29.3.05

And so Eva Golinger strikes back...

London 29.03.05 | Not two hours have come to pass since the posting of my latest article on Eva Golinger's false claims for yet another hate message to arrive in my inbox. Here's what she had to say this time:


Mr. Boyd, your ridiculous ranting yet again proves shallow and false, yet you try with all your conviction to make yourself sound believable and capable. The truth is, were I to have violated any laws in the State of New York, the appropriate authorities would have made sure to resolve the matter. You have no understanding of US regulations, the difference between state and federal law, court divisions, bar associations, etc., nor even how our legal system functions. That being said, you once again are proved wrong, completely and utterly incorrect. You believe yourself capable of interpreting laws and statutes, yet you couldn't even finish a university education! You believe your research to be all-incompensing and you are blinded by its second-rate results. You hold yourself out fraudulently to be a law student, but you haven't the brains or the capacity to even begin to understand any legal system or process. Face it Boyd, you are a complete failure in life, which is why you have become absolutely obsessed with me and others who you resent. Look at what you do all day - you write absurd articles trying to harrass and discredit people you don't even know, and you participate in vulgar, offensive and derrogatory blog conversations in cyberspace with faceless names. You are so utterly out of touch with Venezuela that every single prediction you have made has proved wrong.

You are unworthy of my time and energy and are nothing more than an incompetent failure, with no job and no education, but rather a person who enjoys threatening and harrassing others apparently more than spending time with his own children. How terribly sad and pitiful.

Eva Golinger
Attorney at Law
Abogada
www.evagolinger.com

This message contains privileged and confidential information intended only for the addressee. If you have received this message in error, please return it to sender and discard the message immediately.

In the meanwhile Diane Kolbe sent this:

Dear Sir:

Ms. Eva Golinger is not now and has never been a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

Sincerely,

Diane Kolbe, AILA
dkolbe@aila.org

24.3.05

Hugo Chavez gasta 1.075 millones en propaganda politica en seis meses

Londres 24.03.05 | Estamos en esa fecha del año en la que los encargados de diseminar propaganda política a favor del golpista Hugo Chávez en Washington deben reportar sus actividades a la Unidad de Registro de Agentes Foráneos (Foreign Agents Registration Unit o FARA en ingles). Así las cosas el expediente para el semestre que finalizo en Agosto del 2004 evidencia que el régimen chavista se gasto $500.000 o 1075 millones de Bolívares al cambio de hoy. Este millardo ha servido para cubrir gastos de representación, salarios e insumos de oficina.

El ministro de desinformación Andres Izarra negó hace un par de días que el gobierno nacional este destinando dinero a pagar a periodistas de Estados Unidos para que escriban notas positivas sobre Venezuela. Sin embargo este informe [http://proveo.org/viofara0804.pdf] demuestra lo contrario y lo que es mejor contiene información detallada sobre los periodistas y medios de comunicación de habla inglesa que son constantemente bombardeados, por los empleados de la Oficina de Información de Venezuela (VIO en ingles), con propaganda política. De igual forma numerosos congresistas y senadores estadounidenses han sido objeto del cabildeo revolucionario. La pagina 8 del informe indica que las actividades desarrolladas incluyeron contacto con prensa (periódicos, revistas, radio y televisión); campañas publicitarias; comunicados de prensa; presentación de películas; conferencias y charlas; envió de cartas y telegramas; impresión de panfletos u otras publicaciones así como también la utilización de Internet como instrumento de comunicación publica.

Isaura Gilmond continua al frente de la VIO y sus empleados son: Jo Ellen Chernow, Eric Wingerter, Stacy Elizabeth McDougall, Deborah James, Nathan Converse y Robert Naiman, aunque los dos últimos cesaron en sus funciones el 9 de Julio y 20 de Agosto del 2004 respectivamente.

Así pues queda demostrado una vez mas la burda manipulación mediática de este gobierno que por un lado grita a los cuatro vientos que los Estados Unidos están prestos a invadir a Venezuela y por el otro gastan sumas mil millonarias para 'convencer' a los americanos de la benignidad de la dizque revolución chavista. Si sumasemos este monto a los dispensados anteriormente descubrimos que el gasto en propaganda en los Estados Unidos de Hugo Chavez desde que llego a la presidencia asciende a 16 millardos de Bolívares.

17.3.05

How does the McCartney sisters - IRA affair compare to Venezuela's international perception

On very rare occasions I lift my self imposed restriction to comment upon issues non related to my country but I guess the recent killing of Robert McCartney by IRA terrorists is a good opportunity to do so and draw some comparisons between Northern Ireland and Venezuela.

Informed readers ought to be aware of the terrorist activities of the IRA in their campaign to 'liberate' Northern Ireland of British occupation. From a Republican perspective said exercise to reclaim sovereignty by the Irish is somewhat admirable. As a matter of fact not long ago I quoted Gerry Adams remarks “sometimes violence is the only means to achieve goals…”. The IRA / Sinn Fein duo, through a mixture of terrorism and political maneuvering have already gained leverage; an aura of 'respectability' sort of covers Gerry Adams and his party to the point where both personality and entity have become guest de rigueur to powerful houses in either side of the Atlantic. Fine up to now.

However when one learns about the assassination of Robert McCartney; the IRA pathetic offer to conduct an internal enquiry into the murder -as if they were the kind of organization whose investigations could be taken seriously by anyone; their desperate proposal to save face with core Republican and Catholic supporters by way of shooting those responsible and lastly Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness political warning to the brave McCartney sisters; only condemnation is left. Because of the IRA's clumsy handling of this issue die hard Irish-Americans have given the cold shoulder for the first time ever to the terrorist organization and by extension to Gerry Adams, whose funds collecting trip to America this year won't be that successful.

Comparisons with Venezuela

The BBC, reporting today on the US trip of the McCartney sisters, has a very interesting paragraph regarding the behaviour of Robert McCartney's children vis-a-vis the media frenzy generated after his murder "The boys are too young to understand the political significance of a Catholic family from a hardline republican area daring to challenge the IRA".

For naive, gullible and ignorant Irish-Americans the IRA's jihad against England was, more than a source of republican hope, epithomy of identity and cultural struggle. Robert McCartney's murder, his sisters' reaction and the very many political faux pas that ensued have demonstrated that, indeed, the IRA and his political arm are nothing but a network of terrorists and organized criminals unwilling to adapt to new realities or show any form of accountability to the constituents that form its political core base.

Similarly there have been a number of less notorious cases, although with significantly higher numbers of victims, in Venezuela, of course we haven't got large expat communities in the heartland of US politics, that reflect Hugo Chavez' sheer disregard for the lives and wellbeing of its supporters. The first that spring to mind is the very recent burning of soldiers whilst in confinement, however one could also point out his anti-Venezuelan relationship with dictator Fidel Castro and the Colombian narco-guerrillas or the systematic destruction of Venezuela's oil industry or perhaps his ordering the military to massacre innocent and unarmed civilians on April 11 2002 or even the granting of citizenship to internationally wanted assassins. However abstract these issues may appear to the uneducated they show a complete lack of respect and consideration towards those who brought him to power.

The Times has posted this tidbit today "Sir, I find it ironic that the US is only now banning Sinn Fein from fundraising (report, March 14) because of the IRA’s continuing involvement in crime. What did they consider that its campaign of murder and terror was — care in the community?"

We have denounced ad nauseam the many atrocities committed by Hugo Chavez and members of his revolutionary project; alas the prospects of energy deals to be had in Venezuela continue to dictate diplomatic actions.

As a concerned Venezuelan I can only wish for the world's realisation about the true nature of Hugo Chavez and his activities. It worries me that public opinion only seem to get out of its lethargy and react when horrendous and unexplainable crimes such as the assassination of Robert McCartney occur. Venezuela has an ever growing list of Robert McCartneys but we seem to lack his sisters, their determination to bring those responsible to justice and the attention dispensed to them by the international community.

Addendum

A reader kindly pointed out this article by The Sunday Times.

Satellite reveals hideout deep in the jungle used by IRA fugitives SATELLITE pictures have shown the location of a rebel camp deep in the Venezuelan jungle believed to be a hideout used by three IRA fugitives, writes Martin Arostegui. The photographs show an enclosure in a clearing in the Perija mountain range, close to the border with Colombia. The camp is believed to belong to Colombian guerrillas of the left-wing Farc movement.

James Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley jumped bail in Colombia last year. They were sentenced to 17 years’ jail in their absence for training Farc in IRA mortar techniques. The co-ordinates of the camp the men have used — 10 degrees, 29 minutes, 56 seconds north, by 72 degrees, 44 minutes, 56 seconds west — were disclosed by Colombian intelligence to members of a Northern Ireland victims’ group. The camp in the picture, taken last year before the IRA men’s visit, coincides with these co-ordinates.

Venezuelan asylum for Colombian insurgents is a highly sensitive issue. The countries clashed in January when the Colombian government paid Venezuelan bounty hunters to seize a Farc leader in Caracas and bundled him across the border to face terrorism charges. Relations have since improved and two weeks ago the Venezuelan authorities arrested three Farc suspects and have recently sealed off some roads in Tachira, the province in which the IRA men’s hideout is located.

This weekend Ernesto Amezquita Camacho, a lawyer who defended the men at the time of their capture in 2001, claimed: “I thought they had returned to their families.”

La verdadera revolución es la individual

En la estación de metro de Chacaíto existía una imagen de bronce pegada a una pared con una cita, que si mal no recuerdo, rezaba "...pasaron días y más días desde el primer día..." Traigo a colación estas palabras pues me acongoja ver la actitud de la sociedad venezolana en conjunto frente al problema político que se nos cierne. Veo con profunda preocupación que muchos de los miembros de nuestra sociedad se han postrado ante la idea pueril que sugiere que la resolución de nuestros problemas recae sobre hombros ajenos y, como en el cuento aquel del niño que estaba por caerse del balcón mientras propios y extraños observaban atónitos y esperaban en morbosa impavidez, todos aguardan impertérrita y sosegadamente el desenlace fatal.

Otro argumento popularmente esgrimido es aquel de la necesidad de una figura mesiánica que saque del letargo al colectivo que espera en estado de hibernación indefinida la emergencia del salvador. Ya que tal figura, indiscutiblemente producto de la imaginación popular, no aparece pues la sociedad en su conjunto ha tomado, quizás de forma inconsciente, una actitud de total abandono para con la política y el ejercicio de deberes ciudadanos.

Al respecto tengo el deber ciudadano de informar y sacudir, en la medida de mis escasas posibilidades, esa modorra que parece haberse instalado en las mentes y los espíritus de mis compatriotas. Muchos se preguntaran sobre la legitimidad de mi accionar y en ese sentido debo recalcar que es la misma que posee toda persona socialmente responsable. La solución de nuestros problemas recae única y exclusivamente sobre nosotros y por ello debemos comenzar tan pronto como sea posible con un examen muy crítico de conciencia que conlleve a cambiar nuestra forma de actuar y reaccionar ante hechos que de ninguna forma permitiríamos en nuestras vidas privadas. Un buen ejemplo seria un encargado de condominio que termina por ceder apartamentos que no son de su propiedad a sus compinches; o un maestro de escuela que inculque valores a nuestros hijos que no gocen de nuestra aprobación. Así me pregunto ¿permitiría yo tal cosa? La respuesta es "por supuesto que no". ¿Porque debo permitir entonces que Hugo Chávez, o cualquier otro gobernante de turno, haga y deshaga con mi vida y la de mis seres queridos?

El país es nuestra casa y lo que en ella sucede nos compete a todos. Por ello la verdadera revolución es la individual, es aquella que comienza cuestionando el yo interno y actuando en consecuencia. Cuando la mayoría de los miembros que forman un grupo social empiezan a cumplir con sus deberes y ejercer sus derechos arriba el cambio, que al ser común se transforma en indetenible y permanente. Si todos los residentes de esa casa cocinan, limpian, ordenan, trabajan y mantienen relaciones cordiales y respetuosas entre si muy probablemente la casa siempre será un santuario de tranquilidad anhelado por todos. No ese el caso en nuestra Venezuela.

Solo cambiando internamente lograremos cambiar a Venezuela.

14.3.05

Few misconceptions about Venezuela's opposition

The birthing of a child is as good a time as any to reflect upon one's life, actions, views, etc. so I may do just that. For the most part of the last 28 months I have been relentlessly attacking the neofascist regime of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. The act that prompted me to embark in such an unexpected adventure was the decision by some visiting professor of Oxford University to have Chavez as a guest speaker in a human rights seminar. I said to myself "this I can't tolerate. Mind you one thing is to pontificate the ignorant Venezuelan populace in Caracas about the marvellous Bolivarian revolution and an entirely different issue is to have a failed pustchist and criminal lecturing a human rights audience from an Oxford University's pulpit". Time and actions have proved me right; Venezuela's president is but the perfect example of how to turn a semi-democratic country into the perfect case book of how to use democracy and the 'will of the people' successfully to advance authoritarian agendas, eliminating in the interim all vestiges of accountability. I won't dwell anymore on it. However I do take issue with the ever constant attacks of international salaried advocates of the Venezuelan president in their orchestrated campaign to discredit Venezuela's opposition.

Misconceptions regarding the composition of the opposition

Any functioning democracy has a governing party and its opposition. Often times the bi-party system is the rule, other less powerful political minorities sort of hovering around to take the left overs. Venezuela is no different. The duopoly AD – COPEI governed the country for nearly 50 years after a pact known as "Pacto de Puntofijo" was sealed by the chief masters of the two parties. Both AD and COPEI alternated in power roughly in every presidential election thusly preventing bitter political confrontation that would have hindered the normal functioning of the State. Adecos and Copeyanos –as party members of AD and COPEI are known- had this confidence that whatever happened and however wrongfully the country seemed to be managed at any given time by the ruling party it was only circumstantial for their chance to set things according to their views would materialise in the following election. This very system of alternation in power is thought to have been the key element which caused the chaotic deterioration that characterised Venezuela prior to Chavez ascent to power. In fact, banking on it, Hugo Chavez won hearts and minds precisely by attempting to overthrown one of the most prodigal offsprings of the pact; i.e. Carlos Andres Perez (CAP).

CAP was elected for his second term in 1988; the popular belief at the time was "with CAP Saudi-Venezuela will come back". For let us not forget that it was in CAP's first presidential term that the oil industry was nationalised and Venezuela started to exert full control of its vast natural resources. The remembrance of the abundance of those years ran deep in Venezuelan minds –still does- to the point where everyone has one or two stories about the wasteful nature that all members of society exhibited back in the days. This line of reasoning worked in CAP's favour and he got re-elected with a record number of votes, as a matter of fact he got more votes in 1988 than Hugo Chavez in 1998 (3.868.843 and 3.673.685 respectively).

The implementation by CAP of a series of economic measures led to the increase of transport fares which in turn triggered nationwide popular revolts that were brutally suppressed by the army. The infamous Caracazo marked Venezuela's theretofore peaceful democratic transit and is thought to have provoked the 1992 coup led by Hugo Chavez.

Hugo Chavez, a mediocre military man, did not succeed in ousting CAP through violent means however his rather brief comments to the Venezuelan media after his capture catapulted him to fame. Being the leader of the failed putsch Chavez was thrown into jail immediately after where he spent 2 years.

One of the characteristics of the Pacto de Puntofijo was that the Attorney General's office was more often than not in the hands of the opposition to the governing party. As such CAP was impeached and removed from the presidency owing to misuse of funds. A dull and short period followed after the appointment of historian Ramon J. Velasquez as interim president of Venezuela. A very envious and disturbed Rafael Caldera, ever trying to not let his arch rival CAP outdo him politically, run for re-election in 1993 and got the job. His decision to oversee the rebellion charges against Hugo Chavez and subsequent pardon brought us to this. I have tried to imagine what led Caldera, an allegedly very well educated man, to have liberated Chavez and the only conclusion I can come up with is that it was a mere act of trying to settle a score with CAP for how can a man caught red handed in the commission of a coup d'etat be given a presidential pardon?

Thus AD and COPEI and CAP and Rafael Caldera have been the shapers to a large extent of what the country is today. International observers seem to be in oblivion of the aforesaid account for one often reads that the opposition to Hugo Chavez is composed by coupsters, fascists, assassins, corrupt and amoral individuals who were only too keen on ransacking Venezuela for 50 years. So were does that leaves me, or better still how can that argument be reconciled with the fact that very many of those who oppose Hugo Chavez also opposed AD and COPEI and CAP and Caldera in previous years? The compartmentalisation of the opposition by chavismo is a success story. I remember having being asked by Times reporter Andrew Billen in Oxford "well if not Chavez who, CAP?"

A different breed of opponents

Venezuela, although with many imperfections, was a habitable enough place when the crooks of the Pacto de Puntofijo were 'governing' it. I remember vividly the rage that the sight of a powerful adeco (Carmelo Lauria) driving a spanking brand new Toyota and sporting a gold Rolex caused in me whilst I was crossing a street near Parque Central in Caracas many years ago. So upset I was that I started insulting him, for no other reason than his obscene display of ill-acquired wealth in a place where most people had to go hungry to bed every night. Now try and tell me that I would be able to pull that one today on a powerful chavista like Barreto or Jorge Rodriguez or even on messenger boy Andres Izarra and you will come to the realisation of my rabid stance against chavismo.

We were able to criticise, insult, impeach, remove, mistreat and most importantly held politicians somewhat accountable either through the courts or via the media. No more. The two biggest media critics of all time, Jose Vicente Rangel and Alfredo Peña, were quickly invited to Miraflores by Chavez to make part of the government with two purposes; the first to neutralise the status quo with critical information and second to silence, by way of official appointments that curtailed any criticism coming from the two, the very source of the information; all in all a masterstroke by Chavez. The seizure of power from AD and COPEI was achieved with equal success and utilising the same method; that of inviting them to join the ranks of the revolution. So long as easy money, appointments, jobs, perks, saucy deals and chance to misappropriate public funds come politicos from AD and COPEI were/are only too keen to change hats and praise the revolution. Notorious figures from the opposition such as Alberto Quiros Corradi have profited from the revolution, thus how can they even pretend to be taken seriously? The slogan "NO VOLVERAN" is indeed another brilliant tactic of chavista strategy for Chavez jump to power took place from a platform of utter discontent towards the past establishment.

That leaves me and the folk on the street, totally devoid of possibilities. On the one hand we are not 'allowed' to enter the political fray for we do not belong to any party, on the other we are worse off than before for nobody seems to be willing to contradict, question or call into accountability any of the actions of Hugo Chavez and his regime. The courts, the National Assembly, the army, the police forces, the budget, the electoral council, mind you every single branch of power is ominously controlled by Chavez; who, where or how can we expect some sort of retribution or justice for misuse of power? In what sort of bargaining position are we in? Now I won't deny that I am also opposed to the reestablishment of the old ruling parties that brought to life the Chavez phenomenon however the aforementioned motto of "NO VOLVERAN" is entirely inappropriate in my view for they have never left in the first place; they are still there, the old problems of the past have only been augmented by the new monolithic party that has choked the system.

Opposing Chavez does not mean support or a blank check to the opposition political parties; opposing Chavez does not mean allegiance to AD or COPEI. One of the remarkable achievements of Chavez is the political awakening of very many Venezuelans. Hence I am not prepared to render my intellect and reasoning useless and become a pusillanimous supporter of Chavez just because he's crushing old time rulers; I am not ready to cede my sovereign and natural rights to criticise, condemn and expose his abuse of power for I am not prepared to trade my dignity for a pack of subsidised food and a hollow promise; I will not give away my dream of taking active part in the construction of a better Venezuela and most certainly I will never kneel and bow before a failed coupster however popular among my countrymen.

My idea of politics is that every public servant has to be accountable regardless of hierarchy. Hugo Chavez is but an employee of Venezuela; he's not the owner of the shop. Ergo as one of the 25 million shareholders of that venture I have every right to seek his removal which I intend to advocate towards for as long as I breathe.

7.3.05

Is it just coincidence?

That the new term coined by the Brits to define a chavista is Chav?

In light of the definition and wide acceptance of this new piece of popular knowledge I hereby declare that the distinct honour of having produced a term which is both adjective and statements of a social class / political movement ought to be given to the king of Chav and epithomy of vulgarity, a man who lives by its chavista principles; ladies and gentlemen Hugo Chavez President of Chav-Land.

6.3.05

Running out of steam...

It's quite hard to keep blogging the bolivarian revolution. I started doing it in Nov 2002 and quite frankly I am getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of cohesion of the opposition movement as a whole; I see them as nothing more than a bunch of opportunists trying desperately to keep their parcels. They've got no soul nor do they seem to care about the future or the country. The political discourse in Venezuela is totally void of proposals, Chavez dictates the actions and everyone reacts and repeats his bullshit. Chavismo has become the dominant force in Venezuela through vote tampering that wasn't acted upon when due. Jimmy Carter, Cesar Gaviria, Jennifer McCoy... they all contributed to the assassination of our fragile and incipient democracy without hesitations or remorse. On the other hand being an activist against the president of the fifth largest oil producer in the world is not an easy task, one gets the cold shoulder from everyone everywhere for the prospects of profiting from the revolution is just such an attractive idea. Hence, is it of any value to continue denouncing and shedding light upon issues that no one seems to care about? At this point I don't know...

5.3.05

Chavez's chief apologist in the U.S. exposed as a fraud

Comment: the following is well worth a read to understand the “integrity” of Chavez’s lobby apparatus in the U.S. Alek Boyd, from vcrisis.com exposes the regime’s chief apologist in the U.S. as the fraud she’s always been. The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, and lobby firm Patton Boggs, come up with people like Eva Golinger to prove to the common folk of Venezuela (and the U.S.) that there is wide support for Chavez’s cause in the U.S and that the Bush administration is up to no good in Venezuela. This sort of disingenuous PR campaign has worked for others in the past, but Eva Golinger, a rather frequent “phone-in” guest in Chavez’s “Alo Presidente” is a testament to the mediocrity of those charged with developing U.S. based propaganda. After reading Alek’s superb sleuth piece, one would assume that Ms. Golinger will have a fun time filing her income taxes this coming April. PMB