The Arocha Family, the Kings of Charallave.
The surname Arocha, is a very common and well known surname in the Tuy valleys.
There are many descendants of early Arochas who settled in the region in colonial times, who still live in this municipality located only 48 kilometers from the Venezuelan capital.
However, an Arocha family in particular stands out among their close and distant relatives in Charallave.
From modest origins that are typical of Venezuela’s suburban areas, the Del Vecchio Arocha family would become one of the largest and most prolific landowners in the country, earning millions from the sale and development of enormous country, having made millions in profits from the sale and development of an enormous amount of property, involving land, which involve transactions with both private parties and Venezuelan state entities, including the governments of the Venezuelan State, including the governments of Hugo Chávez Frías and the current President Nicolás Maduro Moros.
After the acquisition of vast tracts of land in the Charallave area of Miranda State, Venezuela, the Del Vecchio Arocha family began to amass an enormous fortune that would lead them to become one of the richest families in the country, with ramifications that extend to new generations living in the United States.
However, the origin and magnitude of the family’s wealth (as is the case with many provincial families) has managed to go unnoticed, despite the fact that some of the family members have managed to position themselves in the highest echelons of Caracas society, including the Jewish community living in the Venezuelan capital.
Hacienda La Peñita, the goose which lays the golden eggs.
Oceanía Arocha Gonzalez de Del Vecchio would be the origin of the Del Vecchio Arocha family fortune. She was born in Charallave and married Francesco Del Vecchio Zinise, an Italian immigrant and small businessman who settled in the Charallave area.
The Del Vecchio Arocha couple had two children: Francisco Del Vecchio Arocha and Adela Rosa Del Vecchio Arocha (now Adela Del Vecchio de Zisman).
There are documents in the public records of Charallave, Valles del Tuy, Miranda State, which indicate that Mrs. Oceanía Arocha de Del Vecchio acquired what was then “Hacienda La Peñita” at a court auction on February 14, 1963, as recorded in the register presented before the Subaltern Registry Office of the Urdaneta and Cristóbal Rojas Municipalities of Miranda State, annotated under No. 29.
The first partial sales of this property began in 1964, including the sale of a couple of plots of land to Venezuelan state entities.
Since then, the land of the Del Vecchio Arocha family has undergone more than 60 partial dispositions (sales) over the years, with both private citizens and companies acquiring portions of residential and commercial part of the former Hacienda La Peñita, gradually incorporating what was once a rural area of Charallave into the urban area of the small town. Several of the aforementioned sales were also allegedly acquisitions carried out by various government entities for different infrastructure works.
In later years, through a series of loans from financial institutions, the family also set out to develop much of the land, obtaining permits from the local government for the construction of roads, aqueducts, electrification and other services.
At the same time, various family members have also developed housing estates (including famous housing) such as social prefabricated housing and buildings for the working middle class. They have also developed commercial properties in the sector, all under a series of companies and in partnership with construction companies.
The family’s properties holdings have also benefited from an enormous amount of easements (rents) in favor of the Venezuelan state for the passage of all kinds of services, such as water pipes, natural gas, electricity lines and roads.
There are many of these transactions that were allegedly carried out by the Del Vecchio Arocha brothers, who inherited the hereditary rights to these lands. However, many other alienations have been carried out by close relatives and in-laws who have also benefited from various purchases at preferential prices. Prices from the original owner, Oceania Arocha de Del Vecchio, to later sell or develop these lands at market price.
Family members such as Humberto Guerra Del Vecchio, Rafael Antonio Guerra Del Vecchio, Italo Guerra Del Vecchio and Elias Zisman Goldenberg (late husband of Adela Del Vecchio) will be the direct beneficiaries of these transactions.
Among all the family businesses that include disposals, developments, constructions and easements for the benefit of the state, a few of transactions involving the Venezuelan government in the last two decades, meaning the Bolivarian government, stand out.
Caracas-Cúa Railroad, a stroke of luck.
Among the most ambitious projects promoted by the late President Hugo Chávez Frías, was a railroad network that was to connect Caracas with other locations in the country. Amidst corruption scandals and mismanagement of resources, the project that should have been completed by 2007 remains unfinished. However, some of the scheduled sections have been completed by the state-owned entity Instituto de Ferrocarriles del Estado IAFE.
One of those sections that were built and are operational would be the Ezequiel Zamora I Railway System, which was inaugurated by President Hugo Chavez and started operations on October 15, 2006.
The Ezequiel Zamora I Railway System has three stations: Charallave Norte, Charallave Sur and Cúa. In order to carry out this work, a series of lands that once belonged to Hacienda La Peñita were expropriated under Article 52 of the Law of Expropriation for Reason of Public Utility. These lands were in private hands at the time of their acquisition by the Venezuelan State.
El Ferrocarril and Urbanizadora El Cisne, unclear transactions.
URBANIZADORA EL CISNE is a corporation incorporated on November 17, 1978 with Francisco Del Vecchio Arocha and Adela Del Vecchio de Zisman as sole partners.
Francisco Del Vecchio Arocha allegedly signed several documents with his sole signature, thanks to the sole power of attorney of Administrator that authorized him to carry out transactions on behalf of Administradora El Cisne without the signature of his partner and sister.
The Company would have carried out several works, among them a mega project of low-income housing called Conjunto Residencial La Roca I. The same company has carried out several transactions with Venezuelan government entities.
On April 17, 2009, Urbanizadora El Cisne, C.A. through its represented Francisco Del Vecchio Arocha, separates 108.26 hectares of a lot of 600 hectares of its property that had been purchased by the Del Vecchio brothers from their mother Oceania Arocha de Del Vecchio on July 28, 1987 according to document recorded under No. 26, volume 27, of the Transcription Protocol.
Curiously, on the same day, April 17, 2009, Urbanizadora El Cisne, C.A., constituted an easement for the passage of the railroad in favor of the Instituto Autónomo de Ferrocarriles del Estado (IAFE), according to document recorded under No. 26, folio 126 of the Main Transcription Protocol. The Document also states easements in favor of HIDROVEN, CORPOVEN and CADAFE-EDELCA.
However, it is noteworthy that the area of land where the easement was constituted in favor of the Instituto Autónomo de Ferrocarriles del Estado (IAFE) on April 17, 2009, appears to have been expropriated from the Del Vecchio Arocha brothers by the government of the late President Hugo Chavez Frías, as stated in a document executed on August 23, 2005 before Notary Public 23 of the Municipality Libertador of the Capital District, recorded under No. 54, volume 54 of the Authentication Books.
Said expropriation would have been carried out under amicable settlement in accordance with Article 22 of the Expropriation Law and would have been carried out in the amount of Bs. 288,598.61 by the Venezuelan State in favor of Urbanizadora El Cisne C.A., thus proceeding with the culmination of the expropriation process as recorded in the registry.
How then, in 2009, would the easement in favor of Urbanizadora El Cisne C.A. have been constituted on the same lands that were expropriated and duly cancelled in 2005?
Since these lands belong to the Venezuelan State and not to Urbanizadora El Cisne, C.A., it is very striking that said company has started to collect easements on lands that had been expropriated and cancelled 4 years earlier and therefore, no longer belonged to it at the time the easement was granted.
In Venezuela it is not uncommon to hear of dubious transactions, corruption, abuse of power and influence. This has been part of everyday life in the South American country for many decades, but dramatically accentuated in the years of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution. So, it is not surprising to come across shady agreements or arrangements when the government is involved in them.
The truth is that in reference to the aforementioned dubious transaction, during the government of Nicolás Maduro Moros, Urbanizadora El Cisne C.A. has continued to receive rental benefits (easement) uninterruptedly since 2009 to date.
In fact, and according to the record of the constitutive assembly and several other extraordinary assemblies, Urbanizadora El Cisne C.A. has not carried out any more works or transactions, but has continued extending the duration of the company and renewing Directors and Commissioner, with the sole purpose of continuing charging the aforementioned easement to the Instituto Autónomo de Ferrocarriles del Estado (IAFE).
In short: PART II: Machado Zuloaga Airport – Public Housing – Family Businesses – more relations with the State – Capital flight through endowments and offshore accounts – offshore properties – beneficiaries in the United States.