The 20th century proved time and again that Communist revolutions devour their own. Russia, China, Cuba, are examples where the consolidation of power around a few impoverished whole countries and killed millions.
Venezuelans who supported Chavismo are finding out. They are trying to leave with their gains, and are willing to sell what they know, in exchange for money and safety.
Meet their agent, Martín Rodil:
Why Witnesses to Venezuela’s Catastrophic Corruption Keep Turning Up in the U.S. If you have the goods on the Maduro government, Martín Rodil might be able to get you a deal.
The engineer and his documents were central to a case the investigators had been pursuing for five years: the funneling of hundreds of millions of dollars from PDVSA (“peh-deh-VEH-sah”) through U.S. and Swiss banks to Iran, skirting U.S. sanctions on the country. Investigators suspected that PDVSA had laundered the funds via vastly inflated housing construction contracts with Iranian companies. The documents appeared to detail the housing deals and payments to Swiss bank accounts through JPMorgan Chase—a potential violation of U.S. law. The investigation is ongoing; PDVSA hasn’t been charged with illegal activity involving Iran.
An affable man who spoke little English, the engineer knew that if the case succeeded, he could be in line for political asylum in the U.S., along with a possible whistle-blower reward. He also saw what the Iranians were up to and didn’t like it. So though the questioning took two days, he was patient.
Rodil is providing a valuable service,
The case of the PDVSA engineer is an example of Rodil’s original and most basic service: He delivers Venezuelans of value and is paid—modestly, he says—by government entities. He also has a better-paying business in which his clients are rich Venezuelans who are desperate to get out. He helps them do that and, where appropriate, works with them to develop strategies for cooperating with U.S. authorities. For these services, he commands an hourly rate or is kept on retainer. The most lucrative of his businesses is a consulting practice for companies and individuals seeking intelligence and risk assessment in Latin America.
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As Venezuela continues to disintegrate, Rodil’s clientele will likely provide valuable information on the regime’s ties to not only Iran, but also to the global drug trade.