13 March 2013

On the Eve of CPAC, ACU Chair Al Cardenas Participates in the Persecution of Venezuela's Key Civil Society Leaders

Al Cardenas and his protegé Marco Rubio.
London - The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the most important event of the American political right, begins tomorrow. The event is sponsored and organized by the American Conservative Union, which is led by Florida GOP leader Al Cardenas.  Sadly, the ACU chairman (pictured with his pupil Marco Rubio) is the principal partner of the Tew Cardenas law firm, counsel for one of the most corrupt group of businessmen in Venezuela: Derwick Associates. But what makes Cardenas's association with Derwick Associates' owners Pedro Trebbau-Lopez and Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt-Lopez go beyond boundless greed is its participation in a major lawsuit against two of the most important opposition figures in Venezuela.

Tew Cardenas's targets are the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Venezuela's premier free-market think-tank, CEDICE-Libertad. These two men have spent the better part of the last 14 years fighting against the Chavez government's slide into autocracy. One of them is a banker, Oscar Garcia Mendoza. The other is a businessman, Rafael Alfonzo.

Al Cardenas (right) with criminal Ricardo
Fernandez Barrueco (left). 
In February I sent this information to a number of American news outlets. PJ Media and The Daily Caller replied, both interested in running the story. Unfortunately, after agreeing to publish the article with details about Cardenas's hypocrisy, they both backtracked. I understand they don't want to get dragged into legal disputes, but am saddened nonetheless by this. Hopefully those attending CPAC will have a moment to ask Al Cardenas why his firm is representing perhaps the most corrupt group of boligarchs to have come out of Chavez's Venezuela.  When I began looking into this story I learned a problematic new factoid: Cardenas has done this before, when he represented Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco (both pictured above), another Chavez crony who, in less than a decade, went from parking cars to having a fortune of $1.6 billion.

Cardenas is, of course, entitled to make a living representing whatever criminals and crooks, but is it really kosher for the conservative movement to ennoble him as their anointed leader, when his firm is persecuting Venezuela's battered opposition?

Recently former Bush appointee Otto Reich coauthored (with Ezequiel Vazquez-Ger) a brilliant article in Cardenas's back yard, Miami, about Derwick Associates and their corruption. However, given Derwick's  penchant for threatening to sue anyone who writes about them, Reich intelligently didn't mention Cardenas or Derwick by name, instead he wrote:
"In Chávez’s Venezuela, however, a politically favored group (some with no previous experience in complex sectors such as energy and finance) were able to accumulate, sometimes in four years, fortunes that allow them to purchase luxury mansions in the U.S., extravagant estates in Europe, the costliest private jets and automobiles, exceptional racehorses and more."
Reich and Vazquez have bravely denounced corruption on the right side of the aisle. The key question now is: will those at CPAC ask for their house to be put in order on this issue? While the Venezuelan opposition is increasingly the target of more attacks, the Derwick thugs celebrate weddings in the U.S. and line the pockets of so called beacons of the conservative movement.


Anonymous said...

Makes sense!

Dirty USA and money sources!

Boli-Nica said...

CPAC is not only Republican it represents the most right-wing side of the party. They did not issue an invitation to popular Governor Christie of New Jersey because he worked with President Obama on Hurricane Sandy. But their leader has no problem accepting money from crony capitalist friends of Socialist Hugo Chavez.

Boli-Nica said...

all sorts of hijinks ensued this week