.
The Venezuelan fishing fleet and the seafood processing industry went under due to massive imports from the Government. Ironically, the shot underneath the waterline was fired by military officers in charge of overseeing the national sovereignty. A subsidiary of the Savings Bank of the Army imported tuna and other goods. The business was shielded with guaranteed access to Government currencies at preferential rates and alliances with the new business class.