Playing dominoes on the "tomb" of the dead president?
Mark Twain wrote a story once about a white elephant that disappears in New York. A legion of detectives is sent after the animal but they fail to locate him, while he leaves destruction in his trail across several towns of the United States. If Twain lived in Venezuela today he would find plenty of material for similar stories. In this country of magic realism several oil tankers, including a VLCC (Very Large Cargo Carrier) capable of carrying 2 million barrels of oil, the presidential airplane and the remains of the dead president himself have all disappeared. By disappearance I mean that, although someone must know where they are, the citizens of the country do not.
The location of the remains of the dead president has become a mystery. Venezuelans do not know when he died, how he died, where he died or where he is buried, if he is, in fact, buried. Is he, like Elvis Presley, still alive and in hiding? No death certificate exists, no one appears to have been a witness of his death in Venezuela or in any other country, no one knows where his remains are. Some say he is buried in his home town of Barinas. Officially he rests in a place called the Museo de la Montaña, The Mountain Museum, but rumors are insistent that this tomb, frequently used as a table to sleep on or play dominoes by the current president, is empty.
Incidentally, there is no available record that the current president was ever born, at least in Venezuela. But that’s another story.
The presidential airplane, a 319J airbus that was illegally acquired by the dead president outside of the budget, at a cost of some $78 million (after remodeling), has also mysteriously disappeared. The recent trip of the current president to Beijing had to be made in a rented airplane of Cubana de Aviación (a Russian made plane said to have been given as a gift by the dead president to the Castro brothers ). The airbus has not been seen in months. The official story is that it was sent for maintenance to the manufacturers and it came back with a serious defect in one wing. Airbus denies this. At any rate, the airplane has evaporated.
In parallel, of three oil tankers ordered by the regime to Iran, Argentina and China, two are nowhere to be found. One is still in Argentina, the so-called “Eva Peron”, after one year of being put in the water by the Rio Santiago dockyards.
big party for the white elephant
The Aframax type tanker “Sorocaima”, built in Iran, was handed over to PDVSA over a year ago but it has not been seen since. The huge VLCC “Carabobo” was baptized with great ceremonies in China September 6, 2012, in Huludao, Liaoning province. For this occasion the Bokai Dockyards were adorned with flowers and the president of PDVSA Navy Co., the Venezuelan Embassy representative, the president of the Dockyards, all made grandiose speeches. It was the largest oil vessel ever acquired by the Venezuelan oil company. The costs of these large vessels is of the order of $150 million but, knowing how business is done in the Venezuelan company, the total bill probably went over $200 million.
One year later the vessel has not yet made its maiden voyage and its positioning systems/satellite beacons are not working. As a result the location of the vessel is unknown, see http://maritime-connector.com/ship/carabobo-9623257/ .
The ship is theoretically operated by a paper company called CV Shipping. It is 332 meters long but, so far, nobody has seen it. The operator’s offices are in Singapore, at #28-02 Millenia Tower, 8 minutes away from the Venezuelan Embassy. Perhaps Venezuelan Ambassador Alfredo Toro Hardy can tell us something about this mysterious company and the whereabouts of the vessel, but I doubt he would be interested in this sordid business since he never noticed that the office of Petro Marine, another ghost company, involved in the 2009 murky affair of the drilling barge Aban Pearl, was next to his.
According to a story by news Agency REUTERS, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/01/uk-oil-tankers-venezuela-idUKBRE99006A20131001 the three oil tankers cited above were part of an order of forty two vessels placed by the deceased president, probably under the effects of hallucinogens given to him by his Cuban doctors. Currently the company is paying millions of dollars per year in tanker rental fees to contractors, some of whom are simply gangsters with good connections within the company.
REUTERS’report quote PDVSA’s Annual Report for 2012: “ We finished the launch and floating of the Sorocaima...one of the four 113,000 tonnes Aframaxes being built by Iran. We programmed the launching of the Eva Peron for July 12th, 2012…”.
But the tankers, REUTERS added, never arrived. They are now part of the “Flying Dutchman” fleet of ghost ships, while many Venezuelan, Chinese, Iranian and Argentinian “businessmen” are probably millions of dollars richer.
At least the dead president reappears, occasionally, in the shape of a little bird on the shoulder of the current president whispering orders in his ear.