FJA Shortlist 2021

Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting

Chavismo Inc. The Gears of Bolivarian Capitalism Around The World

María Sol Lauría Paz (Argentina/ Panama), Iván Ruíz (Argentina), Luis Fernando Cantoral (Bolivia), David Bernal (El Salvador), José Bautista García (Spain), Alberto Alonso (Spain), Jessica Carrillo (United States), Octavio Enríquez (Nicaragua), Suhelis Tejero (Dominican Republic), María Fernanda Sojo (Venezuela), Santiago Sánchez (Uruguay), Mildred Rojas

September 22, 2020

ARI (Runrunes, El Pitazo and Tal Cual), CONNECTAS and Transparencia Venezuela

The original publication is available via the following link:


Chavismo INC is a transnational investigation that tracked the million-dollar flows of oil income money that was transferred out of Venezuela under the Chávez and Maduro administrations in the last 20 years, mostly for money laundering and corruption-related operations. Published in a multimedia special, it contains a large database and ten reports from ten Central and Latin American countries, which reveals the international projection of the Venezuelan case.

The Gears of Bolivarian Capitalism Around the World

From an apartment in a luxury skyscraper in Manhattan (USA), on the “millionaire avenue”, to fantasy houses in paradisiac Marbella, Spain. From investments in exclusive touristic projects in the Caribbean, such as Punta Cana and Dominican Republic to entrepreneurships with dreamy budgets at El Salvador. From complex business tissues, knitted in Panama and connected to large bank accounts around the world to companies in Argentina or Uruguay, which jumped from doing more than discrete businesses and having almost no money in their arks to be simply multimillionaires. From the failed construction of a gigantic oil refinery in Nicaragua to the calculated acquisition of an agro-industrial giant in Bolivia.

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A Defalcation with Global Branches

Prosecutors and parliaments of 21 countries have initiated or concluded 86 investigations about corruption cases linked to Hugo Chávez and Nicola´s Maduro governments. Chavismo INC. examinated each one of those cases and found a plot of bribery, privileged contracts and money laundering that allowed millionaire flows of money from Venezuela to spread around the world

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Companies, Mansions and Contracts to Mingle with the Elite

In Spain landed Businessman and former officials that accumulated fortunes on the heat of power and counted on fiscal advisors who helped them to establish. On the disembark portrait, Chavismo INC. identified 20 companies mentioned on official investigations and nine judicial cases ongoing at the European country

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The New Rich in the Neighborhood

Venezuelans occupy the first places in the ranking of real estate investment in Florida. Eleven former officials from Pdvsa, contractors of high profile from Chavismo, characters indicted by the USA justice and even a relative of President Maduro included on the Clinton list, made purchases for more than USD $60 million in properties

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Bolivar’s Dream Was a Refinery

During Daniel Ortega's first months in power, his benefactor Hugo Chávez promised to accomplish in Nicaragua the biggest oil project in the region investing 4,000 million dollars. Two contractors, who participated in that work, which turned up later a bit more of the ten percent of the original offer, were pointed at paying bribery for other contracts in Venezuela

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Panama, a Hub for Chavismo

In 2019, Venezuelans injected USD $2.811 million in companies at the Isthmus while the number of residents and refugees kept increasing. While most choose it as a getaway to escape hunger, others, are seduced by the financial platform, the real estate projects and specialized services to move money easily. ¿How this country ended up becoming one of the favorite havens of Chavistas?

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A Venezuelan in the Route of Alba Millionaire Loans

José Wilfredo Molina Castrillón was directive of Salvadorian airline VECA, which received funds for over USD $90 million from the oil cooperation with Venezuela. In the same period, he was contractor of Oils of Venezuela (PDVSA) in his country. The airline operations, declared in bankruptcy after only two years of existence, are still not investigated as the other companies that received resources from Alba Petróleos of El Salvador

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The Best Kept Diamond of Chavismo

A deputy from Evo Morales party took control of a prosperous agro – export soy business in 2009, thanks to an unusual transaction with a millionaire contribution from Venezuelan public funds. With his management, he helped maintain under the shadows the hand of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro’s government over the valuable company. Distant from Parliament, today there is a judicial process for alleged money laundering linked to the case

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The Contractor’s Clan Who Hide Their Fortune in the Caribbean

Businessmen close to chavismo, some escaping from justice, landed in the Dominican Republic and dedicated to a millionaire business in one of the great poles of Caribbean tourism, Punta Cana. One of them is the visible face of a USD $100 million project

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Chavista Solidarity Had a Price

Judicial denounces, truncated businesses, unpaid debts and a bank with operative problems were some of the consequences from relations with Uruguay and Venezuela. Several Uruguayan businessmen searched for their opportunity with businesses offered by chavismo, inside and outside the country, but not all had a happy ending

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Over Costs, Money Laundering and Fraud with No Justice

The relationship between chavismo and kirchnerismo materialized with a trust fund that, in 12 years, handled over USD $2.000 million with little transparency, and other bi-national agreements to commercialize products with over costs. The Buenos Aires connection stacked up documents in Justice, where there are 15 cases stuck due to lack of cooperation from Caracas

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