Communism is, in essence, rule by a criminal gang. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Hugo Chavez is turning Venezuela into a haven for international crime:
While President Hugo Chavez has been molding Venezuela into his personal socialist vision, other transformations — less visible but equally profound — have taken hold in the country.
Venezuela has become a major hub for international crime syndicates. What attracts them is not the local market; what they really love are the excellent conditions Venezuela offers to anyone in charge of managing a global criminal network.
While this situation has so far been rather invisible to the rest of the world, it is patently clear to those in charge of fighting transnational crime. Anti-trafficking officials in Europe, the United States, Asia and other Latin American countries are paying unprecedented attention to Venezuela. These officials are not particularly interested in Venezuelan politics or in Chavez’s policies. All they care about is that the tentacles of these global criminal networks are spreading from Venezuela into their countries with enormous power and at great speed.
A senior Dutch police officer told me that he and his European colleagues are spending more time in Caracas than in Bogota, Colombia, and that the heads of many of the major criminal cartels now operate with impunity, and effectiveness, from Venezuela. The cartel bosses aren’t exclusively Colombians — there are Asians (especially Chinese) and Europeans too. Caracas’ most posh neighborhoods are home to important kingpins from around the world, including some from Belarus, a country that Chavez notably has visited several times.
Venezuela appears near the top of lists compiled by the anti-money-laundering authorities as well. Money moves in and out, and not just through electronic inter-bank transfers. The combination of private jets, suitcases full of cash and diplomatic immunity has opened up new possibilities.
And as if diamonds, guns, drugs and tainted money weren’t enough, human traffickers have made their way to Venezuela as well. The country has become a haven for human traffickers because its laws offer so little protection to their victims, especially women.
Ah, that’s socialism for you–bringing back the slave trade. Of course, that won’t stop Hollywood celebrities from treating Chavez as a hero.