Three Times the Biden Family Used Joe to Profit in Small American Countries

US Vice-President Joe Biden gestures during a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (out of frame) at the Casa de Huespedes Ilustres in Cartagena, Colombia, on December 1, 2016. - Biden begins a two-day visit to Colombia where he will attend the US-Colombia Business Advisory Council Meeting opening session. …
GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP via Getty

The misadventures of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter with Chinese Communist money men and Ukrainian oligarchs are far from the only time the Biden family tried to cash in on Joe’s political career.

Joe Biden’s younger brother Frank leveraged the Biden name for lucrative deals in Costa Rica and Jamaica, while Hunter used his father’s name to push through a massive deal in Colombia involving a vast Chinese energy corporation. 

Costa Rica

In August 2009, a partnership to “reform real estate in Latin America” was announced between Costa Rican agencies and Cygnus International, Frank Biden’s company. The “sustainable” and “socially sensitive” projects for this partnership included the Guanacaste Solar Park, developed in 2014 with another business owned by Frank Biden, and a luxury country club with a top-shelf golf course. The proposal was valued at over $1 billion. 

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís wrote a letter to Frank Biden thanking him for getting involved with the country club project, which included everything from renewable energy deals to waste disposal and a hospital. Solís’s letter said the development would include over 1,000 homes.

The waste-to-energy element is interesting because Solís’s letter referred to a company called Westinghouse-Plasma that Biden seemed reluctant to name, although he frequently alluded to having a “strong waste-to-energy partner.” Joe Biden occasionally praised the company during his vice presidency, literally pitching its services to the Czech Republic in 2009.

Westinghouse-Plasma went through a few ownership changes over the years, but within a year of the thank-you letter President Solís wrote to Frank Biden, the company was purchased in a surprise acquisition by a Delaware-based corporation named Harvest International that is wholly owned by a Chinese company, Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Corp.

A Costa Rican newspaper called El Observador reported that in February 2020, after years of promoting the Guanacaste megaproject, Frank Biden denied through his law firm that he or Joe Biden had ever been involved with it. The project was never completed, and investors reportedly said they never got their money back. 

“There is no project in Costa Rica. Never was,” Biden claimed in comments to El Observador – eight years after he said he couldn’t wait to be part of the Guanacaste “community” and boasted that his country club would not have any walls because “most of the amenities are public and it’s the Guanacaste people who have permitted us to be here.”  

Frank Biden’s partner in the Guanacaste project, Craig Williamson – named in the 2009 announcement of Biden’s involvement, hailed by Biden as a “business partner and friend” who would help him prove that “protecting the breathtaking beauty that is Costa Rica is a money maker” – was sued for fraud in Costa Rica and currently has an outstanding arrest warrant.

El Observador in February quoted unhappy investors who said they put money into the country club project largely because of the Biden name. Former Costa Rican President Solís said in the same article that he “didn’t ask for resumes” when he met with Biden and his partners.

Frank Biden and Craig Williamson also worked together in Belize, where their real estate partnership ERA Real Estate Costa Rica had interests. In 2007, Biden was named director of development and marketing for a humanitarian nonprofit organization called Hand in Hand Ministries that had significant operations in Belize. The health ministry of Belize, which received a $1.9 million grant in 2011 from a U.S. government program called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), made Hand in Hand Ministries their primary AIDS relief organization.

Jamaica

As vice president in 2014, Joe Biden announced the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), a program intended to facilitate investment in wind and solar energy projects with U.S. taxpayer subsidies. Biden hosted a major summit for CESI the following year.

Among the projects funded by CESI was a 20-megawatt solar power plant in Jamaica. A $50 million deal to develop the plant was signed in February 2016 by Sun Fund Americas, which is based in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and is presided over by Frank Biden. The plant officially opened in 2017.

“We have strong partners in both PV Solar and Waste to Energy, and our resort development partner has crafted the best possible development model for green resort and residential communities,” Biden said when announcing the Jamaica deal, vaguely referring once again to a strong waste-to-energy partner.

“From our base in Costa Rica, we are working with several other countries to bring this combined development array in the near term. These countries will benefit from our solutions providing clean energy, and eliminating solid waste, medical waste and water treatment sludge with zero toxic byproduct while creating thousands of jobs locally,” Biden said.

Colombia

Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s other brother James used the former vice president’s name in 2017 while pushing a deal in Colombia. The investment outline prepared by the Bidens and their partners prominently featured a photo of Joe Biden shaking hands with then-Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and touting the “strong” relationship between them.

The investor Hunter and James Biden was seeking to court for oil investments in Colombia was none other than CEFC China Energy, the shadowy corporation linked to the Chinese Communist government and People’s Liberation Army that figures heavily in the emails recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop. CEFC abruptly went bankrupt in 2018 after its founder Ye Jianming was linked to corruption in Africa and disappeared into the Chinese prison system. The Biden proposal touted Colombia as CEFC’s “gateway to Latin America.”

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