Archive for August 2012
Summer is ending, our elected gringo “leaders” soon will be returning to Washington, D.C., so it’s a good time to start blogging anew. I expect to continue writing about Roger Noriega’s activities, including the ongoing defamation lawsuit that exiled Venezuelan banker Eligio Cedeno has brought against Noriega and his Venezuelan associate Martin Rodil. But I’ve been reading a lot of history recently, so I’m returning from my summer vacation from blogging with the following historical anecdote reproduced verbatim from the memoirs of a former U.S. Ambassador who served in Central America during the mid-1980’s…
Dodd: Add Sleaze to Corruption
The regional security officer was upset when he arrived in my office the morning of February 20, 1987. His men – my personal security team, consisting of two U.S. officers and 14 Honduran contract employees – felt their professionalism had been compromised by the nocturnal pursuits of two visiting American senators: Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and a Democratic colleague of Dodd’s from a border state.
Dodd was a frequent and unwelcome visitor to Tegucigalpa where I was serving as Reagan’s ambassador. Besides overseeing U.S. support to the Nicaraguan Resistance (known as the contras), my instructions were to work closely with the Honduran government to strengthen democracy and aid that poverty-stricken country’s economy. Our aim, fully backed by Honduras’ government, was to cleanse Central America of the communist threat posed by rebel movements in El Salvador and Guatemala, aided by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, Castro’s Cuba and the Soviet Union.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, the subsequent impoverishment of Cuba, and the mistake of the Sandinistas in allowing a free election that ousted them from office put an end to the Central American crisis. But before that happened, Dodd had made it his business to try to undermine U.S. policy by seeking to persuade the Honduran government to withdraw its support to the Nicaraguan Resistance and to block further U.S. aid to the anti-Sandinista combatants.
Dodd – and a number of fellow-traveling congressional cohorts whom he was wont to drag along on his visits to Honduras – made our job more difficult, but we succeeded in thwarting him, and our relationship with the Honduran political leadership (government and opposition) remained strong and mutually-supportive.
When Dodd announced, on the second day of a three-day visit, that he and his sidekick would relieve the Embassy of responsibility for entertaining them that evening, and asked that we recommend a suitable restaurant, my staff and I were delighted to oblige. But given a high incidence of street crime, my security detail was assigned to escort them – to make sure they could enjoy a safe and relaxing evening together.
During Clinton’s presidency much was made of the risks inherent in a president’s losing confidence in his Secret Service detail – as would result from disclosures members of the detail might make about their principal’s “private,” personal activities. “Professionalism,” it was said, required that they remain impassively mum about any inappropriate extracurricular acts by their boss, so as not to lose his trust and thereby place him in greater jeopardy.
That argument was exactly backwards. It’s not the principal’s losing confidence in his security team that matters, but vice-versa. If the principal is a sleaze, his bodyguards will lose respect, and that can and will undermine their willingness to risk all on his behalf. In fact, expecting them to do so when the principal is engaging in immoral acts is a direct insult to their professionalism.
And that is precisely what happened in Tegucigalpa, with Dodd and his buddy.
The regional security officer was specific in his complaint.
“Sir,” he said, “my men consider themselves professionals. They weren’t trained to escort U.S. senators to whorehouses.”
He handed me a written report (naming the three bordellos visited – Villa Hermosa, Gran Via, Punta Azul), he wanted to know what the Embassy could do about it. Other than denouncing the two visitors to their hometown newspapers, which I’m sorry now I counseled him not to do, the answer was, absolutely nothing. Visiting members of Congress are pretty much untouchable.
But, lesson learned: Should the situation arise again where visiting members of the Legislative Branch wished to go off on their own, we would caution them that they’d be on their own if they went to certain areas of the city considered off-limits to Embassy personnel.
Shortly after this incident, a very senior Democratic senator, known for his probity, visited us, with his wife. One of the Embassy’s junior officers asked him point-blank why someone like Dodd would frequent whorehouses in a place like Tegucigalpa (where AIDS was known to be rampant). This visitor’s response (as reported to me) is not printable, but I’ve always wondered if he carried back a message of caution, if not remonstrance, to his sleazy Connecticut colleague.
On subsequent visits, Dodd, as far as the official record goes, managed to hold his baser instincts in check, if not his anti-Administration antics.
Gringo’s PS: The former senator from CT has been Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America since March 2011. Given Dodd’s historical record of ferociously opposing the US embargo against Fidel Castro’s Cuban dictatorship, I’ve always wondered if he was honeytrapped by Cuban G-2 in Central America or during one of his many trips to Havana.
The strangled, lifeless body of Venezuela’s new Ambassador to Kenya, veteran diplomat Olga Fonseca, was discovered on 27 July on her bed in the official ambassadorial residence in Nairobi. Fonseca was murdered only 12 days after assuming her new post in a city that long has been considered one of the safest diplomatic postings in the world.
Ambassador Fonseca had replaced former Ambassador Gerardo Carrillo Silva, who fled Kenya last March after he was accused of sexual harassment by three male Kenyan employees of the official ambassadorial residence, including a chauffeur and a cook. Carrillo Silva, who denied the accusations after returning to Caracas, has been suspended from active diplomatic service pending the outcome of an internal Foreign Ministry investigation that has not started yet.
Kenyan police arrested five Kenyan nationals on July 28, on suspicion that they were involved in Ambassador Fonseca’s murder. The police also arrested the Venezuelan Embassy’s First Secretary, Dwight Sagaray, reportedly a card-carrying member of the PSUV (which is how Bolivarian diplomats get jobs).
Sagaray was officially charged on August 6 with the murder of Ambassador Fonseca.
Kenyan police investigators believe that Sagaray murdered Ambassador Fonseca because she discovered that cocaine was being smuggled from Venezuela to Kenya in Venezuelan diplomatic pouches prepared and dispatched from Caracas by Foreign Ministry officials.
The Bolivarian regime’s diplomatic scandal in Nairobi has been escalating since last March, yet in all this time President Hugo Chavez has said nothing about the case. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has remained silent. Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz also has been quiet as a tomb. No official investigations have been launched. No real official statements have been issued – until today.
Interior & Justice Minister Tareck Zaidam El Aissami Maddah said today that Fonseca’s murder absolutely is not related to drug trafficking in any way. Kenyan police are pursuing “a suspect of Kenyan origin,” the minister said, without admitting that First Secretary Sagaray, a Venezuelan citizen, was formally charged yesterday as the physical perpetrator of the ambassador’s murder by strangulation. Fonseca’s murder will be punished, Aissami added. Right….
Aissami has a personal stake in burying this Bolivarian scandal in Nairobi very quickly. It’s likely that the Bolivarian regime already has reached out quietly to the Kenyan government in Nairobi seeking a way to settle the whole embarrassing matter quietly and quickly. It’s likely that cash already has been proffered, or soon will be proffered, to the “appropriate” (i.e. potentially corruptible) Kenyan authorities. That’s how the regime works in places like Miami and Buenos Aires (the cash-stuffed suitcase scandal of 2008), Honduras in 2009, and most recently Paraguay last June.
If cocaine was being smuggled to Nairobi in diplomatic pouches prepared inside the Foreign Ministry in Caracas, it can be assumed that diplomatic pouches containing cocaine and heroin also are being shipped with regularity to other foreign capitals. Foreign Ministry diplomatic pouches also are an effective way to launder and transfer hard currency out of Venezuela illegally without leaving any digital trails that could be followed in the future.
Rafael Rivero Munoz, a retired Disip Commissioner who blogs about the Chavez regime’s hugely diverse international criminal enterprises reports that Venezuela’s Ambassador to The Netherlands, Mrs. Haifa Aissami Maddah, a sister of Interior & Justice Minister Aissami, also demands that all diplomatic pouches arriving at Schiphol International Airport from the Foreign Ministry in Caracas must be delivered unopened directly to her official residence.
Assaimi has focused over the past year on creating an international image as the leading drug warrior in the Chavez regime. With Aissami and Bolivarian regime propaganda cameras present, some clandestine air strips have been destroyed, more narcotics reportedly have been interdicted and seized, and more alleged drug traffickers have been arrested, with some even deported to Colombia. But the flow of drugs from Apure to destinations in the Caribbean and Central America, en route to the US and Europe, continues without interruption. It’s now estimated that over 200 tons per year of cocaine are transiting through Venezuela.
It is widely believed by counterdrug authorities in the US, Colombia and several EU capitals that Assaimi is involved up to his eyeballs in the highly profitable Bolivarian international drug trafficking business. Former Supreme Court Justice Eladio Aponte Aponte, who hasn’t been heard from publicly again over the past several months since his interview in Costa Rica with Eligio Cedeno’s SoiTV channel, reportedly has been very helpful to US prosecutors who now are working on several fronts to bring sealed indictments against high-ranking Bolivarian regime figures and their business associates, a substantial number of whom own residential and commercial properties in Florida, New York and other US states.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry was professional, distinguished, discreet, moral and honest – not the world’s best, but certainly one of the best in Latin America. But that was almost 14 years ago, before Chavez assumed the presidency at the start of 1999 and immediately corrupted Venezuelan diplomacy by naming Jose Vicente Rangel as his first Foreign Minister. Rangel is a gangster.
The Bolivarian regime since Rangel’s time in the Casa Amarilla has transformed the Foreign Ministry into a cesspool of corruption and international political intrigue. Since at least 2000, law enforcement and intelligence services in countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Argentina and most recently Paraguay – to name only a few countries – have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the Chavez regime has used diplomatic pouches to illegally send cash to political groups in those countries to fund their efforts to destabilize democratically elected governments that do not share Chavez’s radical Marxist revolutionary ideas.
During the Chavez era, the Foreign Ministry and Venezuela’s diplomatic service have collapsed so hugely that Foreign Minister is Nicolas Maduro, a former Caracas Metro union official with zero education or training in diplomacy and international relations. Under Maduro, foreign ministry diplomats posted abroad are not paid regularly, and the ambassadors appointed by President Chavez, without exception, are unqualified for their jobs – including the current Venezuelan Ambassadors to the United States and United Nations.
Job advancement in the Foreign Ministry depends on political loyalty. Card-carrying PSUV members are assured of jobs even if they can’t change the batteries in a flashlight, figuratively speaking. But educated, talented and qualified professionals have as much chance of getting a Foreign Ministry job as a mouse has of surviving an encounter in a box with a hungry boa constrictor.
But now the strangulation murder in Nairobi of Ambassador Fonseca by First Secretary Sagaray has confirmed that the Foreign Ministry also likely is a hub for trafficking illegal narcotics internationally via diplomatic pouches that are immune to inspection, search and seizure under the laws of international diplomacy.
Kenyan homicide investigators believe that Ambassador Fonseca was murdered because she issued orders immediately upon assuming her new post in Nairobi stating that all diplomatic pouches arriving from Caracas were to be delivered to her directly and unopened, with the official diplomatic seals intact. Assaimi said today that this isn’t true. But since I know who Assaimi is, I’ll take the Kenyan cops at their word.