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Venezuela Sees Chavez Friends Rich After His Death Amid Poverty


Retired Venezuelan Army Captain William Biancucci paces around his sparsely furnished Caracas office, clutching a red, bound copy of Hugo Chavez’s socialist constitution. He’s discussing his plans to buy a private jet to ease travel to and from his cattle ranch in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. From a sprawling stretch of pastureland, he packs cows by the thousands on ships headed to Venezuela.

Biancucci, 55, who grew up poor, says he won contracts to supply Venezuela with livestock thanks to friendships with military officers now in the government. His voice rises with emotion as he says he’s been a devotee of Chavez since military college, when the late leader was his history professor.