martes, 22 de abril de 2014

OPEN LETTER TO RAFAEL RAMIREZ, PRESIDENT OF PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA, ETC

Mr. Ramirez:
We address this letter to you with a grave  sense of responsibility because we feel indignant about the atrocities your regime has committed during these last 15 years.
We consider you one of the five worst enemies of the Venezuelan nation during this period of time, together with Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, Jose Vicente Rangel and Jorge Giordani. We say this on the basis of your participation in the sowing of class and social hatred, the waste of our resources, the delivery of national sovereignty in the hands of Castro’s Cuba and the mortgaging of our oil to China.
Specifically, your performance as Minister of Energy and Petroleum, President of Petroleos de Venezuela, PDVSA, Czar of the Economy, Coordinator of the House-building “Mission” and Vice-president of the government party, illustrates the administrative chaos prevailing in Venezuela. No one can undertake so many simultaneous tasks efficiently, no matter how competent. And you are far from being competent.
Your demonstrated incompetence would be sufficient reason to demand your resignation but you represent something much worse. One, you are a symbol of corruption because you have accepted tasks for which you are not qualified; two, you have incurred in corruption by performing these tasks without the required transparency and accountability.
We say:
·        As Minister you were directly responsible for the attempted fraud of Free Market Petroleum, a ghost company created by U.S. senator Jack Kemp and the Venezuelan regime to acquire up to 50,000 barrels per day of high quality Mesa crude for three years, to resell them to third parties. This brokerage would have given the intermediary outfit some $55 million in profits. This fraud was denounced in the U.S media and had to be abandoned;
·        You are responsible for the delivery to Cuba, for some seven years now, of up to 100,000 barrels of oil at a significant subsidy, highly detrimental to the nation, which represents a cumulative  loss of about $25-30 billion and keeps growing every day;
·        You are responsible for the contracting with companies of Formula One car racing, to allow a Venezuelan driver to run under your patronage. This contract calls for payment of some $50 million per year and is both immoral for a poor country with many needs and a failure, as the driver has had a disastrous performance;
·        You are responsible for the manner in which the heavy oil deposits of the Orinoco region have been managed. You have inflated the volume of proven reserves in violation of internationally accepted norms, you have failed to build the required upgrading plants, altered production statistics and contracted operations, for ideological reasons,  with a host of companies that do not have the capability to do the task;
·        You are responsible for the contracting of an offshore drilling barge, the Aban Pearl, to an intermediary company created for that purpose, for an amount superior to that received by the owner of the equipment. There was no valid reason not to contract this operation directly. As it is, the intermediary company obtained undue profits. Who are they? Where did the money go?  No investigation has ever been made;
·        You are responsible for the contracting of land drilling equipment with ghost companies, as admitted by former Director of the company, Luis Vierma to the Venezuelan National Assembly, who claimed he was just following the orders of the Board;
·        You are responsible for the assault, by a company financial adviser, of the company’s Pension Fund, which has generated a huge loss to the nation and to the retired and active employees of the company. The guilty party has been tried and convicted in the U.S. but Venezuelan justice has not played any role in punishing this fraud;
·        You are responsible for the no-bid contracting of millions of dollars in electrical equipment and installation work to a company, Derwick Associates, without the required experience and infrastructure, presumably receiving huge commissions that could have been eliminated if contracting had been directly with the companies capable of doing the work;  
·        You are responsible for the unusually high index of industrial accidents taking place in the company, including the Amuay refinery disaster that took many lives and represented millions of dollars in losses. This accident was due to lack of maintenance, as concluded by all independent investigations;
·        You are reported to have made significant deposits in Florida banks without transparency. Currently an investigation of a possible in-between of yours in this area of the U.S.  is being conducted;
·        You are co-responsible for the disastrous foreign exchange control system, in which members of the regime have reported loses to the nation for $25-30 billion;
·        You are co-responsible for the murky management of the Development Fund, FONDEN, in which billions of dollars have been used without transparency or accountability. In a Memo to the former Venezuelan president, now diseased, you mentioned the authority of a small group over the use of this fund, without accountability,  as a positive factor;  
·        You are responsible for defining the current economic and financial  chaos prevailing in the country as a “deeply successful model”, as expressed during the recent meeting with opposition representatives. You should know that there is a national collapse of industrial and agricultural  production, that essential foodstuff has to be imported and that imports often arrive in a rotten state due to the corruption prevailing in the importing process and in the ports run by a Cuban-Venezuelan company; see: http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140420/se-pudrieron-alimentos-valorados-en-bs-10-millones ;
·        You are responsible for the critical growth of the company debt, now estimated at some $120 billion, for having increased five-fold the amount of employees while production has decreased significantly, for mortgaging the oil to China in exchange for loan which have not been used to develop the company’s activities but for current expenditures by the central government and for promoting the exodus of international companies from the Orinoco region while bringing in companies without technical know-how, for political and  ideological reasons;
·        You are responsible for the significant deficit of natural gas in the country, which has affected critically the industries of the Guayana region, in southern Venezuela. This is taking place at the time in which gas flaring is at an all-time high. Venezuela is importing gas from Colombia through a gas pipeline that was built to transport Venezuelan gas to Colombia!
·        You are guilty of having prostituted the company’s management by publicly saying that only those loyal to the regime could work in the company, politicizing what should be a commercial and professional activity;
·        You are guilty of promoting a suicidal policy of relations with the private sector, insisting on having the control and majority shares of the mixed companies in the Orinoco region, without having the required financial and human resources to lead the activity. As a result these activities are essentially stagnant and private companies hesitate in investing significant funds in an uncertain operation. Your frequently proclaimed petroleum sovereignty is non-existent;
This long list of disasters, frauds, abuses and management failures is not yet complete. We have to add your tragic incapacity to recognize errors and modify the course of action.  You insist in that all is going according to plan. You resemble a pilot soothing passengers over the speakers system, while the plane plummets down to earth. This combination of corruption, inefficiency and stubbornness makes you one of the worst enemies of the nation.  
You should be thoroughly investigated and dismissed from your positions. In fact, you should have resigned long ago,  since an honest manager should refuse to follow suicidal orders. In a future trial you should receive the maximum penalty allowed by our laws. Unfortunately our laws do not contemplate a punishment harsh enough to compensate for all the harm you have done.

Gustavo Coronel, Eddie Ramirez, Ernesto Fronjosa, Horacio Medina, Ricardo Godoy- Vizcarrondo, Robert Bottome, Nelson Hernández, Luis Eduardo Santana, Juan Vicente Vera, Axel Capriles, José Mendez (JMV Consulting), Gustavo Fernandez, Tomas Lefkovits, Rafaél Pardo, Enrique Vasquez, Eduardo Roche Lander,