Cuba aids Venezuela's corruption fight
Posted on Fri, Dec. 22, 2006
CARACAS – Cuba will advise Venezuela in its battle against state
corruption — an issue both countries have declared as a principal
threat to their socialist systems of government.
Vice President José Vicente Rangel welcomed the arrival this week of a
Cuban delegation, which will advise the Venezuelan government on putting
together an anti-corruption commission, the government's office on
internal audits said in a statement.
President Hugo Chávez, recently reelected, has vowed to stamp out
corruption in his oil-rich country, citing it as one of the biggest
challenges facing his administration.
His close friend and mentor, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was also leading
his own campaign against corruption before falling ill in July,
portraying the widespread stealing from the state and other examples of
''moral decay'' as the greatest threat yet to Cuba's socialist system.
''We've brought the experience on both the positive and negative points
. . . of our model to share with our Venezuelan colleagues,'' Jose
Carlos del Toro, a Cuban Finance Ministry official, was quoted as saying
in the statement.
The statement said Venezuela is seeking better oversight of public
administration, budgets, bids and purchases in government offices.
Chávez was swept to power in 1998 on a wave of discontent with
Venezuela's corrupt, political elite and has promised his socialist
revolution is creating a more equitable country.
But in recent months, he has faced denunciations, even from within his
own camp, about the official misuse of funds, including allegations of
irregularities in his home state of Barinas, where his father is the
Vice Minister of Light Industries and Commerce Eliécer Otaiza alleged in
Congress earlier this year that there was “a small group of people that
have become millionaires in this revolutionary process.''
A Berlin-based watchdog group, Transparency International, in its 2006
Corruption Perceptions Index of 163 countries, ranked Cuba 66th.
Venezuela was ranked 138th.