28 April 2005

The Sins of Eva Golinger in the Big Apple: Alleged Charges of Fraud and Illegally Practicing Law in the U.S.A.

By Roberto Giusti | El Universal

Caracas 24 April 2005 | A young Venezuelan of British and Basque ancestry, Aleksander Boyd has done everything in his life: from being a small-scale miner in the jungles of Venezuela's Guayana region to becoming a “balsero del aire” (a person who boards a plane, instead of a boat or raft, to get away from Chávez). A geologist graduated from the University of London, for the last couple of years he has been coordinating an NGO (Proveo) headquartered in London, whose goals are rooted in counteracting the Chavista government’s information campaign overseas.

For that purpose, and with the help of 1,700 activists who, he assures, are spread throughout the world, he pursues an intense activity in “defense of democracy,” by means of his English and Spanish-language web page, and follows up on the propagandistic activities of the officialdom, one of whose props, attorney Eva Golinger, he alleges, has committed felonies in the United States.

RG: Do you consider Eva Golinger's allegations in her book, The Chávez Code, concerning United States intervention in the events of April 11, to be false?

AB: They are not false as pertains to the knowledge which the Government of the United States had about what was happening in Venezuela. What I do consider tendentious are her allegations concerning funds delivered to different parties and NGO’s. Those donations were made by the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID, organizations of a bipartisan nature and therefore are not illegal. Furthermore, the view that the funds received were for attempting the overthrow of the Chávez government is completely false.

RG: It is possible that you are right in that sense, but she presents declassified documents in which she proves there was knowledge on the part of United States diplomatic authorities of what was going to occur on April 11.

AB: Yes. Those documents she presents as being secret are really in the public domain and, therefore, any person can access them. If they were secret, she would not have been able to reveal them, for the simple reason that she would have been denied access to them. She obtains them through the Freedom of Information Act, a law promulgated by the Government of the United States. And, making use of this law, she had access to that documentation. Nothing extraordinary happened there.

RG: Public or private, those documents give an account of certain information in the hands of the United States Embassy in Caracas about what was being prepared.

AB: It seems the United States knew what was happening. At some point there were even communications taking place between the United States ambassador and some people in the Government, as well as people of the opposition. Now, I don’t think that they knew, a priori, what was going to happen and how it would happen.

RG: Having information about a plan is one thing, and participating in that plan is another thing.

AB: Exactly.

RG: Now, according to Golinger, the Government of the United States was implicated in the conspiracy.

AB: I don’t believe they were involved in any way.

RG: Nevertheless, Golinger quotes an alleged declassified cable message, whose copy does not appear in the book, wherein an official of the Embassy states that Carmona “is the right man for the right moment…”

AB: I have read various versions to that effect and, as for Carmona, I believe that he had the nerve to capitalize on a tremendously chaotic situation to satisfy his personal aspirations to become president. I don’t believe he had been pre-selected by the United States; nothing more, nothing less.

RG: But there stand Golinger and her book broadcasting that message everywhere.

AB: The Venezuelan Government is waging a strong campaign of disinformation and political propaganda abroad. They have allocated large sums towards these ends and Golinger is one of the key elements in this campaign. She was giving legal advice to the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO) in Washington when she hadn’t yet been admitted to the Bar Association as an attorney. She charged money for her services without meeting this requirement, and that is a felony.

RG: Did she work for that office as a lawyer or as an employee performing information and communication tasks?

AB: She gave legal advice to the VIO in the year 2003 and charged professional fees without being a member of the Bar Association. That is a felony. She alleges that her work was supervised by another lawyer; it has not been possible to determine who he or she is and where this supposed lawyer is. Therefore, I assume that she at least incurred upon the felony of misrepresentation, that is to say, of falsely presenting herself or alleging to have credentials which did not exist at the time. During investigations which I conducted, a posteriori, I discovered that she was admitted to the New York State Court System in the year 2005, that is to say, two years after having performed those services. Those are details which the United States authorities will have to investigate well in order to determine whether or not there were any criminal liabilities.

RG: Do you know Ms Golinger personally?

AB: No. I have maintained some electronic correspondence with her. Owing to Orlando Ochoa Terán’s publication in El Universal that she had received a couple of checks from the VIO office, it drew my attention to the fact that up until that point she had been maintaining an independent stance.

RG: Independent with respect to whom?

AB: She had been saying that she had nothing to do with the Government of Venezuela and then it made me very curious that she admitted having received those payments from the Government. Thus, there was indeed a connection, which is very unbecoming about her integrity as a person, as a professional, and as an activist. If, while abroad, you identify yourself as someone who supports Chávez’s revolution, that is fine, but if you identify yourself as being an independent and elsewhere it is discovered that you are receiving money from the Government, you lose whatever credibility you might otherwise have.

RG: That is to say, up until that point she was a disinterested activist who simply was working for love of the revolution.

AB: Only after Ochoa Terán made the allegation did she publicly admit having received payments from the Government.

RG: What specific tasks does she perform as an attorney?

AB: She is part of an 'urgent response team' created by the VIO. This team is made up of writers, academics, members of think tanks, whose job it is to counterattack editorials unfavorable to the government of Chávez. Thus, when some daily publishes negative opinions, a mechanism is set in motion, whereby dozens of persons write to the editors of the dailies, as readers, under the cloak of independent innocence, aiming to refute points of view presented in the articles or editorials. They never admit that they have written their emails at the express request of the Venezuelan Information Office.

RG: How do you know it’s the way you say it is?

AB: A while ago I wrote an article describing how, following a very harsh editorial in the Washington Post against Chávez, an employee of the VIO had sent 32 emails to an equal number of persons, asking them to voice their complaint to the newspaper's editor. The same thing happened in December with the Los Angeles Times. Thus, you never know when the editor of any one of these newspapers is going to decide to publish one of those messages without mentioning, because he or she does not know, the link which exists between and among all these people. What we have here is not a spontaneous act, but rather an order promptly obeyed.

RG: How do you know in such great detail that the VIO forwarded instructions to 32 persons?

AB: Because there is a requirement that all that information about Venezuela and the VIO, which I have published, be reported to the Foreign Agent Registration Unit of the Department of Justice. It is therefore a public matter and they are obligated to turn in information about their daily activities, about people with whom they maintain contacts, and about solicitations presented to them. That is how we are able to know that the VIO contacted many members of Congress before they went to Venezuela. The same thing happened with members of the Trans Africa Forum and Danny Glover. They pave the way and then send these people over on guided tours.

RG: Seen that way, that is nothing peculiar.

AB: Yes, it seems soft and naïve, but when these people go to Venezuela they only go to places determined by the Government and they see people assigned to them. Then they go back to the United States, having been converted into propagandists for the Chávez government. Thus, there is nothing genuine or spontaneous about that.

RG: It seems that there is little they can do in the face of the public opinion matrix present in the United States concerning the government of Chávez.

AB: Indeed. I don't think they have been successful. Not among liberals, not among conservatives, not among Democrats, nor among Republicans.

"She Solicited Funds Claiming False Tax-Exempt Status"

“In New York Eva Golinger founded an NGO, the Venezuela Solidarity Committee , which solicited public donations through her web page VenezuelaFoia.info. But the funny thing about the whole matter was she publicly alleged that the donations were exempt from income taxes because her NGO had received tax exemption under 501 C3, which exempted tax payers. I contacted U.S. tax authorities and we discovered that Golinger's NGO was not registered to accept contributions and therefore was not exempt from paying income tax on such receipts. That is also a felony, because in the United States one is not allowed to solicit funds from the public while claiming a false tax exempt status.

RG: In other words, it's a fraud.

AB: It is a fraud. She admits having received small donations, which didn’t amount to much. But those small donations were obtained by means of false affirmations concerning their tax status.

RG: Are you implying that Eva Golinger is a delinquent?

AB: I would not say that Golinger is a delinquent, however she has accepted, illegally, contributions based on false premises about the tax status of her NGO.

RG: Don’t you represent, for the opposition, what Golinger does for the Government? Aren’t you, on balance, an overseas propagandist for the opposition?

AB: I don’t consider myself to be a propagandist of the opposition, because I have no ties with any of those parties, nor have I ever had any. Nor have I received from the opposition help similar to what Golinger has received from the Government. As I already told you, she has been paid with official funds and recently published a book at whose launching were present the highest personalities of the Government, except president Chávez. She calls the President´s Sunday radio program and the microphones are made available to her. She thus has a very special connection with the regime, something I absolutely do not have with the Venezuelan opposition.

RG: Then what is your interest in all of this?

AB: I am an average citizen who is simply fed up with things as they are happening in my country and that has led me to take an active role. Not so much in politics, but more in providing information, from my point of view, which perhaps might not be impartial, about what is happening in Venezuela. But I am not financed by anybody. Many have accused me of receiving money from the opposition or from the Government of the United States.

RG: But you must be earning your living from some source.

AB: If, as they say, I were so subsidized, I would be a millionaire. But the truth is I work in a self-employed capacity and have a very small business importing natural and organic products from Latin America, specifically from Argentina and from the Dominican Republic. That is my source of income and nothing more.

Pots and Pans at Oxford

"It all began on the 17th of October of 2002, during a visit by president Chávez to Oxford University. At that time I was studying Geology at the University of London and when I found out that the President would give a talk on human rights I was really steamed and told myself that I should be there to make the truth be know, at least my truth".

"I got in touch with the organizers of the talk, asked them for an admission ticket, which they never gave me, and when I showed up at the venue they denied me admission. There, in the company of a friend from New Zealand, I decided to initiate a protest. It was then that the members of the presidential entourage began to film me and to insult me. Then other Venezuelans, who had gone to protest, showed up, people I didn't know at the time".

"The chavistas invited us to exchange punches, and at that point Roy Chaderton, Tarek William Saab and Rafael Ramírez approached the area where we were banging pots and pans. Tarek William approached me and in a throaty voice, with his face inches from mine, offered to smash my face in. That is what ultimately led me to found an NGO, to create a web page in English, and to involve myself in political activism. I finished my studies in Geology, wanting to work for PdVSA but, for now, I believe that would be impossible."

Translation by W.K.

9 April 2005

Spain violates EU regulations in arms sales to Venezuela

London 09.04.05 | In view of the utter silence of the anglo phone MSM with respect to recent announcements of chemical warfare agents and other weapons sold by Spain to Venezuela [1] I decided to dig a little and the findings, as usual, are rather grim. It turns out that Venezuela has been spending, since 2000 [2], substantial amounts of money in the procurement of defence and "Double Use" materials. According to Spain's Customs and Special Taxes Department of the Treasury €247.509 and €2.812.827 worth of defence and 'Double Use' materials were acquired by the Hugo Chavez administration in that year; in 2001 the figure dropped to €30.000 in defence [3] and augmented in 'Double Use' to €3.26 million [4]; then in 2002 the numbers were €3.63 million in category 7 (defence materials such as bombs, grenades, torpedoes, land mines and missiles) and €3.76 million respectively [5]; 2003 saw a decrease to €2.527.029 and €3.139.238 [6]; and lastly in 2004 reportedly Venezuela was the only country under the category "countries to which chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials were sold". Worth noting that the said category includes "biological and nerve agents destined to chemical warfare" of which Venezuela bought €30.374. Another €509.229 consisted of "paramilitary and security material" which encompasses "firearms or gas weapons, bombs, grenades, explosives, armoured and all terrain vehicles, water canons, telescopic sights and night vision devices, etc."

It remains unclear as yet whether or not the Chavez regime has definitely bought chemical warfare agents and radioactive materials for this year's report will not be available until May according to Pedro Mejia, Spain's Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce [7]. However it is, indeed, extremely worrying to learn about Hugo Chavez' spending spree in defence materials and even more so when one adds to the equation the ships, rifles, planes and helicopters recently ordered to Spain, Russia and Brazil and the covert conversations about missiles with North Korea. Further his announcement of the formation of a 1.5 million strong reservists army that will repel potential US military attacks and destroy Venezuela's oil installations if an invasion were ever to materialize coupled with the increasingly antagonistic and belligerent attitude towards those who have dared to criticized him in the international arena should have been enough for Spain and the EU to block the aforementioned weapons sales in compliance to the existing European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports [8], whose criteria to allow arms sales contains the following jewels:


The respect of human rights in the country of final destination


The internal situation in the country of final destination, as a function of the existence of tensions or armed conflicts


Preservation of regional peace, security and stability


The behaviour of the buyer country with regard to the international community, as regards in particular to its attitude to terrorism, the nature of its alliances and respect for international law


The existence of a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or reexported under undesirable conditions

There are other very interesting and just premises in the Code but, of course, to expect that spineless EU bureaucrats sitting in Brussels or immensely-grateful-towards-terrorists elected officials show any consideration for the well being of citizens of a Latin American banana republic and its neighbours is mere wishful thinking for one must not forget the widely espoused and ever appeasing behaviour of Europeans when it comes to dealing with third world ruthless rulers. What a rotten place this is...

2 April 2005

La alegría del venezolano

Por Adriana Pedroza

La gente suele decir, incluso con cierta dosis de orgullo, que el venezolano es alegre; que a pesar de las tragedias, de las crisis y de las dificultades que enfrenta, el venezolano siempre tiene una sonrisa en el rostro, un chiste a la mano, ánimos para festejar y muchas ocurrencias para reír.

Como siempre, Yo discuto esa supuesta alegría y le apuesto a la negligencia. Sí, el venezolano no es alegre, el venezolano es negligente, evasivo, cobarde e infantil y utiliza la careta de festivo para ocultar su miedo a la realidad, emplea el alcohol, las fiestas y el sexo para esconder su incapacidad de hacerle frente al futuro. Para muestra un personalmente doloroso botón.

Recientemente la Asamblea Nacional sancionó el nuevo Código Penal, un libro de terror que contiene imágenes como "
Cualquiera que vilipendiare públicamente a la Asamblea Nacional, al Tribunal Supremo de Justicia o al Gabinete o Consejo de Ministros, así como a alguno de los Consejos Legislativos de los Estados o algunos de los Tribunales Superiores, será castigado con prisión de quince días a diez meses." O también "Quien ofendiere de palabra o por escrito, o de cualquier otra manera irrespetare al Presidente de la República o a quien esté haciendo sus veces, será castigado con prisión de seis a treinta meses si la ofensa fuere grave, y con la mitad de ésta si fuere leve". Es decir, la asamblea nacional (las minúsculas son intencionales y reflejan mi grado de desprecio) decide ahora que la ofensa a los funcionarios públicos es penada con cárcel, y el tribunal supremo de justicia es quien decide la gravedad de la pena; eso entre tantas otras escenas de horror contenidas en el nuevo Código Penal. Ambos poderes están en manos del gran titiritero, quien tirará de la cuerda que desee para transmitirle su deseo de penalización a quien él quiera y cuando él quiera. ¿El alegre venezolano hizo algo para evitar la tiranía legal que se está implantando?

Nadie hizo nada. Lo discutieron, lo aprobaron y el venezolano estaba preparándose para disfrutar de la Semana Santa y dejar el estrés en una playa. Ni siquiera pueden darse cuenta de la gravedad de la reforma al Código Penal, porque no piensan, no enfrentan, simplemente evaden la realidad con una supuesta alegría sazonada con alcohol y música (por demás pésima).

La Ley de Educación será reformada y los estudiantes universitarios no hacen nada, muchos ni están enterados de que su futuro profesional está en peligro. Apenas algunos padres tratan de organizarse para hacer frente a esta nueva agresión gubernamental. Pero ¿dónde están los universitarios que antaño defendían la autonomía de las universidades? ¿dónde están los jóvenes que serán directamente afectados por esta reforma? Probablemente tengan una resaca por la última rumba o estén muy ocupados en "estar al día" con las últimas tendencias de la moda, o quizá su problema más grave sean los puntos negros en la nariz o la flacidez de sus muslos. No discuten, no tienen propuestas, no conversan con sus padres acerca de lo que será su futuro como profesionales y ciudadanos de un país que se deshace en sus narices.

Muchas otras leyes están en discusión en la Asamblea Nacional. Mientras los venezolanos demuestran su alegría al mundo, un grupo político teje las redes para atrapar a todo aquel que se salga del área de conveniencia. Mientras el venezolano se preocupa por la próxima fiesta, el próximo fin de semana, el próximo viaje, un grupo de personas se ocupa de levantar las paredes de la prisión en que serán todos encerrados, y lo están haciendo de manera legal, eso es lo más patético de la situación actual. El venezolano cree que lo peor ya pasó, cree que estará a salvo si no se mete en asuntos políticos, cree que el agua no le llegará a su puerta. Es impresionante cómo un país entero no puede ver el muro de piedras que se está levantando a su alrededor y sigue festejando como si todo estuviera "excesivamente normal".

Gracias a los niveles de los precios del petróleo, Venezuela está viviendo una relativa apariencia de recuperación económica y la gente está comprando esta fantasía de crecimiento económico y supuesto bienestar, pagando a crédito con el futuro del país.

Lo verdaderamente aterrorizante es que -de seguir la estrategia mantenida hasta ahora- el gobierno no va a aplicar bruscamente todas las leyes que está introduciendo, sino que atacará a sus enemigos directos y el venezolano común pensará que si no se mete con el gobierno no debe preocuparse por su integridad física y puede disfrutar del bienestar material que le "asegura" el régimen. Así, la asamblea nacional seguirá aprobando leyes que sólo les convengan a ellos y la gente se quedará tranquila, creyendo que no es tan malo como los opositores habían anunciado. Pero, luego de las próximas elecciones presidenciales, cuando vuelva a ganar el mismo personaje, existirá el cuerpo legal perfecto para la represión de toda manifestación opositora en todas las áreas de interés público y privado.

Cuando bajen los precios del petróleo y los venezolanos se den cuenta que estaban nadando en un espejismo de abundancia, no existirá nada parecido a la libertad de expresión, porque toda expresión será legítimamente combatida con el aparato legal de represión que están construyendo hoy, en la cara de todos los venezolanos, mientras éstos se divierten y juegan a ser los más alegres del mundo.

Están destruyendo el futuro de Venezuela en su cara, están envenenando la libertad, están acabando con cualquier posibilidad de salida democrática a la crisis que seguimos viviendo aunque la gente no quiera creer que las cosas no están bien. No hay seguridad pública, en Venezuela el Estado de Derecho está muriendo en las narices de los dolientes, lo están matando y nadie quiere darse cuenta de ello.

De manera que cuando en un futuro no muy lejano usted despierte y se de cuenta que no tiene derechos, cuando abra los ojos y quiera manifestar su desacuerdo con algo y termine preso, cuando quiera moverse libremente y sienta las cadenas en su cuerpo, por favor, no vaya a decir que todo eso pasó porque no hay líderes, porque mientras los líderes quizá lo estaban haciendo mal, usted de seguro estaba muy ocupado trabajando duro y sin tiempo para ocuparse de política, y el poco tiempo libre que tenía lo usó para ir de rumba y ahogar el estrés en un escocés mayor de edad. Y mientras tanto, algunos que trataron de advertir lo que se avecinaba estarán muy lejos de aquí o en alguna cárcel política.

El futuro comienza en el mismo momento en que se nombra con el pensamiento. Basta con pensar en él y aparece. En futuro se construye a cada minuto, no deje que muera de inanición mientras usted se ocupa de "cosas importantes", porque mañana puede que no haya un hombro donde llorar. Olvídese de ser alegre, porque no en este país no existen motivos de alegría, comience a ocuparse en los asuntos políticos, hágale frente a la realidad y piense y discuta qué puede hacer para contribuir al cambio que necesita el país. Comience a hacerlo ya, porque el futuro está aquí y ahora esperando por usted.