Pretty please, Mr. Elm, just this once can I have a pear?!

Count me exasperated with the way the Aponte^2 scandal is shaking out. Basically, what we have here is a self-confessed criminal making a bunch of airy, generic allegations, all of them unsubstantiated, all of them unhinged from any specific evidence.

I do grasp that, by any estimation, the man is a raging idiot, so it was probably too much to hope he would ground any of his allegations in verifiable evidence.

Pear distribution was never a part of this particular Elm Tree’s business model. And even if he’d had a pear tucked away somewhere, the lamentable SoiTV team that got to him first certainly had no idea how to get at them.

Still, you’d think in 13 years Aponte-Squared could’ve squirrelled away at least one piece of corroborating evidence for the mountain of trash he set out to talk about his old pals. An email, say…or a taped conversation or phone message. A thank you note. A payment slip, or tracking number for a wire transfer to a foreign account. Something, anything, that could be matched up to reality so we could quickly and unambiguously establish that, on this one thing at least, this confessed crook was telling the truth.

No such luck.

So, instead, now when chavismo responds that Aponte-Bis is just making it all up as part of a gringo conspiracy to undermine the revolution, it’s a he-said-she-said situation. If you’re opposition-leaning, you believe the revelations, if you’re government-leaning, you don’t. Given the total absence of corroborating evidence, there’s nothing to break the tie.

The question, now, is who’s going to go out and do the leg-work to run down Aponte-TwoTimes’s leads? Who’s going to track down the guy who traded testimony against Mazuco for a get out of jail free card? Who’s going to document the supposed Friday meetings at the vice presidency?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

66 thoughts on “Pretty please, Mr. Elm, just this once can I have a pear?!

  1. Actually, as I read that transcript again, what strikes me is that this should never have been a broadcast interview at all: what Verioska Velasco did was really a kind of preliminary information interview, the kind of thing you’re meant to do before a Broadcast Interview precisely to sound out the source, see which avenues of questioning might lead to interesting revelations, see which avenues would take you no where, and prepare.

    Instead, she winged it, and it shoes. Take her questioning on the Maletinazo. She clearly doesn’t know what he’s going to answer when she asks him about his connection with Franklin Duran, and so when Aponte Aponte just flat denies that he ever got any money from Duran she doesn’t have a coherent follow-up ready. That’s fine during a preparatory stage, with camera’s off, when you’re trying to figure out what to ask the guy for broadcast. But given that that line of questioning goes nowhere and does nothing, I can’t understand why they don’t have the sense to leave it on the editing room floor! They just left it in the final package…for no discernible reason.

    Deep sigh.

    • The thing is that the country have become very cynical toward this, no one expects this not to happen. Judicial Tribes in the Criminal System in Venezuela have existed in Venezuela a long time ago. Es aquello de que no importa que roben mientras compartan un poco.
      Pretty much a shocking story right now would be that one high rank public official in Venezuela actually only lives with his salary and drives an Aveo,

    • It doesn’t matter what evidence they could have gotten from AA, the government would simply continue to deny it. If it is a written note they would say it’s fake, if it is a video or a voice recording they would claim it was made by the laboratories of the CIA with the help of ILM. For fuck’s sake, this guy was a judge at the Supreme Court, not the janitor of the building. Shouldn’t his word have some value? I don’t think the interview was bad. In any civilized country it would have been enough evidence to at least trigger an investigation by the competent authorities, but not in Venezuela. To start with, ‘competent authorities’ like the attorney general or the national assembly are puppets of the president. In hindsight it’s easy to say that it was a poor interview. Given the circumstances, I think it was a pretty damn good one.

      • Virtox is right “To start with, ‘competent authorities’ like the attorney general or the national assembly are puppets of the president” but, we already knew that too-
        they are zombies -I call them that because their heart and soul has been ripped out and they are nothing but parrots for Chavez and chavismo..
        What get’s me is -that more Venezuelans do not wake up and see these guys are all a
        one-trick pony=they only know how to sing and dance to Chavez.
        Anyone can see the VP, Aissami, Maduro, -all are mindless automatons.

  2. Chavez sure knows how to pick’em!! Just like Charlie Harper with women!!

    Agree 100% with you Quico.

    Sadly, I am willing to bet that the retarded justice has no proof of anything.

  3. “Still, you’d think in 13 years, Aponte-Squared could’ve squirrelled away at least one piece of corroborating evidence for the mountain of trash he set out to talk about his old pals.”

    This guy is a chavista, not a mafia accountant. He got where he got because he was an useful idiot who thought loyalty to the hand that feeds you is the most important quality a person could possibly possess, not because he had any capacity for critical thinking or any form of thinking for that matter.

    His only usefulness (for the opposition) is to point at him and say “see, this is what a chavista looks like. And the government is full of them. Now, do you want people like him to continue in the government or do you want someone who is at least above sloths in the scale of evolution?”

    • “This is what a chavista looks like”? That’s what the opposition should say? Sorry, but have you learned nothing? By now we should be able to differentiate between the chavismo de base and the chavista elite, which governs. If the opposition starts generalizing that all those who follow Chavez are narcos, or incompetent ignorant idiots as this guy is, we will get nowhere.

      Also, we venezuelans love to think that the country is about to blow up. I was thinking that after the cadena on Friday and after the Apontex2 interview. But it isn’t. Because, as Quico says, there are no real proofs. Moreover, it doesn’t affect their electoral chances more than Chavez being sick already does.

      The Apontex2 case will do nothing to convince those we haven’t convinced yet. The government hasn’t even tried to deny the charges, they simply call Apontex2 a coward for running away. Implicitly, they say: “you coward, you sold yourself, you tattletale”, instead of saying “we are clean, we have nothing to do with this”

      At the risk of appearing to cynical – Think about it. In Colombia, people have been voting for narcos for decades now. They know they are narcos, still vote for them (municipal elections, national assembly, etc.) . It’s about who seems to be able to give you a better future, not about who is a narco (or associated with drug dealing, etc.) or who isn’t. That’s why this scandal is not going to affect the election, as outrageous as it is.

    • Ok, these are the guys that have been running things. They are bad even at being kleptocrats and crooks.

  4. I have been thinking that Francisco should go interview him, in depth. Someone should take him through his days on the court, one by one, and show him the business of the court on that day; where was he? Who came to see him? The kinds of corroboration which he has may be minimal, or not. People have diaries, or at least calendar books which schedule them for any given week. Does his show Friday mornings with The Prosecutors?

    There is a lot more to be gotten out of this guy.

    • Yes, by all means. Quico should set up an appointment with the DEA. They’ll be sure to give him carte blanche to interview AA, in depth. After all, they need information, since they have nothing, nada.

        • Eladio Aponte Aponte entrevista exclusiva @ SOiTV.

          “Luego de la entrevista se conoció que el juez Eladio Aponte Aponte fue visto en compañía de agentes de la DEA.”

          D’ya think the DEA isn’t vetting the interviewer who has access to their “rehén”?

  5. I think he’s keeping his evidence for the DEA. No way would this guy have gotten the treatment he got from the US authorities if he didn’t have hard proof. It’s still early, and it may come out sooner rather than later.

    • I bet all these guys spy on each other. They’ll have hard drives and recording devices comming out the wazoo. And while all of them are spying on each other, the Cubans are spying on them, and the gringos are spying on the Cubans, and the Chinese are spying on the gringos, etc etc..

      My guess is that they would want to use Aponte principally to go after a bigger fish (or fishes) than him.

      • Quico, you is way too impatient. Any bona fide evidence Apontex2 brought with him as his boleto to board a US bound flight (I agree that he must have something that piqued the interest of the DEA) will be carefully sifted through and vetted before we get to find out what it is. As the old SherwinWilliams cuna said “paciencia amigo pintor…”

      • Indeed, Sir Canucklehead. Our Caribbean history can be basically epitomized
        by the words of one of our bards:

        “Songo le dio a Borondongo, Borondongo le dio a Bernabé, Bernabé le pegó a Muchilanga, le echó burrundanga, le hincha los pies.”

    • That may or may not be right – it couldn‘t have hurt the journo to ask for it, though…

      • Yeah, I know. You would have done such a stellar job. *This woman* just doesn’t know what she’s doing. “Awful, awful journalism … zero insight on the part of the interviewer… people who constitute a stain on the profession… hack job .. appalling.”

        Where’s CBS and their 84 years in business when you need them? Where’s aren’t-I-clever Mike Wallace? After all, Aponte Aponte deserves that much. Why do we get SoiTV, in business for 5 months. And *this woman*. It’s a disgrace.

        • Syd, this is like the 8th time you mention Mike Wallace, who died last week. Pick someone else, por decencia por lo menos.

          Mr. Wallace can interview Chavez sometime in the next few months

          • Roberto, that you’re irony challenged is ok. That you’re exaggerating is not. Unless you can show otherwise, this is the first time I mention (the late) Mike Wallace, following Toro’s Where have you gone, Mike Wallace? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you… and Maria’s comment that MW was six feet under.

            Second, I was trying to show how silly was Toro’s on-and-on chilladera, yesterday, over a rushed production, in the field, where an escapee in a still fragile mental health condition was interviewed, far from the head office of a 5-month old TV station.

            As for your calls for decencia, you are right. Now apply the same to your suggestion that MW can interview Chávez in the next few months.

            • Syd, at some point in the comment section it would be productive if you would limit your attacks on Quico and focus on more productive ideas and suggestions. You are getting very tiring!
              I think Quico has made some very good points, especially about how easy it is and will be for Chavismo to discredit Aponte, accuse the evil empire of manipulating him and fabricating evidence, and sweep this sordid aware under the carpet in no time.
              I for one think that Quico would do an incredible job of interviewing Aponte and, if not him, I would love to see a credible journalist from a credible news outlet follow up the job that this one started.
              How could we help make that happen?
              Let’s start by limiting the attacks on each other!

            • Good idea, BAB, as was your earlier spot-on comment.
              You’re right. The quality of journalism (and cheesiness of the production) is irrelevant to the historical nature of this interview. VV’s softy-softy approach on a fragile mind was appropriate. And please forgive but, le sacó bastante moco a este ergúmeno. That was enough for me, and for thinking minds that know there were limits to what VV could ask AA.

              Now, if we can have Quico stop beating dead horses, those tantrums, yesterday, needing a countervoice, we can all move on. Or, as a productive alternative, he could write a post with all the questions he would have asked AA, instead.

      • Quico, sometimes I wonder about you.

        Let’s see:

        “Hi, I’m a reporter! Can I please see the evidence you have to give to the DEA that got you here on their plane, and that could possibly send quite a few people to jail in the right circumstances?”

        Could it hurt to ask? I guess not

        Does any reporter expect to see the evidence? Not in a million years!! (Ok, in a few months maybe)

        Chamo, o sea…..

        He did not get a plane ride based on he said she said. He either has written/taped/electronic evidence or can corroborate verbally with a high degree of certainty and accuracy evidence already in possession.

        Watching the interview I got the feeling that boundaries were set, too much hemming and hawing. Plus he looked like he was champing at the bit to speak.

        • I have no idea if A^2 had a deal with the DEA, or what that deal was. I do know what a reporter’s duty is, and that’s to push, again and again, for corroboration. Maybe A^2 can’t show his evidence, but you can at least inquire as to the existence of, and the nature of the evidence he wants to bring to the DEA. You can prod, try to establish as much meta information about the evidence as you can. Or you can ask for corroboration that may already be in the public sphere, that A^2 may have no need to hold in reserve.

          At any rate, you can ask the question. Hell, if you take your job seriously as an investigative journo, you have to ask the question!

          What gets me is that it isn’t as though the journo tried and fail to get corroborating evidence. It’s as though it never even occurred to her that corroborating the charges was in any way part of her job!

          It’s as though Verioska Velasco took it for granted that this was an interview for the peanut gallery, entirely for the benefit of people already primed to believe the charges. That’s ok, as far as propaganda goes, but it shouldn’t be misrepresented as journalism.

          It’s just another symptom of the deep dysfunction of our public sphere…the disinterest in things like evidence is pervasive, on both sides. Ms. Velasco doesn’t ask for it, and almost nobody on either side picks her up on it. Sad, sad, sad…

          • the questions, please, Quico. Produce the questions, rather than criticize ad nauseum the style and content of the interviewer. (Geeez)

          • Quico:

            Yes, a good reporter pushes the envelope even while getting a cup of coffee, agreed.

            However, you must admit that in this case it had to have been that this was a piece of theater with a script, a stage manager, a theatrical agent and even a prima donna that has a brown M&M’s only clause in her contract.

            So to criticize someone for not following the script, much as not just you but any non-chavista would have loved an ad lib, is wishing upon a star in an empty sky.

            God knows I would have loved for the whole enchilada to have come out like a bomb right out of shock and awe, however it may prove a good thing for the whole wad not to have been blown in one shot.

            (I realize I just may have set a record for metaphor mixing but it’s Saturday, so apologies for that too and pass the peanuts).

        • agree. He did not get a plane ride based on he said she said. He either has written/taped/electronic evidence or can corroborate verbally with a high degree of certainty and accuracy evidence already in possession.

          also, he already knew — did he say, a year earlier? — that the regime’s favoritism towards him was on the wane. As an (ex-) military man in a den of thieves, and as a trained lawyer, he would know, I presume, the need for and the importance of building his defense dossier, and spiriting it to a safe place, a lot earlier than what we think.

    • And even without evidence, he clearly has contacts that helped him out, so he may still be able to get evidence via those contacts.

    • Agreed. He won’t give away everything at once.

      Still, there’s always the chance that he’s only bluffing.

      • Within the framework of “Yo creo que mi actuación fue muy pulcra y muy adaptada a los parámetros exigidos, aparte del curriculum que tengo”, and the not wanting to give all his marbles away, I don’t think AA was bluffing during the interview. I don’t think someone who’s been in the military, who’s lived in Valancia, and who’s been at the top of the judicial dung heap could possibly be bluffing, as though he knows more than he does. I think he knows A LOT. And even if it turns out that he was only bluffing, the DEA would certainly squeeze him.

          • Don’t you just love the damage control/retaliation tactic of the government, which puts out a red alert for Interpol? I can just see it.

            Interpol: Alô, DEA?
            DEA: Yeah. Whaddya want?
            Interpol: We issue a warrant for ze arrest of Monsieur Aponté Aponté.
            DEA: Do you want fries with that? Go fly a kite.

            • Yeah and the fact they call Aponte Aponte a fugitive even when there was no order of detention or travelling ban of any kind, even in this very moment.

            • You the best! I just can’t stop laughing. I will wake up tomorrow and I will be doing so laughing. Reality in a few lines. Priceless!

  6. Juan,

    I think you are giving the DEA too much credit. For some time now I’ve been real disappointed about the performance of US government agencies

  7. Which agencies? The one that spends taxpayer dollars to party in Las Vegas, the one that seems more interested in prostitutes than in protection, or the one that alerted the Colombian Government to the presence of Makled, leading to his capture? Some agencies do better than others, wouldn’t you agree?

  8. I for one am keeping my eyes open, and ears open. Hopefully, Aponte has more to give
    and others can come forth with pieces…I disagree with the statement “we have nada”
    Even this bloke’s word adds to what many of us suspected already. What looked like
    nonsense has a pattern and has been replicated over and over- this is just waiting to
    be fleshed out more…

    • I give you an example- There are people in jail inVenezuela that should be free
      and there are people who are free that should be in jail- and it is because of
      political influence- Chavez himself often is the source.

  9. “Given the total absence of corroborating evidence, there’s nothing to break the tie.” Nothing, that is, except for this silly principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

    • Of course, that principle has to do with criminal court proceedings, and not public affairs. Lower standards of proof are acted upon for other purposes, such as civil proceedings.
      If a US Supreme Court Justice were to defect to England, claiming that the entire US system of justice was a farce and that he had been regularly threatened by the government, wouldn’t people be entitled to weigh his words and reach at least tentative conclusions?

    • Lovely bit of sophistry. I think Aponte^2’s confession that he serially tampered with justice more or less proves his guilt, though.

      It’s not *his* guilt that’s in doubt, though, it’s his assertion of rampant political manipulation at all stages of the criminal justice system. As a principal in the manipulation he describes, his testimony certainly qualifies as evidence. What’s needed now is additional evidence to corroborate the charges he makes. He doesn’t offer any, and SoiTV doesn’t press him for it either.

      It’s too bad, really.

      • He says that other judges were threatened. I believe some of them are no longer in Venezuela. Can they corroborate any part of the allegations?

        Someone should interview them systematically about the points Aponte raises.

        Meanwhile, being a Supreme Court judge is a good start towards being a credible witness. Surely if the Friday meetings had never occurred, the alleged participants can show they were elsewhere.

        • Judge Afiuni is in house arrest because she applied the law, but went against the orders of Chavez. There is strong circumstantial evidence: Chavez himself ordered the arrest (on national TV) and said that she should be convicted to 30y in prison after which authorities proceeded with her arrest. No need for phone tapping or sophisticated journalistic research. Chavez gave the illegal order on national

      • Either that or he is seriously insane. He does not seem that. He is eyewitness and accomplice to perjury and false accusation. Who’s keeping track of all the declarations of fallen-in-disgrace chavistas regarding innocents falsely accused and montages?

        Two or more assertions from such sources can amount to hard evidence if they are consistent with each other.

        Who is keeping track? To mount the dossier from (chavista) Hell…

  10. “now when chavismo responds that Aponte-Bis is just making it all up as part of a gringo conspiracy to undermine the revolution, it’s a he-said-she-said situation”
    Mr. Toro- the top government officials are certainly floating this theory- but, I doubt if
    all chavistas are believing it. And, yes even some opposition may actually believe the “government
    position”- but I think the big majority of Venezuelans will not believe this is a
    “gringo conspiracy”..I certainly hope not.
    I think a call for a poll is in order?

  11. We all knew they were engaged in drug trafficking and who knows what else! Let the U.S. government, DEA and FBI, handle that for the moment. It seems nobody bats an eye in Venezuela knowing that the government and the military are big time crooks nowadays.

    The most important thing that the opposition should dig into and use to the fullest possible extent, was that this guy was after all was a magistrate of TSJ, and before that a State Attorney.

    That he was directly involved in framing many an innocent person in one capacity or other. Such an admission by one directly involved, plus just a tad of hard evidence, should be enough to expose the chavista framing machine justice and make the rounds in international human rights’ courts. As well as maybe, maybe, begin to help the persons unjustly persecuted.

    • Amen, loroferoz. There are real people involved- right now. One thing for sure,
      Aponte^2 has to be listened to -about the cases in which he was directly involved with…

      • To begin dismantling the chavista version of “justice” and saving it’s victims.

        It makes for a case far more damaging to the chavista administration than any drug trafficking. The left in the world might shrug off drug trafficking charges, specially if they are fielded in the USA. Framing innocents and tormenting them… only hardcore marxists who would side with Stalin on it.

        • “When asked “why did you do xyz” Aponte replied “Because I believed in the revolutionary process”..
          After thinking about this- I realized Aponte^2 saying “I believed in the revolutionary process”- is very important.
          A. Aponte^2-is/was a goodchavista- however -isn’t he saying now that
          he no longer believes in chavismo? What better example for chavistas to
          ponder than that of an ex-Judge who realizes the destruction caused by
          CHavez- think about it. This may cause millions of Venezuelans to defect,
          give up their belief in “the revolution”.- Naturally, Madura et al – the parrots of Chavez come out and squack “Look, this is just a conspiracy against the
          revolution of Chavez”
          But, the evidence is there. The deaths, the expropriations, the destruction..
          This could/should be an avalanche against chavismo!
          I like the quote someone said “We knew it, but we did not REALIZE it”
          B.The leaders, the promoters of the “revolution” have blood on their hands
          lots of blood -blood from their own el pueblo this includes Chavez.
          Isn’t it time to realize REALIZE -it is not/was not worth it and the future
          is only worse(-more of the same is worse)-regardless of what Chavez
          sings about with the Chinese lending money and weapons from Russia
          and kisses from Raul and Fidel. Resign and apologize and get out
          if you have any honor, Hugo Chavez.”Reposted from earlier.

  12. What strikes me from the interview and from first order information obtained elsewhere is that except for the case of the Carora arrest, AA shied away from any talk on dope, concentrating instead on the justice travesty aspect. The DEA did not offer a deal to that guy because he manipulated justice especially in other sovereign countries. This is not their job. They did it because this dude has been involved in the drug scene ever since he was a military lawyer. My own suspicion is that the regime needs all the money they can get to run their rubbish missions and they use the drug route to generate some of it, same as the Cuban regime after the collapse of the Soviet Union until they shot Ochoa, “el chivo expiatorio”.

    • “My own suspicion is that the regime needs all the money they can get to run their rubbish missions and they use the drug route to generate some of it, same as the Cuban regime after the collapse of the Soviet Union until they shot Ochoa, “el chivo expiatorio”.”

      I can’t speak to the Cubans, and whether they financed their government that way, but I see it as highly unlikely that our stellar government would use drug profits to finance misiones.

      Any profit is going to “Mision Lo Mio y p’al Coño los demas”

      • My dear friend Roberto N, if you believe everyone of them is out for his pocket (“Mission lo mio”) in a system where no one can fart without first obtaining permission from Chavez, then you are a bit naive and should vote for Chavez in the next elections. Do you think he is being bypassed on this drug issue??? Man ho man, some people will never learn.

        • Sorry Charly,
          But more naive is the idea that the government is Robin NarcoHood and uses drug money to finance social programs. That money is going to Mision Ferrari and Mision Cuenta Suizas.

        • “in a system where no one can fart without first obtaining permission from Chavez…Do you think he [Chavez] is being bypassed on this drug issue???”

          Agree. I also agree that the drug money is being used for Misión Ferrari, etc., in other words, for personal reasons, rather than social programs. Now, the gossip I heard back in the early 2000’s makes sense, as in generals walking into car dealerships, opening up their maletines and paying with billetes (can’t recall if that was in bolívares or USDs).

  13. Separately from all the allegations Aponte Aponte has made, he was a justice of the Supreme Tribunal and the one thing that should inevitably follow his statements is the retrial of ALL the cases where he was involved. To my knowledge nobody but families of victims of his particular brand of justice have called for this… Then again, expecting anyone in Venezuela (from either side) to do the logic thing would indeed be getting the proverbial pear from the elm tree…

    • Teodoro Petkoff- said es el escandalo de la decade- – y “podría tener consecuencias impredecibles y causar “la sacudida más fuerte que habría de experimentar la estructura de poder venezolano”.
      What Mr. Aponte^2 said- relates to the “whole ball of wax” -and I suppose
      this is what Mr Petkoff is referring to – not just the case of Mr. Aponte^2…
      Point is-I agree with the second part of Mr. Petkoff’s statement more than the first- I do believe this case will have consequences far beyond what some are saying now. Yes, this points to the faulty structure of the justice
      system and the wrong-headedness of chavismo.
      It is not a pretty picture.Fact is- the country is run by nothing more or less than a group of thugs who operate within “gang mentality” –that is all.
      This means = they are all criminals! Every stinking one of them!

  14. “If you’re opposition-leaning, you believe the revelations, if you’re government-leaning, you don’t. Given the total absence of corroborating evidence, there’s nothing to break the tie.”
    So far this previous statement is completely true, but let´s wait for the outcome, I won´t be skeptical on this one.

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