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One of Chavez's spies in Miami pleads guilty

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By See-Dubya  •  April 24, 2008 04:39 PM

The “Maletagate” story hasn’t gotten a lot of (English language) press, but it’s a fascinating look at how Chavez’s tentacles have wrapped all around Latin America. It’s called Maletagate because it involved a suitcase (“maleta”) containing $800,000 from Venezuela allegedly destined for the campaign of Argentina’s leftist President, Cristina Fernandez.

This guy who pled today, Wannseele, is small fry–he’s the driver. The big fish goes on trial in a few months:

The alleged leader of the group, wealthy Venezuelan citizen Franklin Duran, still intends to fight the charges at a trial now scheduled for Sept. 2, his attorney Ed Shohat said. Duran, 40, and fellow defendant Carlos Kauffmann, 36, are shareholders in the Venezuelan petrochemical company Venoco and have done business with Venezuela’s state oil company, which bankrolls the Chavez government.

Kauffman and Moises Maionica, 36, have also pleaded guilty to acting as illegal foreign agents and await sentencing. They also are cooperating with U.S. investigators.

The fifth person charged in the case, suspected Venezuelan intelligence agent Antonio Jose Canchica, remains at large.

More background here. It’s pretty sobering to realize that Chavez is conducting operations like this on U.S. soil. Shame we don’t hear more about it.

P.S. Did I mention that I don’t by any gas from Citgo?

MORE: This neoliberal blogger writes in Spanish, but he’s got the indictment of these guys printed out in English if you’re interested.

{Post by See-Dubya.}

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