Boz has been doing yeoman's work on the Argentina/Venezuela/US Bags O'Cash scandal, but as he is celebrating his nuptials, I'll point out that President Chavez's name has come up in this scandal as an active participant in the cover-up:
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez was personally involved in efforts to conceal his nation's participation in the scandal surrounding a briefcase that contained $800,000, according to testimony obtained by the FBI and presented last week in Miami federal court.
The money, confiscated by Argentine customs officials, was allegedly to be a campaign contribution to that nation's current president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
According to the court documents submitted on June 27, Venezuelan businessman Franklin Durán declared that his former associate Carlos Kauffman pointed the finger at Chávez during his deposition to the FBI, citing several sources.
Both Durán and Kauffman have been implicated in the case and are accused of acting as unregistered agents of the Venezuelan government.
In his testimony, Kauffman told the FBI that lawyer Moisés Maionica assured him that, ``President Chávez was involved in the matter and that he had placed DISIP [Venezuela's intelligence service] director [Henry] Rangel Silva in charge; and that Rangel told him that President Chávez was personally involved in the case.''
Granted, this is uncorroborated deposition testimony, but depositions are made under penalty of perjury. I would imagine that this will only heat up and that there is far more to be gleaned in the days ahead.
Chavez is also having to deal with dissatisfaction in the military:
Venezuelan military officers have expressed growing alarm at attempts by President Hugo Chávez to turn the armed forces into a political instrument of his socialist revolution.
One general has been detained and hundreds of other officers reportedly sidelined for protesting against the ideological drive. Chávez has ordered the armed forces to adopt the Cuba-style salute "Fatherland, socialism or death" to put the institution at the heart of his effort to transform Venezuela.
A few years ago this would be the cause of a great deal of concern: a disgruntled military at odds with a president in Latin America. Chavez himself is guilty of taking the law into his own hands. These days, a disgruntled military will just give Chavez the chance to remove those who don't like him and appoint those who are more loyal to him.
In the long run, it should be that way. As much as I dislike Chavez, civilian control of the military is paramount to stability and democracy in Latin America. What impact this will have, if any, on Chavez's popularity remains to be seen. Still, Chavez has no business politicizing the military. The military swears allegience to the constitution, not to a form of government.