Archive for February 23rd, 2005

Two looks at the Carter Center and Venezuela, then and now and tomorrow?

February 23, 2005

I view my role in this blog as simply providing information, I try to provide links and be at least consistent in what I say. I don’t claim I am even close at that. Being right is even further away from my thoughts. I have found that being right in politics is quite difficult and don’t even try to be right, just honest.


Today, someone in the comments section seemed to suggest the opposition (or me!) believed too much in the Carter Center. I did not; I wish I had been wrong! I still believe that we should ignore him and actually have never trusted him very much. I would not even bother meeting with him or his representatives tomorrow. One reader (AM) actually went through my blog and found my old quotes on Carter and his efforts. Another one (JA) reached a conclusion exactly the opposite of mine, thinks we should meet with the Carter Center, thus here are my old views, a Venezuelan that could care less about Carter and his efforts opinions and JA, an American that has shown to me cares as much about the fate of my country, as I do. JA’s opinions are taken directly from the comments section:


 


Miguel:


 


Nov 16th. 2002


 


My friends, this is fascism and Venezuela is slowly melting into a


dictatorship under the eyes of the stupid people like the Carter


Center, the OAS and Human Rights Watch who have played right into the


hands of the cynicism of the Chavez Government.


 


Oct. 12, 2002


 


Either he was naive and believed what our President told him or the


Carter Center received a contribution from the Venezuelan Government


that now stops them from speaking out. A few days ago I translated and


posted a very good article with the promises made by Hugo Chavez to


Jimmy Carter. Venezuelans are still waiting to hear from the Carter


Center on these issues.


 


The Carter Center published a denial about receiving a contribution


from the Venezuelan Government that was too carefully worded for my


taste. It says:


 


“Son erróneos los reportes recientes aparecidos en Venezuela que


indican que el Centro Carter habría recibido una donación de parte del


Gobierno venezolano en relación con la invitación para ayudar a


facilitar la reconciliación nacional y el diálogo. El Centro Carter no


ha aceptado y no aceptaría fondos de parte del Gobierno venezolano en


relación con este esfuerzo”


 


Translated:


 


“The reports that recently appeared in Venezuela which indicate that


the Carter Center received a donation from the Venezuelan Government


related to the invitation to help facilitate the dialogue and national


reconciliation are erroneous. The Carter Center has not accepted and


will not accept funds from the Venezuelan Government related to these


efforts”


 


Note how carefully it is stated TWICE using the word “related”  when


it says “related to the invitation” or “related to that effort”,


clearly defining that there is no donation in relation to the visit.


My reading is that the Center did receive a donation unrelated to the


visit to mediate between the Government and the opposition, likely


into some other project of the Carter Center. So far, the Carter


Center has not issued a denial that it NEVER received a donation from


the Hugo Chavez Government. Once the Chavez Government leaves, which


will happen soon, we will know the complete truth. The shame will now


taint not only Jimmy Carter’s  reputation, but also that of the Nobel


Peace Prize. (Well, maybe its too late for that anyway, didn’t they


give it to Arafat too?)


 


Dec. 6 2002


 


I have been warning in these pages since I began about the real Hugo


Chavez. Gaviria, Carter and HRW have played into his hands. Only


yesterday, the opposition had to cancel a march on fears that there


would be a massacre.


 


There is much more in my blog, but this should be enough to prove my point that we should not waste our time in meeting with the Carter Center.


 


JA, has an opposite opinion, despite reaching similar conclusions about Carter, she thinks the opposition should meet with Carter:


 


I do not hesitate to condemn the lack of leadership in the opposition. This has been a tragedy for Venezuela. But those who believe Carter had little to do with Chavez’s victory are missing something very, very important. Carter was the unofficial representative of the US government. His funding came from the US State Department. Additionally, in the months running up to the Referendum and on August 15, 2004 Carter was seen by the world as the most credible actor in Venezuelan politics. If the opposition told Chavez and the CNE (the electoral authority) to go to hell, the world would have turned their back on the opposition because Carter gave his blessing to the rules and regulations established by the CNE. So, the United States was giving the opposition no other choices but to accept Carter. What was the opposition supposed to do and who would have supported them in boycotting the RR?


 



Carter’s sole objective when he came to
Venezuela was to limit social violence, no matter the cost. He turned the other cheek while hundreds of thousands of people were illegally turned into citizens and registered to vote. He turned the other cheek when outrageous sums of public money were spent on Chavez’s campaign. He turned the other cheek when Chavez used public TV to campaign endlessly and illegally. He looked the other way as abuse after abuse was committed and delay after delay was made to push back the referendum to give Chavez time to buy and steal as many votes as he could before the RR. The opposition screamed many times, but if Carter had called the fairness of the RR into doubt, he would have risked pushing the country into social upheaval. So in his mind, it was better to go forward with a rigged election than see injuries and possibly death.


 


In the early morning hours of August 16 when the CNE announced the RR result, almost all in Venezuela knew a grand theft had taken place, even Carter realized, even if he could not be sure of the magnitude. He could have questioned the legitimacy of the result, requesting time for a full audit and investigation, but to do so would have risked social upheaval–the very thing he so desperately wanted to prevent. So in his mind, he chose the least bad option, endorsing a fraudulent election, something he had already been doing for months.


 


So now the Carter Center is back in Caracas. Why now? They could have returned when it was clear that Chavez was going to stack the Supreme Court again. They could have returned when it was clear that the muzzle law on the press was going to be approved. They could have returned when it became evident that Chavez was giving safe haven to Farc terrorists. But a complete breakdown of checks and balances and democratic institutions was not a grave enough crisis for Carter to get involved. It is only when the US govt starts to focus on Venezuela that Carter decides to get involved (by the way, Carter has been cut off from State Department funding). Why should this get Carter into gear? Ehud Barak (former Prime Minister of Israel) stated recently that when the US denounces tyrants and talks about spreading liberty, it emboldens dissidents and opposition grouped living under tyranny. Carter understands that a more focused US could give hope! To the opposition, and give them a reason to take to the streets to fight for liberty and democracy once again. So Carter must swing into action, and make a call for dialogue in an attempt to crush the oppositions struggle for democracy–because such a struggle could get violent.


 


So what should the opposition do to confront this man, who has helped to prop up and unbending authoritarian? Two choices: 1) in a calm, cool, organized way explain to the world the outrageous electoral abuses that took place under Carter’s watch, and note the contrast with the Ukraine. If the opposition pursues this strategy they must stick to undeniable facts (there are plenty of them) while avoiding unsubstantiated accusations. Of course, this strategy requires a reasonable competent spokesperson, and there are plenty. 2) A second, less compelling strategy would be to try to ignore Carter, downplaying his visit, providing the press with as little to write about. Hopefully Carter would exit the scene. I prefer option 1, if it were done properly.

Two looks at the Carter Center and Venezuela, then and now and tomorrow?

February 23, 2005

I view my role in this blog as simply providing information, I try to provide links and be at least consistent in what I say. I don’t claim I am even close at that. Being right is even further away from my thoughts. I have found that being right in politics is quite difficult and don’t even try to be right, just honest.


Today, someone in the comments section seemed to suggest the opposition (or me!) believed too much in the Carter Center. I did not; I wish I had been wrong! I still believe that we should ignore him and actually have never trusted him very much. I would not even bother meeting with him or his representatives tomorrow. One reader (AM) actually went through my blog and found my old quotes on Carter and his efforts. Another one (JA) reached a conclusion exactly the opposite of mine, thinks we should meet with the Carter Center, thus here are my old views, a Venezuelan that could care less about Carter and his efforts opinions and JA, an American that has shown to me cares as much about the fate of my country, as I do. JA’s opinions are taken directly from the comments section:


 


Miguel:


 


Nov 16th. 2002


 


My friends, this is fascism and Venezuela is slowly melting into a


dictatorship under the eyes of the stupid people like the Carter


Center, the OAS and Human Rights Watch who have played right into the


hands of the cynicism of the Chavez Government.


 


Oct. 12, 2002


 


Either he was naive and believed what our President told him or the


Carter Center received a contribution from the Venezuelan Government


that now stops them from speaking out. A few days ago I translated and


posted a very good article with the promises made by Hugo Chavez to


Jimmy Carter. Venezuelans are still waiting to hear from the Carter


Center on these issues.


 


The Carter Center published a denial about receiving a contribution


from the Venezuelan Government that was too carefully worded for my


taste. It says:


 


“Son erróneos los reportes recientes aparecidos en Venezuela que


indican que el Centro Carter habría recibido una donación de parte del


Gobierno venezolano en relación con la invitación para ayudar a


facilitar la reconciliación nacional y el diálogo. El Centro Carter no


ha aceptado y no aceptaría fondos de parte del Gobierno venezolano en


relación con este esfuerzo”


 


Translated:


 


“The reports that recently appeared in Venezuela which indicate that


the Carter Center received a donation from the Venezuelan Government


related to the invitation to help facilitate the dialogue and national


reconciliation are erroneous. The Carter Center has not accepted and


will not accept funds from the Venezuelan Government related to these


efforts”


 


Note how carefully it is stated TWICE using the word “related”  when


it says “related to the invitation” or “related to that effort”,


clearly defining that there is no donation in relation to the visit.


My reading is that the Center did receive a donation unrelated to the


visit to mediate between the Government and the opposition, likely


into some other project of the Carter Center. So far, the Carter


Center has not issued a denial that it NEVER received a donation from


the Hugo Chavez Government. Once the Chavez Government leaves, which


will happen soon, we will know the complete truth. The shame will now


taint not only Jimmy Carter’s  reputation, but also that of the Nobel


Peace Prize. (Well, maybe its too late for that anyway, didn’t they


give it to Arafat too?)


 


Dec. 6 2002


 


I have been warning in these pages since I began about the real Hugo


Chavez. Gaviria, Carter and HRW have played into his hands. Only


yesterday, the opposition had to cancel a march on fears that there


would be a massacre.


 


There is much more in my blog, but this should be enough to prove my point that we should not waste our time in meeting with the Carter Center.


 


JA, has an opposite opinion, despite reaching similar conclusions about Carter, she thinks the opposition should meet with Carter:


 


I do not hesitate to condemn the lack of leadership in the opposition. This has been a tragedy for Venezuela. But those who believe Carter had little to do with Chavez’s victory are missing something very, very important. Carter was the unofficial representative of the US government. His funding came from the US State Department. Additionally, in the months running up to the Referendum and on August 15, 2004 Carter was seen by the world as the most credible actor in Venezuelan politics. If the opposition told Chavez and the CNE (the electoral authority) to go to hell, the world would have turned their back on the opposition because Carter gave his blessing to the rules and regulations established by the CNE. So, the United States was giving the opposition no other choices but to accept Carter. What was the opposition supposed to do and who would have supported them in boycotting the RR?


 



Carter’s sole objective when he came to
Venezuela was to limit social violence, no matter the cost. He turned the other cheek while hundreds of thousands of people were illegally turned into citizens and registered to vote. He turned the other cheek when outrageous sums of public money were spent on Chavez’s campaign. He turned the other cheek when Chavez used public TV to campaign endlessly and illegally. He looked the other way as abuse after abuse was committed and delay after delay was made to push back the referendum to give Chavez time to buy and steal as many votes as he could before the RR. The opposition screamed many times, but if Carter had called the fairness of the RR into doubt, he would have risked pushing the country into social upheaval. So in his mind, it was better to go forward with a rigged election than see injuries and possibly death.


 


In the early morning hours of August 16 when the CNE announced the RR result, almost all in Venezuela knew a grand theft had taken place, even Carter realized, even if he could not be sure of the magnitude. He could have questioned the legitimacy of the result, requesting time for a full audit and investigation, but to do so would have risked social upheaval–the very thing he so desperately wanted to prevent. So in his mind, he chose the least bad option, endorsing a fraudulent election, something he had already been doing for months.


 


So now the Carter Center is back in Caracas. Why now? They could have returned when it was clear that Chavez was going to stack the Supreme Court again. They could have returned when it was clear that the muzzle law on the press was going to be approved. They could have returned when it became evident that Chavez was giving safe haven to Farc terrorists. But a complete breakdown of checks and balances and democratic institutions was not a grave enough crisis for Carter to get involved. It is only when the US govt starts to focus on Venezuela that Carter decides to get involved (by the way, Carter has been cut off from State Department funding). Why should this get Carter into gear? Ehud Barak (former Prime Minister of Israel) stated recently that when the US denounces tyrants and talks about spreading liberty, it emboldens dissidents and opposition grouped living under tyranny. Carter understands that a more focused US could give hope! To the opposition, and give them a reason to take to the streets to fight for liberty and democracy once again. So Carter must swing into action, and make a call for dialogue in an attempt to crush the oppositions struggle for democracy–because such a struggle could get violent.


 


So what should the opposition do to confront this man, who has helped to prop up and unbending authoritarian? Two choices: 1) in a calm, cool, organized way explain to the world the outrageous electoral abuses that took place under Carter’s watch, and note the contrast with the Ukraine. If the opposition pursues this strategy they must stick to undeniable facts (there are plenty of them) while avoiding unsubstantiated accusations. Of course, this strategy requires a reasonable competent spokesperson, and there are plenty. 2) A second, less compelling strategy would be to try to ignore Carter, downplaying his visit, providing the press with as little to write about. Hopefully Carter would exit the scene. I prefer option 1, if it were done properly.

The sleazy behavior of Venezuela’s Minister of Information William Izarra

February 23, 2005

While accusing the US of plotting against the Chavez Government and detailing the techniques that were supposedly being used against the absence of results and the abuses of Chávez and his revolution, Minister of Information Izarra was actually lying and being amazingly sleazy by making accusations that not only does he have no proof about, but he admitted that these were only suppositions.


Izarra is quickly becoming the Goebbels of this empty and sorry revolution and his most recent documents and his presentation yesterday simply prove it. There were two cases in which I think Izarra bordered on the unethical, proved he is cynical and showed he lost any scruples he may have had when in April 2002 he resigned  from the private TV station he used to work at over “principles’ that he clearly never had. Let’s look at two events that took place at the same press conference in which Izarra accused the US of lying and staring a campaign against the Chavez Governmen, as outlined in yesteardy’s postt:


 


–Izarra appeared to say that local newspaper El Nacional was receiving funds to publish information against the Chavez Government. Once El Nacional complained about the charges here is what Izarra said:


 


“I am responsible for what I say. I said that I would not be surprised if in the future we would find this type of behavior. I have never (!) accused El Nacional , it was a conditional statement”


 


Well, then what is wrong with anyone stating the facts about the poor performance of the Chavez admisnitartion, its autocratic nature and its association with well-known terrorists like Rodrigo Granda? There is no conditional involved here! We could use conditionals about Chavez “strange” relationship with Fidel Castro, but we refuse to go into that!


 


–Izarra also suggested (conditional again?) that British Journalist Phil Gunson (Miami Herald) was being financed by the US Government, while later admitting eh could not provide any proof. Here is what Gunson had to say about this:


 


“At the beginning the charges against me by the Minister seemed to me to be so funny and ridiculous, that I did not even think about replying to him”


 


However, later he realized how serious the charges were that pictures him as someone financed by unknown interests to damage the reputation of the Chávez Government.


 


Gunson said that the charges are a “low blow” and Izarra’s attitude is “disappointing”. Said Gunson “It is very delicate to damage your professional reputation inventing stories that they know are not true and they are admitting in front of the microphones they can not demonstrate. For a Minister to do this, is not just anything, for me it is clear that it is an attempt at intimidatng me”


 


Gunson added: “I can accept criticisms, it does not bother me that somebody makes observations about my work. What I find unacceptable is that I am being disqualified as a person. I hope we can overcome this impasse soon. I will not do anything about it, I do not want to escalate the fight. Up to recently I had, despite some reservations, a good personal relationship with the Ministry, It think Minister Izarra has made an effort to maintain fluid relationships with both Venezuelan and foreign reporters”


 


Finally he said:


 


“The funniest thing is that they present me as a spokesman or agent of provocation for the Bush Government…I am not, in any form a follower or sympathizer of US foreign policy. I have been very critical of the Bush Government. Bush, the same way  I have been critical about the behavior of the Venezuelan private media in the political crisis that this country went through in these three years. Venezuelan reporters know this”…Gunson reminded everyone that he is not American, he is British, a reporter that has been covei9ng Latin American for decades,” in situations that are more difficult than the Venezuelan one, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the “Southern Cone”countries with its darkest dictatorships and variants.. up to now , the behavior of the Government had been adequate”


 


Up to now…that seems to be a recent litany about the Venezuelan Government, whether talking about Justice, journalists, terrorism, corruption, abuse of power, individual freedom, you name it…

The sleazy behavior of Venezuela’s Minister of Information William Izarra

February 23, 2005

While accusing the US of plotting against the Chavez Government and detailing the techniques that were supposedly being used against the absence of results and the abuses of Chávez and his revolution, Minister of Information Izarra was actually lying and being amazingly sleazy by making accusations that not only does he have no proof about, but he admitted that these were only suppositions.


Izarra is quickly becoming the Goebbels of this empty and sorry revolution and his most recent documents and his presentation yesterday simply prove it. There were two cases in which I think Izarra bordered on the unethical, proved he is cynical and showed he lost any scruples he may have had when in April 2002 he resigned  from the private TV station he used to work at over “principles’ that he clearly never had. Let’s look at two events that took place at the same press conference in which Izarra accused the US of lying and staring a campaign against the Chavez Governmen, as outlined in yesteardy’s postt:


 


–Izarra appeared to say that local newspaper El Nacional was receiving funds to publish information against the Chavez Government. Once El Nacional complained about the charges here is what Izarra said:


 


“I am responsible for what I say. I said that I would not be surprised if in the future we would find this type of behavior. I have never (!) accused El Nacional , it was a conditional statement”


 


Well, then what is wrong with anyone stating the facts about the poor performance of the Chavez admisnitartion, its autocratic nature and its association with well-known terrorists like Rodrigo Granda? There is no conditional involved here! We could use conditionals about Chavez “strange” relationship with Fidel Castro, but we refuse to go into that!


 


–Izarra also suggested (conditional again?) that British Journalist Phil Gunson (Miami Herald) was being financed by the US Government, while later admitting eh could not provide any proof. Here is what Gunson had to say about this:


 


“At the beginning the charges against me by the Minister seemed to me to be so funny and ridiculous, that I did not even think about replying to him”


 


However, later he realized how serious the charges were that pictures him as someone financed by unknown interests to damage the reputation of the Chávez Government.


 


Gunson said that the charges are a “low blow” and Izarra’s attitude is “disappointing”. Said Gunson “It is very delicate to damage your professional reputation inventing stories that they know are not true and they are admitting in front of the microphones they can not demonstrate. For a Minister to do this, is not just anything, for me it is clear that it is an attempt at intimidatng me”


 


Gunson added: “I can accept criticisms, it does not bother me that somebody makes observations about my work. What I find unacceptable is that I am being disqualified as a person. I hope we can overcome this impasse soon. I will not do anything about it, I do not want to escalate the fight. Up to recently I had, despite some reservations, a good personal relationship with the Ministry, It think Minister Izarra has made an effort to maintain fluid relationships with both Venezuelan and foreign reporters”


 


Finally he said:


 


“The funniest thing is that they present me as a spokesman or agent of provocation for the Bush Government…I am not, in any form a follower or sympathizer of US foreign policy. I have been very critical of the Bush Government. Bush, the same way  I have been critical about the behavior of the Venezuelan private media in the political crisis that this country went through in these three years. Venezuelan reporters know this”…Gunson reminded everyone that he is not American, he is British, a reporter that has been covei9ng Latin American for decades,” in situations that are more difficult than the Venezuelan one, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the “Southern Cone”countries with its darkest dictatorships and variants.. up to now , the behavior of the Government had been adequate”


 


Up to now…that seems to be a recent litany about the Venezuelan Government, whether talking about Justice, journalists, terrorism, corruption, abuse of power, individual freedom, you name it…

Venezuelan Bishop dares to break silence on flood deaths

February 23, 2005

I have been mentioning for days that all the information I could gather indicated that the number of people who had died from the floods exceeded by far the sixty some number that has been officially announced by the Government via its spokesman the Minister of the Interior. However the media had chosen not to say anything for fear of having the Government accuse them of violating the media law, better known as the gag or muzzle law.


Today the silence was broken by the media paying attention to the statements made by the Arch-Bishop of Coro Roberto Luckert who said that the number of dead people was “many more” than the 62 officially reported.


 


“WE have information that things were worse than what the Government wants to make it look” added the Arch Bishop. He said that over one hundred people had lost their life in Santa Cruz de Mora alone when a river overflowed and filled a bus terminal full of passengers.


 


The Catholic priest said the Chavze Government was making a political campaign out of the tragedy, saying that he does not understand why the Government wants to hide the information about the dead and that the Government is giving away bags off food with the logo of Chavze’ part MVR.


 


“You don’t do politics with the misery and pain of others” said the Arch Bishop.


 


This is the same version of the facts I have been hearing for the last few days and posted about only after checking my facts with two of Caracas best known journalists.

Venezuelan Bishop dares to break silence on flood deaths

February 23, 2005

I have been mentioning for days that all the information I could gather indicated that the number of people who had died from the floods exceeded by far the sixty some number that has been officially announced by the Government via its spokesman the Minister of the Interior. However the media had chosen not to say anything for fear of having the Government accuse them of violating the media law, better known as the gag or muzzle law.


Today the silence was broken by the media paying attention to the statements made by the Arch-Bishop of Coro Roberto Luckert who said that the number of dead people was “many more” than the 62 officially reported.


 


“WE have information that things were worse than what the Government wants to make it look” added the Arch Bishop. He said that over one hundred people had lost their life in Santa Cruz de Mora alone when a river overflowed and filled a bus terminal full of passengers.


 


The Catholic priest said the Chavze Government was making a political campaign out of the tragedy, saying that he does not understand why the Government wants to hide the information about the dead and that the Government is giving away bags off food with the logo of Chavze’ part MVR.


 


“You don’t do politics with the misery and pain of others” said the Arch Bishop.


 


This is the same version of the facts I have been hearing for the last few days and posted about only after checking my facts with two of Caracas best known journalists.

The wisdom on Hugo Chavez: Capitalism and the extinction of life on Mars

February 23, 2005

 


 


This picture may be real after all!


 


Chavez today on his nationwide TV address on the evils of capitalism and the extinction of life in Mars :


“Capitalism makes democracy impossible. Capitalism makes social justice impossible. If we don’t change this system, the world is going to end. The eternal existence of our planet is not guaranteed. Look at other planets. In Mars there was water. It’s possible they will soon find remains of living beings. Who knows how many years ago there was life on Mars. Mars is very similar to Earth. It rotates around the sun almost the same as Earth. It’s very likely that there was life on Mars. It’s possible that the Martians couldn’t keep life going on their planet.”


 


     “Old Karl Marx was right. Capitalism, monopolies, the exploitation of man by man, Karl Marx’s theory was correct. We have to break this model of domination.’


 


Is he confusing Mars and the Soviet Union?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,241 other followers