This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge
“So, what can we do?”
For connoisseurs of American gangster flicks, the connotations of that phrase are clear: A bribe is on offer. The authority figure in question only needs to name their fee.
The same is true in Venezuela. But in Latin America’s socialist paradise, bribes are solicited in a manner that is much more brazen.
In a country where government services have degraded to such a profound degree, that the country’s remaining civil servants work almost exclusively for bribes. The practice of bribing public officials has become so widespread, in fact, that a “menu” of going rates for everything from a Chilean visa to the stamps that validate diplomas.
Though these bribes are typically solicited far from public view – they are illegal, after all – in the latest installment of its “Life in Caracas” series, Bloomberg published a list with the most current going rates for different services that has been circulating on Whatsapp.
Since the Venezuelan bolivar is effectively worthless thanks to the country’s unceasing currency crisis, most corrupt officials and police will only accept payment in dollars (exchange rates on the black market in Caracas were recently as high as 9,000,000 bolivars per dollar).
Some of the going rates for the list above include: $4,500 for a passport, $400 for a Chilean visa, $7,000 to erase a criminal record. Typically, bribes are paid through an intermediary known as a “gestor” – a ‘fixer’-type character.
Corruption was endemic in Venezuela even before the economic collapse began in 2013. But that the list above even exists shows just how absurdly common bribery has become. Venezuelan police even have their own code for soliciting bribes: “algo pa’l fresco?” – ‘spare something for a soda?’
Cops at checkpoints still ask for “algo pa’l fresco” (that you spare something for a soda) to pass through without hassle, but many are no longer interested in measly bolivars; they demand U.S. dollars. Increasingly, bribing is a dollars-only business. Those civil servants were plunged into poverty by the economic collapse and have little interest in a local currency that has been destroyed by hyperinflation. And Venezuelans, especially those desperate to get their papers in order and flee the country, oblige.
Still, most Venezuelans can’t afford to pay bribes in dollars, particularly when the minimum wage in Venezuela amounts to a few dollars a month. And even foreigners aren’t impervious: After one Bloomberg reporter lost their state ID, they soon discovered that every state office they visited was suffering from an array of tech difficulties. Either they were out of materials, the computer was broken, or the office was mobbed by a ridiculously lengthy line.
Frustrated by the endless stream of excuses, the reporter eventually gave $150 to a fixer, who promptly took care of problem.
As if it’s any different here. Asset forfeiture by the costumed King’s Agents. Payoffs by the connected to keep the powerful from accounting for their crimes.
Representative Ben Stasse has sent a letter to the DOJ Inspector General to investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s sweetheart deal to keep all perps and victims from appearing in court in exchange for a work release local jail sentence. Hopefully some of the scum will be forced to the surface by this but it’s doubtful. The rot goes clean up to the current Labor Secretary who approved the sweetheart deal as Miami Prosecutor. Promises? Could be. It’s all corrupt from the President down to the local school board and dog catcher.
We all know the powerful scum involved here. Hoping for their prosecution is all I can do.
If you think any government is there for your benefit, you are mistaken. There are very few who care about anything but making a name for themselves and a pile of cash. R or D same thing.
What’s to be done? I’ve heard “it’s” coming here.
(Goes out to front porch. Looks up the street… nuthin’. Looks down the street… crickets.) No, it’s not coming here.(Mumbles and goes back in house).
YOU IDIOTIC BOOMERS,
SOCIOPATHS ARE NOT FUNCTIONAL AND DO NOT MIX WELL WITH ANYONE
YOU WATCH TOO MANY MOVIES YOU RETIRED FUCKTARDS
GO VOLUNTEER TO DRIVE A SHORT BUS
If you get along so well with others why are you hanging out in here with boomers?
Half of us boomers are lib idiots the other half are patriots. Your generation is probably 75% lib idiots. Wonder which will inflict the most damage. Idiot.
How would you define a patriot?
Eisen, you commented on the wrong article.
Venezuelans are weak
The officials should have to bribe them to breath
Expats, entrepreneurs, and missionaries just assume this is the way the country works, and they come mentally-prepared.
It is no more-or-less arbitrary than any other legal fee.