The Corner

World

Giuliani’s Ties to Venezuelan Oligarchs Could Hurt Trump in 2020

Rudy Giuliani speaks in Manza, Albania, July 13, 2019. (Florion Goga/Reuters)

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Rudy Giuliani represented Venezuela energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López in a Florida money-laundering case.

Betancourt runs Derwick Associates, which attained close to $2 billion in contracts to build power plants for the government of Hugo Chavez. The Florida complaint alleges that Derwick executives bribed government officials into embezzling $1.2 billion from PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company. With the help of international bankers, they allegedly laundered that money into Miami real estate and other investments in the U.S. Although Betancourt was not charged in the case, he is named as an uncharged co-conspirator, according to the Miami Herald, and freelance journalist Alek Boyd has reported that there are sealed indictments against Betancourt.

The Latin American constituency in Florida — especially the Cuban and Venezuelan diaspora — will play a key role in Trump’s 2020 election. The memory of socialism sways a significant portion of Latino voters to the Republican party. In 2016, 54 percent of Florida’s nearly one million eligible Cuban-American voters cast ballots for Trump. The president’s ostensibly tough approach to Venezuela, where he has threatened to intervene militarily, has bolstered his support in this segment, as have sanctions imposed on Venezuelan officials this year. As a Republican operative told the New Yorker, “If you solve the Venezuela problem, you get three for the price of one. You’ll make the Colombians, Nicaraguans, and Cubans in Florida very happy.”

Giuliani’s defense of Venezuelan thuggery will outrage Latino voters. Venezuelan dissidents and writers have already denounced the president’s lawyer on Twitter. If Trump continues to retain Giuliani’s services, he will be seen as condoning corruption of the worst order. In that most crucial of swing states, this could be an underrated election story.

Most Popular

White House

The Democrats’ Burisma Bait and Switch

Imagine you get indicted in a swindle. The prosecutors represent that they can prove you and your alleged co-conspirators planned to fleece a major financial institution. You counter that you weren’t fleecing anyone. Sure, you were asking for millions in loans, but the collateral you were prepared to post was ... Read More
White House

The Democrats’ Burisma Bait and Switch

Imagine you get indicted in a swindle. The prosecutors represent that they can prove you and your alleged co-conspirators planned to fleece a major financial institution. You counter that you weren’t fleecing anyone. Sure, you were asking for millions in loans, but the collateral you were prepared to post was ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff’s Case

Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don’t withstand scrutiny. The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their ... Read More
Politics & Policy

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff’s Case

Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don’t withstand scrutiny. The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their ... Read More

When There Is No Normal

One of the ancient and modern critiques of democracy is that radicals destroy norms for short-term political gain, norms that they themselves often later seek as refuge. Schadenfreude, irony, paradox, and karma are various descriptions of what happens to revolutionaries, and unfortunately the innocent, who ... Read More

When There Is No Normal

One of the ancient and modern critiques of democracy is that radicals destroy norms for short-term political gain, norms that they themselves often later seek as refuge. Schadenfreude, irony, paradox, and karma are various descriptions of what happens to revolutionaries, and unfortunately the innocent, who ... Read More