Brazil’s Estadão published an article today in which it claims to have evidence that Maduro diverted $4 billion in state funds to the Odebrecht construction giant just days after his election in 2013. The newspaper claims that Maduro demanded in writing that the payment be made “very urgently” after his election, to avoid scrutiny from the Venezuelan legislature.

According to the newspaper, the $4 billion went to Odebrecht for a host of construction projects that the company was supposed to undertake in Venezuela, as part of an agreement between Maduro and Odebrecht. The agreement allegedly saw Odebrecht pay Maduro’s 2013 presidential campaign $35 million, under the understanding that Maduro would funnel contracts and funds to Odebrecht projects in Venezuela in return, were he to be elected.

The newspaper claims that these latest revelations from documents related to the case which it claims to have in its possession, including documents that bear Maduro’s handwriting.

The Estadão revelations add detail to the ongoing saga of Operation Carwash, which is likely the largest detected case of corruption in history. The Odebrecht wing of the scandal involves the company paying billions of dollars in bribes to politicians all around the world in exchange for lucrative construction contracts.

In May of last year, a key witness in the Odebrecht corruption case testified in a Brazilian courtroom that Maduro was in charge of personally collecting bribe money from Odebrecht while he was Minister of Foreign Affairs under Hugo Chavez in 2012. The witness, a woman named Monica Moura, testified that Maduro once paid her $11 million in cash as part of a corruption scheme that involved the transfer of money into Hugo Chavez’s presidential campaign that year.

Country Bids Farewell to Musical Legend

Venezuela bid farewell today to orchestra conductor Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of the Sistema de Orquestas Infantiles y Juveniles de Venezuela [Venezuelan Child and Youth Orchestra System], who died yesterday at the age of 78.

Abreu’s brainchild–El Sistema–gave children all around the country the opportunity to discover and foster musical talent. Founded in 1975, El Sistema helped bring immeasurable talent into the world through the musical careers of its alumni, which include world-renowned conduct Gustavo Dudamel.

Since its inception, El Sistema has taught music to approximately 900,000 children. Pedro Carrero, a trombonist with the Simon Bolivar Symphonic Orchestra, put the impact that Abreu had on him succinctly:

I owe him my life.

Earlier this afternoon, a wake was held for Abreu in Caracas. Below, some images from the wake:

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com


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