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Zero Security for Russia and Venezuela’s Elites

caracas chronicles3.jpgYesterday the insider blog Caracas Chronicles ran a cool post about Eligio Cedeño, a once successful banker turned political prisoner whom (as you probably know) Bob represents.  The article captures the sinister threat of legalistic machine that Hugo Chávez had built, but the source is a little off on what contributed to the motives (such as Eligio’s support to Carlos Ortega) as well as any suggestion that Eligio was some kind of Boligarch (he build his banking group out of abject poverty).   In speaking with this anonymous source, Quico gets into a little comparative discussion on the situation in Russia:

“And in a way, it’s much worse this way. Because if you’re in a kind of Russian situation, if you started out as a gangster but you have some kind of stability, some kind of certainty to your property rights, self-interest propels you to start acting in ways that create value for society as a whole. So, there you have Lukoil: a product of plunder, no doubt, but also a proper multinational corporation now, a real, professionally run company that does R&D and surveys its investment opportunities and works purposefully to grow and develop and expand and create value and power for Russia.

“Our new elite never actslike that. Cuz it wouldn’t make any sense for them to act like that.They’re in a position to make money today, but next week, who knows? Sotheir time horizons get compressed: the incentive structure they faceis pushing them to try to make as much money as they can as fast asthey can and two weeks from now is already the ‘long-term’ as far asthey’re concerned. That’s the tragedy here, that’s why our brand ofcorruption tends to settle into all-out kleptocracy rather thanmutating into a productive elite.

The Contact leans back and pauses to take a long breath.

“Theentire bolibourgeoisie lives under the long, dark shadow Eligio Cedeñothrows from his Helicoide cell. That’s the thing, man.