Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco was telling financial reporters only a couple of months ago that he had “over $1 billion in cash on hand” to acquire banks, insurance companies and other financial entities.
But today his life probably isn’t worth two “lochas.”
The government’s intervention of Fernandez Barrueco’s banks – Banpro, Bolivar, Confederado and Canarias – leaves him dangling alone at the end of a brittle branch over a bottomless pit. His usefulness as a front-man (“testaferro”) for certain gangsters at very senior levels within the regime of President Hugo Chavez is at an end.
Worse yet for his longevity, Fernandez Barrueco is a “person of interest” in at least six official and independent investigations currently under way in Venezuela, the U.S., Panama and other countries in the region.
Fernandez Barrueco has become radioactive as a result of all the attention he attracted with his increasingly thuggish business methods, which include reportedly commissioning at least three abductions in Venezuela and Panama, and a contract murder in Panama.
He is toxic waste to some former associates – like Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello and Adan Chavez, the president’s older brother – who no doubt would like to see him disposed of quickly before others are contaminated.
Locking Fernandez Barrueco in a Disip dungeon, as the regime did with Eligio Cedeno, doesn’t appear to be an option for the regime’s top gangsters.
The Danilo Anderson option would appear to be more attractive to certain Bolivarian gangsters who probably want absolute guarantees that Fernandez Barrueco will never talk to, say, the US Justice Department.
It’s a safe bet that Fernandez Barrueco is not in Venezuela right now. His business operations are headquartered in Panama, and he also has companies in Ecuador and Brazil. But Noticias24 reports that Fernandez Barrueco has been detained at Disip headquarters, where Eligio Cedeno has been jailed for almost three years. Reportedly Fernandez Barrueco went there voluntarily, though it’s not clear why Disip has any jurisdiction over a banking matter, and no arrest warrants have been issued to justify his detention.
The Economy and Finance Ministry resolutions announcing the intervention of the banks include specific allegations of irregularities and illegal activities that appear to expose Fernandez Barrueco to criminal charges, if the regime makes a political decision to prosecute him.
But it’s likely there will be huge pressures within the regime to restructure the intervened banks, erase all digital and paper evidence of wrongdoing, and bury any serious investigations of corruption and criminal enterprises including, possibly, the laundering of FARC drug money.
The intervention of Fernandez Barrueco’s banks was announced by Economy and Finance Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque. Caracas Gringo asked one of the country’s premier bankers who Ali Rodriguez could be allied with in this apparent “pleito entre bandidos,” and the immediate response was: “…with the Devil.”
Rodriguez Araque (a former Marxist guerrilla in the 1960s) has very old links with the Cuban regime, particularly the DGI. For decades, Rodriguez Araque has been one of Fidel Castro’s top henchmen in Venezuela (Jose Vicente Rangel aka Grima Wormtongue is another longtime top Castro henchman in Venezuela, going back to the early 1960s.) Just this week, Rodriguez Araque said at a Socialist event that that the Bolivarian revolution “needs Cuba.”
President Chavez has said several times this year that the national banking system will be restructured to conform to the new socialist model he is forcing down the throats of the Venezuelan people. This implies a much larger state presence in banking, and a much smaller private banking sector.
A good place to start this process is by taking control of the pro-regime banks which are undeniably bankrupt, like Fernandez Barrueco’s banks.
The government ordered an “open intervention,” which means the four banks continue to operate “normally.” But the truth is that the four banks are insolvent. They have been looted completely.
The government is putting cash into the banks to keep them “solvent,” but anyone with money deposited at any of the four intervened banks would be wise to withdraw all of it immediately.
The intervention also provides effective political and legal cover for the systematic erasure of all digital and paper evidence of who looted the four banks.
Fernandez Barrueco’s name heads the list, but he was only a “testaferro” for other senior figures in the Bolivarian regime, including the First Family.
Caracas Gringo suspects that the intervention of the four banks could be a political damage control and cleanup operation in which Fernandez Barrueco and perhaps others are expendable. The Chavez regime has always eaten its own.
Our suspicions increase on reports that Rodriguez Araque also may order the intervention of Banco Real and Central Banco Universal (Pedro Torres Ciliberto), BNV Banco Universal (Julio Herrera Velutini), and Banorte and Banco Federal (Jose Zambrano). Adan Chavez reportedly has connections with Banorte.
Fernandez Barrueco for years has been an associate of Cabello and Adan Chavez. Torres Ciliberto is a “testaferro” and longtime business associate of Grima Wormtongue, Ana Avalos de Rangel and their son, JVR Jr. Torres Ciliberto also is associated with Arne Chacon, brother of Cabello’s longtime sidekick, Science and Technology Minister Jesse Chacon.
The Bolibourgeois bankers and the senior regime thugs they front for have become immensely wealthy since 2002. The banks they own generated huge profits playing with public deposits, government debt and the “permuta” market. All of the Bolibourgeois banks, which include a lot of “old” (pre-Chavez) names in banking, also have laundered money.
But the banks are hollow shells. Without the regime’s continued support, the banks are essentially insolvent. What better way to create the new socialist banking model, and forever erase all evidence of corruption and illicit enrichment by senior regime figures than to intervene and restructure the Bolibourgeois banks on the indisputable basis of their insolvency?
But some very important loose ends remain, like Fernandez Barrueco.