After a grainy videotape was published this morning of Primero Justicia congressman and candidate to the Petare Mayorship Juan Carlos Caldera receiving packs of cash from a shadowy figure, Caldera came out fighting this afternoon, saying he fell into a trap set by a government-linked businessman, Wilmer Ruperti.
4:52: Pick of the comments section:
“[BsF.40,000] is not even the down-payment for a car. By the way, the only proven crime committed here is the one made by Ruperti and his Assistant, taping someone without his consent and then releasing the video. BTW Ruperti’s wife, who was part of the plot, is former actress Anastasia Mazzone who is the President of Canal I. Until now Calderas is just criminally naive.”
4:50: Juan Carlos Caldera says his sister has worked with Ruperti for years!
4:45: “When somebody helps us the seven plagues of Egypt come down on them…”
4:42: Caldera takes one for the team: It was a contribution to my campaign, not to Capriles’s campaign.
4:38: JCC: “Fui demasiado ingenuo” – I’ll say…
4:37: For context, Wilmer Ruperti is a guy who made a lot of money leasing tankers to PDVSA during the 2002-2003 oil strike. Since, he bought a TV channel, Canal i, and lots of other businesses. He’s long been seen as close to chavismo, but perhaps not in the innermost inner circle of the crony bourgeoisie.
The optics are awful, but the reality is that these days lots of campaign contributions are made in cash, precisely because contributing openly to an opposition campaign exposes businesspeople – and especially government-linked figures – to all kinds of reprisals. Caldera probably thought he had a scalp – instead, he was getting set up.
4:32: There were three meetings, he received BsF.20,000 on each of the last two.
4:31: Caldera says the guy in the video is Luis Peña, “the boss” is Wilmer Ruperti, and the BsF.20,000 were for his campaign for mayor of Petare.
4:30: The meeting was at the home of Wilmer Ruperti, bolibourgeois extraordinaire.
4:28: Now we’re getting to specifics. “Why do they hide the person in the video with me? Why not say things honestly and clearly, if you’re concerned for the truth?”
4:27: “Mr. Diosdado Cabello, I hold you responsible for the safety of my children and my family.”
4:26: Oooooh, he’s laying this down on Diosdado Cabello! Still, zero details, nothing specific.
4:26: Juan Carlos Caldera sure likes to talk about Juan Carlos Caldera in the third person.
4:25: A totally generic message so far, he’s not engaged any of the content of the video or the controversy so far.
4:23: Claims he has received hundreds of thousands of messages of support today. Pssst, Juan Carlos, those people mentioning your mom are not supporting you.
4:22 Starts out decrying dirty tricks that “close the door on the Venezuela of the future.”