Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cover-Up Exposes Naked Ambition

In an episode which has gripped South America the facts could simply not be made up; if it was fiction it would be dismissed as too implausible. On 4th August 2007 an Argentinian airport security officer, Maria del Lujan Telpuk, stopped asked a Venezuelan-American businessman, Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, about the contents of his case. He had just disembarked from a flight chartered by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, to Buenos Aires.

The 28 year old security agent became suspicious when the man first said “books” then “just some papers” and then became very agitated when she asked him to open the case. It was stuffed to bursting with $50 bills. In a case being heard in the Florida courts prosecutors allege that the money was a clandestine payment from Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez to aid the election campaign of Cristina Kirchner. Both leaders have dismissed the allegation as an attempt by the US Government to smear two administrations which seek to break the ‘gringo hegemony’ in South America. The details of the case do not really concern us, but the airport security agent certainly does.

So what happens to the girl at the centre of what has been dubbed ‘Maletagate’ (maleta is Spanish for 'bag‘)? Well, she resigns from her job, gets breast augmentation surgery and becomes a cover girl for several magazines, most notably the Argentinian edition of Playboy, in which she appears naked with a suitcase under the headline ‘Corruption Laid Bare’. She’s also forging a career on TV and learning to ice skate for the show ‘Skating for a Dream’. Her busy schedule was interrupted for her testimony in court, but she was soon back on the ice. A far cry from the ‘Nothing to Declare’ aisle.


The Last Baron said...

When will people in the U.S. stop adding the silly suffix '-gate' to every stupid scandal conceivable? It is wretched, outdated and silly. Just because the Nixon presidential campaign was stupid enough to break into Dem HQ at the Watergate hotel in DC shouldn't mean that everything scandalous in the U.S. is suffixed with a '-gate.'
After all, if the break-in had occurred at The Willard, would we be calling everything a '-willard'? Probably not. Maaybe it's time to move on and drop the '-gate.' Gate it?

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