Spanish – There are no limits to the greed of the Venezuelan dictatorship, which, with more than 20 years in power, has been willing to turn everything upside down to continue lining its pockets and enjoying great luxuries while Venezuelans have nothing to eat.
One of the most valuable areas of the country in terms of natural and biological wealth fell victim to this network of greed: the Los Roques Archipelago. A natural area with more than 300 islands and keys that could be described as a paradise because of its blue waters, white sand, and natural diversity.
An estimated 307 species of fish, abundant dolphins, whales, and numerous types of vegetation are present in this territory.
But the place faces a cold and dark reality. The regime has authorized large “tourist” constructions that threaten the crucial ecosystem, violating environmental regulations. All in exchange for contracts worth millions, involving people with fortunes of dubious origin.
“With the permission of the National Institute of Parks (Inparques) and the Ministry of Tourism, a group of businessmen has built eight eccentric constructions in the only marine park in the country,” publishes Armando.info.
Authorization of flights
Maduro’s regime would seek to guarantee the arrival of tourists despite the pandemic, which is why, in early November, it authorized commercial flights to the El Gran Roque airfield.
This measure contrasts with the restriction on most international flights imposed nine months ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state airline Conviasa immediately went out to promote ticket sales on social media. “Buy your ticket at the commercial offices of IPSFA Los próceres located in Caracas or our headquarters in Maiquetía,” Conviasa published.
#3Nov A partir del próximo jueves 5 de Noviembre iniciaremos operaciones comerciales hacia Los Roques, adquiere tu boleto en las oficinas comerciales del IPSFA los próceres ubicada en Caracas o nuestra sede en Maiquetía. pic.twitter.com/fi0UrGyGli
— Línea Aérea Conviasa (@LAConviasa) November 4, 2020
The measure, reiterated by the National Institute of Civil Aeronautics (INAC), details that flights from Maiquetía International Airport will resume between November 30 and December 6.
The exception of this destination denotes the relevance it has for the “revolution,” a round business in which they do not have much to invest since the exuberant landscapes are served on a silver platter, ready to be exploited according to the vision of the regime.
In the Gran Roque -the only inhabited island of the archipelago- eight new constructions are located. Private projects in development that stand out for their exclusivity and damage to the area.
The constructions were authorized by Inparques on the northeast side of the takeoff runway. They destroyed the mangroves in the area to build the private ports, the only way to access the homes, which are fenced off to the north by the runway and to the south by the sea, according to Armando.info‘s research.
Moreover, they built seawalls with solid materials thrown into the sea after clearing the mangroves, removing the sand, and filling in the lagoons.
“Building on the seashore, cutting down and filling in mangroves is an environmental crime,” José Ramón Delgado, director of the Fundación Caribe Sur, told Armando.info
Los enchufados llegaron a los Roques. Así va la construcción de inmuebles en el archipiélago , único parque marino del país y el arrecife más conservado del Caribe. Pero cómo el dinero mal habido todo lo puede , todo lo compra y todo lo corrompe, aquí tendrán su nueva sede 🔌🔌 pic.twitter.com/FdCFjnk7MI
— @AlexaGómez2000 (@alexagomez2000) November 23, 2020
The investigation reveals that the tenants of this luxurious facility include Anselmo Orlando Alvarado, father of Orlando Alvarado, Vice President of Finance of Derwick Associates.
As soon as it was founded, Derwick was able to obtain contracts for the construction of thermoelectric plants, five with Electricidad de Caracas, five with PDVSA through Bariven, and one by Corporación Venezolana de Guayana (CVG).
The director of this company is none other than Alejandro Betancourt, a “bolichico” or someone who became rich with favors from the regime.
“Betancourt and his partners have used their relationships with officials of the government of Hugo Chávez to whom they have allegedly paid bribes to get the business, which in the end turned out to be a big scam for the Venezuelan state,” revealed a report by journalist Maibort Petit.
The journalist adds that most of the work was not completed, and it seems that the company only sold scrap metal or rebuilt equipment with a large surcharge.
Neighbors to her luxury module are the brothers Tadeo and Bernardo Arosio Hobaica, owners of five companies in Venezuela, one of which -ATB Constructores, C.A.- is currently building luxury hotels in the capital of the country.
Moreover, they have five registered companies in Florida, also a branch of ATB Constructores, C.A. in the Dominican Republic, and six companies in Barbados.
Visits from famous and powerful
Another neighbor enjoys the first completed module: Julio Luis Borges Riquezes, member of the board of directors of the Venezuelan channel Televen and partner of an offshore company incorporated in Aruba called Stone Fort Finance A.V.V.
Borges Riquezes does not reside in the property, but it is used by “famous and powerful” friends, as revealed to Armando.info by a former employee. He also owns module four, located next to his property.
“Artists, many foreign guests, and also powerful people from politics visit this house,” the source added.
Other names “El Pelón” Capriles, heir of the family of publishers and investors and first cousin of Henrique Capriles Radonski. According to the portal Reporter 24, Capriles’ cousin has a fortune of two billion dollars.
The hardships of the population
The exuberant quality of life in these complexes contrasts with the living conditions of the small population of Los Roques.
These properties have their own power plant and desalination plant, so they have electricity and water 24 hours a day.
But the population of about 3,000 must survive with a power plant that cannot be supplied, while solid waste is burned in an open-air dump.
Additionally, septic tanks often overflow or are dumped directly into the crystalline waters of the archipelago.
The inhabitants have their hands tied since, in 2013, the dictatorship prohibited new construction (including service infrastructure) because, in their opinion, the area was already at maximum capacity.
In November 2019, a protest blocked the El Gran Roque airfield, stopping four trucks that were transporting material for the luxurious constructions. However, no changes were registered for the ordinary citizen.
Keys under auction
In the year 2018, the dictator Nicolás Maduro revealed his new intentions with the natural reserve, assuring that tourism is “an engine of foreign currency for the Bolivarian Economic Agenda.”
For the following year, a business conference was held with investors, which was reported by journalist Valentina Quintero.
“According to the information we have, these are concessions with regulations of 24 rooms, solar energy, impeccable waste management, minimum impact, and only between two and three per Key. However, the reality of the Great Roque is completely opposite,” he wrote on his Instagram account.
He added that the feces fall into the sea, the garbage is burned outdoors, there are abandoned power plants and some buildings at the end of the track that destroyed the mangroves.
However, among the objectives of the Ministry of Tourism was to announce concessions in the keys of Crasquí, Francisquí, Noronquí, and Isla Agustín.
The decline of Inparques
The silence of the regime’s environmental institutions goes hand in hand with the fracture that Chavismo has achieved throughout the institutional system.
It all began in 2011 when Marisabela Godoy Peña was appointed as president of Inparques, which incorporated the Francisco de Miranda Front into the institution.
This group was created by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez in Havana as an ideological movement of the left.
“From then on, the opinion of the technicians was a hindrance,” Marlene Sinfontes, president of the Union of the National Institute of National Parks, told Armando.info.
Additionally, in the year 2014, the regime ordered the exit of the scientists and researchers of the Scientific Foundation of Los Roques, which has worked there since 1967.
In this way, the dictatorship guaranteed silence and omission in one of the most painful ecocides for the country.