Thursday, April 14, 2011

Venezuelans Celebrate Rescue of Democracy as Threats Continue

By Eva Golinger

This week, Venezuelans commemorated the 9-year anniversary of the failed coup d’etat that briefly ousted President Chavez from power and dissolved the nation’s democracy, installing a US-backed dictatorship. In an extraordinary turn of events, a popular uprising crushed the coup just hours later

This Wednesday, April 13, thousands of Venezuelans marched on the nation’s capital, celebrating what has come to be known as the “Day of Civil-Military Strength and Dignity”. It was nine years ago on this day that millions of Caracas residents, together with loyal armed forces and the Presidential Guard, defeated a US-backed coup d’etat that had forcefully taken power just 48 hours prior.

The coup, executed by business leaders, corrupt union officials, private media owners, power-hungry military officers, former ruling-party politicians and “civil society” organizations - all financially and politically supported by US government agencies, the State Department and the White House (see “The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” by Eva Golinger, Olive Branch Press 2006) - succeeded briefly in ousting President Chavez and his government from power on April 11, 2002.

Utilizing images manipulated by private television station, Venevision, the coup forces justified their actions by blaming the violence and deaths that occured that day on the Venezuelan head of state. In reality, as top secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents have revealed, the coup was planned in the days and weeks prior to its execution. The objective was to use an anti-Chavez protest to provoke violence and unrest in the capital, Caracas, putting into action a detailed plot using snipers to fire on the crowds, causing deaths and injuries, which would be blamed on the government, justifying its ouster. As one top secret, now partially-declassifed CIA document from April 6, 2002 (5 days before the coup took place) outlines, after the violence was provoked by coup forces, “President Chavez and other top members in his cabinet...would be arrested” and a “transitional government” would be installed.

Chavez was detained by force on the evening of April 11, 2002, and kidnapped by dissident military officers, on the orders of the coup leaders. Meanwhile, the US ambassador in Caracas, Charles Shapiro, was coordinating the actions on the ground with media owners, metropolitan police forces involved in the sniper shootings, and of course the business and political leaders that forcefully took over the government. Documentary evidence proves that Shapiro held several meetings and conversations during the events of April 11, 2002, with the metropolitan police commissioner, Henry Vivas, as well as with Gustavo Cisneros, owner of Venevision, and Pedro Carmona, who subsequently took over the presidency and declared himself head of state.


As the coup unfolded and Carmona, then head of Venezuela’s chamber of commerce, Fedecamaras, unilaterally and illegally swore himself into office as president, the constitutional president, Hugo Chavez, was held hostage and incomunicado on a small island military base off Venezuela’s coast. The only non-private national television station, state-owned VTV, was taken off the air by then governor of the state of Miranda, Enrique Mendoza, in an effort to silence pro-Chavez forces and conceal information and events from the people. Private media - all involved in the coup - broadcast cartoons, old movies and soap operas, while print media published articles justifying and supporting the “transition government”.

Before an audience of about 400 people in the presidential palace, Miraflores, Pedro Carmona issued a decree dissolving all of the nation’s democratic institutions: the Supreme Court, the National Assembly (Congress), the Attorney General, Public Defender, Comptroller, the Executive cabinet, and even the national Constitution. Police forces, under the control of the coup regime, repressed pro-Chavez protestors in the streets, killing and injuring over 100 people during those hours.

But despite the media blackout on the real events that were taking place, millions of Venezuelans, unwilling to accept the disappearance of their constitutionally-elected president and the imposition of a dictatorship that openly dissolved their democracy, took to the streets in protest. Armed forces loyal to President Chavez began taking over military barracks and urging people to come out in the streets to express their popular will. Within hours, the presidential palace was flooded with demonstrators, demanding the return of President Chavez and the ouster of the coup government.

Meanwhile, a low-ranking soldier guarding Chavez, urged the Venezuelan chief to write a note saying he was alive and still President of Venezuela, pledging he would find a way to get the letter into the public light. He succeeded. The famous letter, written in Chavez’s unmistakable handwriting, declaring the Venezuelan president had never “renounced the legitimate power given to him by the people”, made it into the hands of military forces loyal to their Commander in Chief. A rescue mission was immediately activated and Chavez was flown back in a helicopter to the presidential palace right around midnight on April 13.

The millions that surrounded the palace, together with the loyal presidential guard, were able to force out the coup leaders, who incredulously emptied the presidential safes and stole as much as they could before escaping. As Chavez descended from the helicopter, cries and cheers were heard from the crowd. An extraordinary feeling of community power, justice and love eminated from those who had risked their lives to rescue their democracy, their constitution, their president, and most of all, their dignity.


During the celebration this Wednesday, President Chavez, speaking before a volumunious crowd that marched to the presidential palace grounds, reaffirmed that “Nobody can topple our Revolution again”, warning those who continue with destabilization plans that they will be “swept away” and “never return”.

As the crowds chanted “The people united will never be defeated”, the Venezuelan President, reflected on the events 9 years ago, “They came at us with a coup backed by powerful interests, the US government and the elite, but they were met but something even more powerful: the people of Venezuela and our real soldiers”.

Nonetheless, the majority of those involved in the coup remain present in Venezuelan politics today, still aiming to oust Chavez’s government and put an end to the Bolivarian Revolution. During the 9 years since the coup, US government funding for opposition groups and parties in Venezuela has increased exponentially, reaching nearly $15 million annually from State Department agencies alone.

Several of the key members of the coup, who were given amnesty by President Chavez in 2007 in an attempt to promote national dialogue, today hold positions in regional governments (governors and mayors), and in the nation’s National Assembly. From these legitimate platforms, they continue to conspire against the Chavez administration.

Ironically, during this week’s coup anniversary, one participant in the April 2002 events, Maria Corina Machado, now a member of the National Assembly, was invited by the Department of State to dictate several conferences in the US, including one in Miami titled “600 Days to Eradicate Authoritarianism: Transforming Venezuela”. While in Miami, Machado “celebrated” with a community of self-exiled Venezuelans, many of whom played key roles in the coup. Machado is slated to be an opposition contender in Venezuela’s presidential elections in 2012.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obama Requests Funding For Venezuelan Opposition in 2012 Budget


The US government is setting the terrain for the 2012 presidential elections in Venezuela, soliciting funding to back anti-Chavez groups and help prepare a "candidate" to oppose Chavez. Republicans call for an "embargo" against the oil-producing nation

This week, US President Barack Obama presented Congress with a $3.7 trillion dollar budget for 2012, the most expensive budget in United States history. Within his massive request, which proposes cuts in important social programs and federal jobs throughout the country, is a partition for special funding for anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela.

Included in the whopping $3.7 trillion request is over $670 billion for the Pentagon's ever-increasing annual budget, nearly $75 billion for the intelligence community and $55.7 billion for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

For the first time in recent history, the Foreign Operations Budget (State Department) openly details direct funding of at least $5 million to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela. Specifically, the budget justification document states, "These funds will help strengthen and support a Venezuelan civil society that will protect democratic space and seek to serve the interests and needs of the Venezuelan people. Funding will enhance citizens' access to objective information, facilitate peaceful debate on key issues, provide support to democratic institutions and processes, promote citizen participation and encourage democratic leadership".

While the descriptive language justifying the diversion of millions in US taxpayers dollars to fund political groups in a foreign nation may sound "pretty", this type of funding has been a principal source of promoting subversion and destabilization in Venezuela against the democratic and majority-supported government of Hugo Chavez during the past eight years. According to public documents, just between the years 2008 to 2011, the US State Department channeled more than $40 million to the Venezuelan opposition, primarily directing those funds to electoral campaigns against President Chavez and propaganda slated to influence Venezuelan public opinion.

The funding requested in Obama's 2012 budget for anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela comes from a State Department division titled "Economic Support Fund" (ESF), which per State spokesman Philip Crowley, is used to fund NGOs and other non-governmental groups in "key strategic and important countries" for Washington. On top of the ESF funds for the Venezuelan opposition, additional multimillion-dollar financing for political campaigns, media propaganda and other destabilization activities in the South American nation is channeled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and various other US and international agencies that support groups around the world who promote US agenda.


The State Department's public disclosure of 2012 funding for the Venezuelan opposition comes just after the Venezuelan National Assembly passed a law prohibiting foreign funding for political activities in late December 2010. The Law in Defense of Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination clearly renders all foreign funding for political campaigns, parties and organizations, including NGOs, that engage in political activities, illegal. How exactly does Washington propose to channel those $5 million to Venezuelan groups, when such financing clearly constitutes a violation of Venezuelan law?

In previous years, the Foreign Operations Budget never explicity detailed direct State funding to political groups in Venezuela. Since 2002, Washington has used an office of USAID, the Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI), to filter its multimillion-dollar funding to its Venezuelan counterparts. The OTI office, which was run like a clandestine operation in Caracas and never had authorization from the Venezuelan government to set up shop in the country, abruptly closed its doors at the end of 2010 and transferred its activities to Washington, and Miami. It was the longest running OTI operation in US history.

Clearly, funding and political support for the Venezuelan opposition has now been given a top priority and will be handled directly by the State Department.

The funds requested in the State Department's budget for 2012 most likely will be directed towards political campaigns, since Venezuela has both key presidential and regional elections that year.

The State Department budget also requests $20 million in funding for anti-Castro groups in Miami and elsewhere to continue efforts to undermine the Cuban Revolution.

Do US taxpayers know their hard-earned dollars are going to fund political activities in other nations instead of being invested in jobs, healthcare and social programs in their own country?


This week Republican congressman and Head of the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs for the Western Hemisphere, Connie Mack, called on the Obama administration to impose an economic embargo against Venezuela, citing alleged links to terrorist groups as justification.

Mack, a neoconservative representing Southern Florida, also requested the US include Venezuela on this year's "state sponsors of terrorism" list, a petition the congressman has made unsuccessfully during the last three years.

During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Mack referred to the democratically-elected Venezuelan President as a "thugocrat" who uses "weapons" such as "oppression, aggression, terrorism and drugs" to "destroy liberty and democracy in Latin America".

Mack did not present any evidence to back his outrageous claims. The Floridian Republican went so far as to allege that President Hugo Chavez "has become the Osama bin Laden and the Ahmadineyad of the Western Hemisphere".

During the past several years, right-wing sectors in Washington have escalated calls for direct aggression and intervention against Venezuela. Their cries have been accompanied by an increased funding for anti-Chavez groups with the hopes of fomenting destabilization and unrest in Venezuela, while working internationally to "isolate" the Venezuelan government and demonize President Chavez himself.

Nonetheless, the Venezuelan head of state retains a near 60% popularity at home and is one of the most admired leaders worldwide.

Monday, February 7, 2011

USAID Cierre Programa Injerencista en Venezuela

Por Eva Golinger

Creada en 2002, la llamada Oficina de Iniciativas hacia una Transición (OTI, por sus siglas en inglés), que financió con millones de dólares a esfuerzos para desestabilizar a Venezuela y remover al Presidente Chávez del poder, por fin ha cerrado sus puertas luego de múltiples denuncias sobre sus actividades subversivas

Cuando Russell Porter, el director de la Oficina de Iniciativas hacia una Transición (OTI), (una división de la Agencia International del Desarrollo de Estados Unidos (USAID) dedicada a la promoción de "transiciones" en países estratégicamente importantes para Washington), vino a Venezuela por primera vez en enero 2002, su tarea era "evaluar la situación política" para determinar como USAID mejor podría ayudar con una "transición hacia la democracia".

Pero el objetivo real no era apoyar la democracia en Venezuela, ya que Venezuela tenía un gobierno democrático apoyado por la mayoría del país. La misión de la USAID, junto a otras agencias de Washington, era impulsar un "cambio de régimen" favorable a los intereses estadounidenses, y eso significaba sacar al Presidente Hugo Chávez del poder.

De un principio, el programa de la USAID en Venezuela - que fue establecido pocas semanas después de la visita de Porter - estaba dedicado a financiar y asesorar a partidos políticos, organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG), y medios de comunicación vinculados con el sector anti-chavista. Tres meses después del viaje de Porter al país suramericano, hubo un golpe de estado contra el Presidente Chávez, que luego de su éxito inicial, fue derrotado en menos de 48 horas por el pueblo venezolano. La mayoría de los grupos y actores involucrados en el golpe habían ya recibido un financiamiento multimillonario de la USAID y otra agencia estadounidense, la National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


Durante sus primeros dos años de operaciones, la USAID/OTI en Venezuela manejó un presupuesto de más de 10 millones de dólares, financiando alrededor de 64 grupos y programas de la oposición en Venezuela. Gran parte de este financiamiento fue dirigida a la propaganda anti-chavista en los medios de comunicación durante un "paro patronal" a finales del 2002, y luego para respaldar la campaña del referéndum revocatorio para intentar revocar el mandato del Presidente Chávez.

Grupos opositores como Súmate, CEDICE, Primero Justicia, la CTV, Fedecámaras y otros, fueron los principales receptores de estos fondos, y los líderes de los esfuerzos de desestabilización en el país.

Fracasando en sus intentos de remover al Presidente venezolano de su cargo legítimo, en 2005, la USAID/OTI aumentó su presupuesto y reorientó su estrategia en Venezuela, está vez enfocando en un sector que aún no había sido explotado: la juventud.

Del 2006 al 2010, más de 34% del presupuesto multimillonario de la USAID/OTI en Venezuela - que llegó hasta 15 millones de dólares anuales - fue dirigido al financiamiento y asesoría de un movimiento "estudiantíl" y juvenil de la oposición. Talleres sobre como mejor utilizar redes sociales, como Twitter y Facebook, para facilitar un "cambio de régimen", o programas de capacitación del "liderazgo" entre jóvenes, fueron promovidos por todo el país, con el sello de la USAID.

El dinero fue efectivo. Nació un "movimiento estudiantíl" de la oposición - las "manos blancas" - que atrajo la atención mundial con sus protestas contra el gobierno venezolano y sus tácticas innovadoras, todas tomadas de los manuales y guiones de las agencias de Washington y sus socios, como el Instituto Albert Einstein y Gene Sharp - el "guru" de las llamadas "revoluciones de colores" en Europa Oriental.

Pero a pesar de la inversión multimillonaria en la oposición venezolana, no lograban su objetivo principal. Más bien, la popularidad del Presidente Hugo Chávez seguía creciendo, y los vínculos entre los grupos opositores y sus financistas y asesores estadounidenses los hacían menos atractivos.


Para el año 2010, el financiamiento externo a grupos de la oposición en Venezuela llegó a más de 57 millones de dólares. Esta inmensa injerencia en los asuntos internos en Venezuela, y la violación de su soberanía, fue comprobada con documentos desclasificados del gobierno estadounidense, tanto como por informes públicos emitidos por instituciones internacionales, como la Fundación de Relaciones Internacionales y Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) en España.

Al mismo tiempo, la presencia de la USAID en Venezuela nunca fue legítima - jamás fue autorizada por el estado venezolano, algo que evidenciaba una extrema violación de la soberanía nacional. A cambio de sus programas en otros países, que normalmente son realizados a través de acuerdos con las autoridades, en el caso de Venezuela, la USAID/OTI operaba de forma ilegal, semi-clandestina y subversiva.

Desde Venezuela, las denuncias sobre ese financiamiento desestabilizador por fin fueron escuchadas por las autoridades, y a finales del 2010 fue aprobada la Ley de Defensa de la Soberanía Política y la Auto-Determinación Nacional, prohibiendo el financiamiento externo para fines políticos en el país.

¿Será que USAID decidió obedecer la ley venezolana? ¿Se dio cuenta que había perdido sus millones de dólares en una oposición fraudulente e incapáz de retomar el poder? ¿O simplemente está reestructurando su estrategia contra el gobierno venezolano, buscando otros canales para seguir financiando y apoyando a sus aliados?

Lo cierto es que no terminará ni el flujo de dólares a los grupos que promueven la agenda estadounidense en Venezuela, ni acabará la injerencia imperial en el país. Pero, el cierre de la oficina de USAID en Venezuela es un logro de la Revolución y un paso gigante hacia la soberanía nacional.

PD: La denuncia persistente a veces funciona, aunque el adversario sea poderoso, el compromiso con la justicia y la verdad siempre vencerá.

[Página oficial de la USAID en Venezuela: Programa Ahora Cerrado!]

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Thanks to all for reading my work. While I am pleased to be mentioned in the New York Times, I am a bit disappointed with the profile piece about me that was published today, Saturday, February 5, 2011. The article makes me sound like some kind of propaganda queen for the Venezuelan government, which I am not. I was very clear during the interview that I am independent, nobody tells me what to do. I choose my work, I choose my subjects, I write what I wish, and as far as the newspaper, Correo del Orinoco International goes, (for which I am proudly Editor-in-Chief), it is publicly-funded by not "run" by the government. It is a public foundation with funding from the annual public budget approved by parliament. However, in the little more than a year that I have been Editor-in-Chief of the English-language newspaper, not once has anyone ever told me what to write, or not write, about. I have 100% editorial discretion. All my books (there are six of them) have been published by different publishers worldwide, not just in Venezuela and Cuba. The Chavez, Code, my first book, which is being made into a feature film by an independent French film company, has been translated and published in 8 languages - English (original), Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Farsi and Turkish. And my new television show, Detrás de la Noticia (Behind the News) on RT Spanish, which can be viewed worldwide on different cable and satellite servers, is also completely under my own discretion. I choose the topics and say what I wish, no censorship, no orders, just full independence.

So, I am disappointed that the Times article made me sound otherwise and just wanted to include this brief disclaimer about the piece. It's also unfortunate that there is little or no mention of my motivations for the work I do. I am and will always be a fighter for social justice. Venezuela is undergoing a profound transformation process based on principles of social justice, and I defend its path. I am proud and privileged to participate in the construction of this new patria and will forever fight against and denounce any illegitimate attempts to undermine or destroy the will and sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Venezuela, an American Has the President’s Ear

By Simon Romero, The New York Times
original: here

SLIP into Librerías del Sur, a chain of state bookstores. Read a state newspaper. Turn on state television. Listen to state radio. Eva Golinger, a New Yorker who speaks Spanish with a thick American accent, seems to be expounding everywhere these days on the threats to this country’s so-called “Bolivarian revolution.”

Welcomed into President Hugo Chávez’s fold to such an extent that she accompanied him on a recent trip to Iran, Libya and Syria, Ms. Golinger, a lawyer who first came to Venezuela in the 1990s to research her family’s history, has created a unique niche for herself here: an American with the president’s ear.

She details in her writings what she contends are Washington’s efforts to destabilize Venezuela’s government, interpreting documents obtained in the United States through the Freedom of Information Act. Publishers here and in Cuba have printed more than 200,000 copies of her 2006 book on these claims, “The Chávez Code.”

She has since emerged as one of the most prominent fixtures of Venezuela’s expanding state propaganda complex. Reviled by the president’s critics, she appears on state television whenever tension ratchets up between Washington and Caracas, as it did recently in a spat over ambassadors, to explain the motives of the “empire,” the term used here for the United States.

She also edits the English-language edition of Correo del Orinoco, Venezuela’s equivalent of the Cuban newspaper Granma, and maintains a widely read blog called “Postcards from the Revolution,” which features a photograph of her clad in red, the color of Mr. Chávez’s movement.

“I’m a soldier for this revolution,” Ms. Golinger, 37, said in an interview at a cafe near her apartment in La Florida district. “I’d do whatever asked of me for this country.”

Her zeal invokes earlier waves of political pilgrims in Latin America from rich countries, like the volunteers who cut Cuban sugar cane in the 1960s or the Sandalistas, the idealists who flocked to Nicaragua in the 1980s (often clad in sandals) to support the Sandinistas.

But Ms. Golinger is a far cry from a Sandalista. She eschews the self-effacing style of some other leftist American transplants here. Instead, she has stepped to the fore and emerged as a symbol of Venezuela’s simmering polarization, with her televised claims of American-backed coup-plotting and conspiracy.

Some affected by Ms. Golinger’s accusations say they amount to a modern-day witch hunt.

“Golinger has systematically attacked defenders of human rights and freedom of expression by presenting them as puppets of Washington, something far from the truth,” said Andrés Cañizález, who came under her scrutiny for heading a press freedom group that received financing from the National Endowment for Democracy.

“Paradoxically she uses a right established in the United States, of access to public information, which Venezuelans do not have,” Mr. Cañizález said.

HER influence here has increased to the point where the National Assembly approved in December what is often called the “Golinger Law,” a measure intended to limit foreign financing for rights groups, political parties and other nonprofit organizations, some of which are critical of Mr. Chávez.

Her influence extends to the president himself. In October, she accompanied Mr. Chávez on a seven-country tour that included visits with Venezuelan allies like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. “Chávez presented me as his defender to Ahmadinejad,” said Ms. Golinger, describing the Iranian leader as “gentle” after giving him her book at a dinner.

She came away from the trip with her own appreciation of other Venezuelan allies like President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus, who is often called Europe’s last dictator.

After meeting Mr. Lukashenko in person, she described him as “really nice.” As for Belarus itself, she said its Western critics were mistaken because it is “not a dictatorship.” Rather, she said, “It is socialism.” She praised a Belarussian agricultural town she visited. “People seemed really into their communal work and stuff like that,” she said.

A seat on Mr. Chávez’s Airbus was not always in the cards for the woman born Eve Golinger at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Her father, a psychiatrist, served as an officer during the Vietnam War. She grew up without speaking Spanish and attended Sarah Lawrence College, near New York City.

Curiosity about her roots brought her to Venezuela in the 1990s. She said the family of her mother, an American lawyer, had lived in Cuba and Venezuela before immigrating to New York in the early 20th century. Ms. Golinger settled in Mérida, a student city in the Andes, singing in a jazz band to pay her rent.

After several years in Venezuela, she married one of the band members and they moved back to New York, where she earned a law degree at the City University of New York. But she said the marriage came under strain as she grew more involved in pro-Chávez political activities.

“He didn’t like what I was doing, so it was the reason for the split,” Ms. Golinger said. She then settled here in 2005, after obtaining Venezuelan citizenship in 2004 thanks to legislation that she said allowed her to “reclaim” it because of her ancestry.

CRITICS and supporters alike agree that she has influenced the public debate here and in neighboring countries. While much of her activism is rooted in distrust over American financing for groups that were critical of Mr. Chávez during the chaotic events surrounding his brief ouster in 2002, governments in several other countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, have heightened scrutiny of financing sources for nongovernmental groups.

“No one else has been able to bring so much attention to declassified documents over such a long period,” said Jeremy Bigwood, an investigative journalist in Washington who has collaborated with Ms. Golinger.

Still, some who have worked with her question her methods. Before a 2007 vote on constitutional reforms, she helped publicize a document that she said was intercepted by Venezuelan counterintelligence officials. It described “Operation Pliers,” presumably a C.I.A. “psyops” destabilization project.

“It sounded like it was lifted from a second-rate story on TV,” said Mr. Bigwood, questioning why it was written in Spanish, not in English, and how a C.I.A. field officer could have written directly to the agency’s head. He compared it to a notorious 1924 British forgery of a Bolshevik letter that ended the first Labour government.

“Like the Zinoviev letter, it was a fake designed to change the course of an election,” Mr. Bigwood said. Ms. Golinger called the Operation Pliers episode “unfortunate,” saying that she had since grown more skeptical of some documents she was asked to analyze.

Coincidentally, Americans will soon get more exposure to Ms. Golinger by way of Russia. This year she began hosting a weekly program called “Behind the News” for the Spanish-language operation of RT, a multilingual news network financed by Russia’s government. The program will be available on some cable channels in the United States.

At the same time, she said, she planned on continuing to appear on state television programs like “La Hojilla,” or “The Razor Blade,” a nightly talk show that the government here often uses to attack its critics.

When asked whether it was appropriate to use state media to go after the president’s critics, she contended that his opponents were just as quick to heap scorn on the government.

“I don’t think it’s a question of validity,” she said. “It’s the reality of the situation.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Venezuela: Miguel Henrique Otero pidió financiamiento del gobierno de Estados Unidos para El Nacional

Por Eva Golinger

En un cable de la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Caracas obtenido por Wikileaks se evidencia la estrecha relación entre los medios privados en Venezuela y el gobierno de Washington. El cable, de fecha 23 de febrero del 2010, además revela una solicitud por parte del dueño del periódico El Nacional, con tendencia anti-chavista, para obtener financiamiento del gobierno de Estados Unidos y otras instituciones o inversionistas extranjeras.

Según el cable, el periódico El Nacional, uno de dos principales diarios del país, tenía dificultades financieras debido a una caída en publicidad. "Para mantener vivo a El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero le preguntó al Embajador si la Embajada sabía de fuentes de financiamiento privado que les podría ayudar en el exterior, o a cambio, si el Gobierno de Estados Unidos les podría ayudar".

Otero había dicho al Embajador de Estados Unidos en Caracas, Patrick Duddy, que sin esa asistencia, El Nacional "quebrará en abril" de 2010.

Aparentamente Otero obtuvo una respuesta positiva de la Embajada, ya que hasta la fecha, El Nacional sigue publicando sin haberse quebrado.

El cable de la Embajada también revela una serie de reuniones entre el Embajador Duddy y los dueños de medios de comunicación en Venezuela. Además de la reunión con Otero, el 19 de febrero del 2010, Duddy recibió a los dueños de Globovisión, Nelson Mezherane y Guillermo Zuloaga, antes de sus huidas del país. Ambos se fugaron de Venezuela semanas después de ser acusados de varios crimines financieros.

Prediciendo su fuga de la justicia venezolana, Mezherane le comentó al Embajador, " Nuestra próxima reunión será en Boca Raton..." Lo dicho se convertió en realidad, y actualmente Mezherane y Zuloaga viven en el estado Florida.


No es primera vez que se ha revelado la estrecha relación entre medios y periodistas venezolanos, y el gobierno de Estados Unidos. Documentos desclasificados del Departamento de Estado del 2007 evidenciaban un financiamiento de más de 4 millones de dólares para talleres de formación para periodistas venezolanos, y para diseñar y mantener páginas web, emisoras de radió en Internet, y para ayudar con la capacitación del uso de las redes sociales para promover agendas políticas. En ese caso, el financiamiento de Estados Unidos fue canalizado a través de dos organizaciones venezolanas vinculadas con la oposición: el Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) y Espacio Público.

Otros documentos del Departamento de Estado también han evidenciado el proceso de selección y captación de periodistas venezolanos que trabajan en medios privados en el país. Bajo la fachada de un programa de "intercambio internacional", el Departamento de Estado financia a periodistas que tienen "cargos de influencia en su profesión" y que "comparten y promueven a los intereses estadounidenses" a través de sus reportajes.

Periodistas como Miguel Angel Rodríguez, ahora diputado de la Asamblea Nacional, recibieron miles de dólares bajo este programa del Departamento de Estado para realizar trabajos de "investigación" y recibir talleres de formación en Estados Unidos. Rodríguez ha sido una de las voces más críticas contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez. Utilizó su plataforma como periodista para entrar en el mundo de la política, y en 2010, se lanzó con éxito como candidato al cuerpo legislativo de un partido de la extrema derecha venezolana.


Como se demuestra en este último cable de la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Caracas, la relación entre el gobierno estadounidense y el canal de televisión anti-chavista, Globovisión, es muy estrecha. Además de las reuniones frecuentes entre sus directores, dueños y los altos funcionarios estadounidenses, Globovisión también comparte periodistas con La Voz de América, la voz de propaganda de Washington.

La Voz de América es un medio de propaganda del Departamento de Estado, financiado y supervisado en su totalidad por el gobierno estadounidense. Su objetivo es promover propaganda pro-estadounidense en América Latina. Para el año 2011, el Congreso estadounidense aprobó un presupuesto multimillonario para transmitir un "programa de 30 minutos, 5 días la semana en Venezuela" para supuestamente "contrarrestar la propaganda anti-estadounidense del gobierno venezolano".

Esta iniciativa injerencista por parte del gobierno estadounidense claramente viola a la soberanía venezolana, ya que no tienen autorización para transmitir propaganda oficial de Washington dentro del territorio venezolano. No obstante, periodistas de Globovisión como Alejandro Marcano y otros, están haciendo el trabajo para la Voz de América, facilitando sus reportajes y entrevistas para esta "programación especial". Luego, el canal Globovisión, con señal abierta, retransmita los programas de la Voz de América, en plena violación de la ley.



FECHA: 2010-02-23 18:15:00

TEMA: Duenos de Globovisión reconocen derrota; ¿El Nacional en problemas?

1. (SECRETO) RESUMEN: En reuniones separadas con el Embajador entre el 17 al 19 de febrero 2010, representantes de los principales medios privados en Venezuela, Globovisión y El Nacional, reconocieron que la fuerte presión del Gobierno Venezolano (GRBV) contra sus medios de televisión y prensa ha amenazado con llevarlos a la quiebra. Nelson Mezherane, confirmó las acusaciones del director saliente de Globovisión, Alberto Federico Ravell, de que altos oficiales del GRBV le habían forzado despedir a Ravell y bajar el tono de la fuerte tendencia anti-Chavista de Globovisión. En una conversación separada, Miguel Henrique Otero dijo que debido a la perdida substantiva de ingresos de publicidad de empresas que han sido nacionalizadas o amenazadas por el GRBV, el periódico se quebrará en abril sin alguna asistencia financiera substantiva. Miguel Henrique Otero pidió al Embajador si Estados Unidos podría darles esa asistencia. Fin del Resumen.

Alberto Federico Ravell renuncia; acusa al GRBV de presionar a los dueños de Globovisión

2. (SENSIBLE PERO NO CLASIFICADO) Luego de más de una semana de especulación sobre la potencial venta de la red de televisión opositora Globovisión, el director del canal Alberto Federico Ravell anunció su renuncia durante una conferencia de prensa el 18 de febrero. Ravell, quien también es accionista minoritario del canal, dijo a reporteros que el Ministro de Energía Alí Rodríguez y el Presidente del Banco Central de Venezuela Nelson Merentes habían presionado a los principales accionistas de Globovisión, su Presidente Guillermo Zuloaga y al Presidente del Banco Federal Nelson Mezherane, para despedir a Ravell y sacar al moderador de un programa controversial y anti-Chavista, Leopoldo Castillo, y para suavizar la fuerte tendencia anti-chavista del canal. Durante su renuncia, Ravell afirmó: "Por ahora mis objetivos han sido alcanzados. El canal no ha sido vendido, Leopoldo Castillo sigue al aire, y Globovisión no cambiará su línea editorial". Agregó, "Tengo fé absoluta en Globovisión y en Guillermo Zuloaga de que no modificarán su línea editorial".

3. (CLASIFICADO) Durante una reunión privada el 17 de febrero, Ravell le dijo al Embajador que la presión contra Guillermo Zuloaga involucraba cargos legales exagerados que fueron aplicados luego de un allanamiento el 21 de mayo de 2009 en la residencia de Zuloaga en Caracas. El allanamiento había resultado en la confiscación de 24 vehículos nuevos y varios trofeos de casería, cargos criminales contra Zuloaga y su hijo, y un orden de privación de libertad prohibiendo la salida de Zuloaga del país. (Nota: Zuloaga ha dicho que los automóviles pertenecían a su venta de carros y estaban en su residencia por razones de seguridad, y que los trofeos de casería habían sido adquirdos de una forma legal en el extranjero. Fin de la Nota). Según Ravell, el levantamiento el 12 de febrero de la prohibición de viajar al exterior contra Zuloaga fue una negociación con Zuloaga para forzar su complicidad. Ravell opinó que el punto más fuerte de la presión aplicada por el gobierno contra Zuloaga fue últimamente su hijo "Zuloaga haría cualquier cosa para mantener su seguridad".

4. (CLASIFICADO) Ravell afirmó al Embajador que Nelson Mezherane había sido sujeto a una presión intensa también del GRBV para facilitar un cambio en la línea editorial de Globovisión y en su directiva. Ravell dijo que Mezherane había sido amenazado por el Ministro de Energía (y anterior Ministro de Finanzas) Alí Rodríguez que si Mezherane no acatara a las demandas del GRBV, "iremos por tu banco".

Zuloaga y Mezherane Confirman

5. (SECRETO) En una reunión el 18 de febrero con el Embajador, Zuloaga y Mezherane confirmaron el cuento de Ravell. Luego de varias amenazas del GRBV, algunas de Chávez mismo, Mezherane dijo que el Ministro Rodríguez había intentado presionarlo para comprar a los otros accionistas de Globovisión, Zuloaga y Ravell, despedir a Ravell, y sacar a Leopoldo Castillo, para evitar que el GRBV retirara millones de dólares en depósitos del Banco Federal; Mezherane dijo que había sido "practicamente forzado vender el banco". Mezherane le dijo al Embajador que la estrategia del GRBV era para que Mezherane comprara a Globovisión en casí 32 millones de dólares y para que Ravell "saliera discretamente...para trabajar con la expansión de Globovisión en el exterior". Además, Mezherane y Zuloaga se acordaron "enviar a Leopoldo Castillo al exterior por un tiempo...con pasajes en primera clase para pasar dos semanas en Australia".

6. (SECRETO) A pesar de los pronunciamientos de Ravell en la conferencia de prensa de que Globovisión no se auto-censurará por la presión del GRBV, Zuloaga admitió que estaban siendo forzados suavizar la línea editorial del canal. Zuloaga observó que "este arreglo nos ha comprado tiempo. Globo continuará, sin embargo, no utilizaremos la pantalla para asustar a la gente. Reportaremos sobre los problemas de una manera objetiva e independiente...sin embargo, nos limitaremos en no nombrar nombres". Cuando le fue preguntado sobre porque el Gobierno había dejado al canal operar por tanto tiempo, Zuloaga respondió, "El Gobierno necesita dejar una pequena ventana abierta para pretender que hay libertad de expresión aquí". Mezherane agregó, "Globovisión es la 'Carta de Libertdad de Expression' de Chávez...él puede decir, 'mira, aquí está Globovisión, ves que somos una democracia".

7. (SECRETO) Mezherane le dijo al Embajador que el canal es independiente y tiene salud financiera a pesar de los ataques recientes del GRBV, el incremento en gastos legales y un acoso legal contínua. (Nota: Globovisión enfrenta cargos criminales y civiles de seis investigaciones. Fin de la Nota). Reflexionando sobre su decisión para doblarse ante las demandas del GRBV, Mezherane dijo, "Tengo más de 13 mil empleados, además del banco, para cuidar". Viendo hacia las elecciones en septiembre de la Asamblea Nacional, Mezherane predijo: "Si Chávez gana, todos estaremos afuera. Nuestra próxima reunión será en Boca Raton...Comprando tiempo antes de las elecciones es el nombre del juego".

¿Principal periódico dando sus últimos respiros?

8. (SECRETO) En una reunión separada el 19 de febrero, el Embajador Duddy se reunió con Miguel Henrique Otero. Lamentando la "asfixiación económica" de El Nacional y los medios independientes en general, Miguel Henrique Otero le dijo al Embajador que El Nacional estaba llegando al final de su cuerda financiera. Debido a una fuerte caida en ingresos de publicidad desde empresas que habían sido nacionalizadas o amenazadas por el GRBV para terminar dicha publicidad, Miguel Henrique Otero predijo que El Nacional podría quebrarse en Abril. Migue Henrique Otero afirmó que el diario independiente El Universal también tenía serias dificultades financieras por razones similares. (Nota: En su reunión el 18 de febrero con el Embajador, Mezerhane dijo que El Universal había perdido más de 14% de sus ingresos de publicidad solamente por la recién nacionalización de la cadena de supermercados Exito. Fin de la nota). Otero comentó, "Ahora Globovisión ha sido perdido. Seremos los próximos".

9. (SECRETO) Otero dijo que el incremento en nacionalizaciones del GRBV reducirá aún más los ingresos en publicidad y el espacio comercial ya limitado, y limitaría a los medios independientes funcionar durante los próximos meses. Para mantener vivo a El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero le preguntó al Embajador si la Embajada sabía de fuentes de financiamiento privado que les podría ayudar en el exterior, o a cambio, si el Gobierno de Estados Unidos les podría ayudar. (Nota: El Embajador comentó que las inversionistas e instituciones financieras de Estados Unidos estaban más ansiosas sobre el invertir en Venezuela. También anotó que nunca había escuchado sobre si el Gobierno de Estados Unidos había financiado a un periódico, incluso por ejemplo, durante el periódo dificil en los años ochenta del Chile de Pinochet. Fin de la nota).

10. (CLASIFICADO) Comentario: Chávez continúa reduciendo la capacidad de los medios privados para funcionar como una fuerza democrática contrarrestante. Con la bajada en tono de los ejecutivos de Globovisión, mientras cuentan sus últimos días, y los principales medios impresos en severas condiciones financieras, Chávez está cerca a su objetivo de "domesticar" o eliminar a los medios libres e independientes que quedan en Venezuela.
Fin del comentario.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

INTERVIEW - Venezuela's "sweetheart" champions Chavez

Fri, Jan 21 2011
By Andrew Cawthorne
CARACAS (Reuters) - When President Hugo Chavez's government held a ceremony in parliament's hallowed Salon Eliptico room to chastise foreign meddling in Venezuela, the keynote speaker was a petite and passionate American named Eva Golinger.

"The Salon Eliptico is reserved for the most important and prestigious events, and only two people from the U.S. have ever spoken there. One is me and the other is John F. Kennedy," the writer and lawyer recalled of the event in November last year.

Dubbed "La Novia de Venezuela" (Venezuela's Sweetheart) by Chavez, Golinger is one of the most vocal foreign champions of his socialism, writing prolifically to try to counter what she sees as a U.S.-led global campaign to portray him as a tyrant.

"Chavez has been demonized and there has not been enough on the other side to combat that," she told Reuters.

Such unflinching support has put Golinger at the forefront of Venezuela's ideological battle. The mere mention of her name raises hackles and prompts disgust in opposition circles, whose members like to mock the American lilt in her Spanish accent.

Golinger admits she was nervous speaking live on TV in front of Chavez in the room honoring Venezuela's independence and where former U.S. president Kennedy spoke in 1961.

But she shows no timidity in her daily work promoting the policies of a man who has become one of the world's most recognizable and controversial heads of state.

"This is not a horrible place led by some brutal dictator," Golinger said in an interview. "Chavez has recovered Venezuelan identity and made people proud to be Venezuelan ... there is nothing covered (by foreign media) in terms of social gains."

Chavez, who takes a hard line with opposition leaders, prompted an outcry last month when he secured special decree powers from the outgoing parliament after elections gave the opposition a stronger hand in the assembly.

The socialist president, who has led Venezuela on an increasingly radical path, regularly rails against the United States for being aggressive and imperialistic.

With dual nationality due to roots in Venezuela on her mother's side, Golinger, 38, who is a specialist in international human rights and immigration law, first left her New York home to visit the South American nation in 1993.

Living and visiting Venezuelan on and off since then, her political engagement crystallized with the brief 2002 coup against Chavez that Golinger sought to expose as CIA-backed.

Now she edits the international edition of the pro-government Correo del Orinoco newspaper and has met Chavez "more times than I can count," making her something of a confidante for El Comandante.

She accompanied him on a recent trip to political allies including Iran, Syria, Libya and Belarus.


Her most recent paper, "Setting the record straight on Venezuela," cites poverty reduction, Chavez's three presidential election wins, media criticism and grass-roots activism as evidence Venezuela is no dictatorship.

Critics have forgotten, she argued, what she called the economic chaos and repressive political atmosphere in the country, including the suspensions of constitutional rights, before Chavez won the 1998 presidential election.

"If you don't put it into context of before and after, then no one understands ... the major transformation," she said.

Though critics accuse her of being blindly partisan, Golinger has some criticism of the government too.

"Of course everything is not perfect," she said, acknowledging Chavez needed to combat "a horrific culture of corruption" and ensure he was not surrounded by "yes men."

"He is intimidating. Some people give it to him straight, others don't," she said.

The president's popular touch faded somewhat in 2006 and 2007, Golinger said, when information on assassination threats forced him to stop plunging into crowds so regularly.

But his recent personal handling of the response to floods that have left more than 130,000 people homeless showed Chavez is rectifying that despite security risks, she said.

"With the rains, he's been out there again ... He is a very sincere, humane person. His heart aches."

Despite September's parliamentary election that disappointed the government -- opposition parties took slightly more votes, though the socialists still won more seats in the National Assembly -- Golinger predicted Chavez would win the 2012 presidential election comfortably.

"2012 is still safe because the opposition does not have a nationally popular candidate and Chavez still has over 50 percent popularity," she said, adding that new house-building and other projects like more trains would swell his support.
Golinger scoffed at claims that Chavez represses freedom of expression, pointing to the plethora of mockery and criticism of the government in media and on the street.

"Freedom of expression here is excessive," she said, arguing that an aggressively pro-opposition TV station like Globovision would not be allowed in many other countries.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and David Storey)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Promueven Asesinato del Presidente Chávez en TV estadounidense

Por Eva Golinger

De nuevo, la televisora Mega TV desde Miami transmite un programa en donde se habla abiertamente del "asesinato" del Presidente Chávez. Durante el programa del periodista peruano Jaime Bayly, "Bayly", conocido por su postura anti-chavista, fueron entrevistados dos supuestos "psíquicos" argentinos, Mirta y Cristian Latina, quienes predijeron que durante el año 2011, el Presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, será "asesinado".

Hay dos noticias “que a ti más que a nadie te van alegrar”, dijo Cristian Latina al periodista y escritor peruano Jaime Bayly, durante su programa. “Fidel Castro muere de forma natural y Hugo Chávez será asesinado”, añadió Latina.

Ante lo expresado por sus invitados, Bayly manifestó de forma risueña, “y ustedes quieren una navidad más feliz que esta”, provocando los aplausos del público de Miami que asistió al programa.


Pero no es la primera vez que a través de las pantallas de Mega TV, televisora dirigida por un grupo de anti-castristas miameros, se incita al asesinato del jefe del estado venezolano. Apenás semanas antes, el 30 de noviembre, durante el programa de Bayly y su entrevistado, el venezolano Orlando Urdaneta, quien es fugitivo de la justicia de su país, hablaron sobre el magnicidio contra el Presidente Chávez.

Según YVKE Mundial, durante el espacio televisivo, Bayly descaramente dijo lo siguiente, "Yo soy más bien partidario de que un patriota militar venezolano se encargue de que Chávez se reúna con el altísismo, es decir propicie y facilite la cita de Chávez con el supremo hacedor”.

También el periodista peruano expresó en su programa, "Yo siempre elevo una plegaria para que el señor recoja a Chávez, a Raúl a Evo y a Fidel”. Mientras que el venezolano Orlando Urdaneta aseguró sin ninguna vergüenza que él trabaja "cada día y cada minuto por el derrocamiento del Presidente Chávez".

En el 2007, fue transmitido por Mega TV otro llamado para asesinar al Presidente de Venezuela. En ese momento, fue a través del programa "María Elvira Live", de la cubana María Elvira Salazar, quien también ha llamado múltiples veces públicamente para el asesinato del líder cubano Fidel Castro.

Entrevistando al mismo Orlando Urdaneta, María Elvira le preguntó cómo mejor Venezuela podría "resolver el problema de Chávez". Urdaneta respondió que "con una mira telescópica y un silenciador". Luego decía que alguien en el Ejército debía "usar una mira telescópica y un silenciador para acabar con el perro mayor”.


Mega TV pertenece al Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), una de las empresas de telecomunicaciones hispanas más grandes en Estados Unidos. SBS es dueño de una red de 20 emisoras en español por todo el país y el portal web Mega TV fue lanzada el 1 de marzo del 2006 como un canal de televisión en español dirigido al público jóven hispano en Estados Unidos. Es distribuido por señal abierta en el Sur de la Florida (Miami), Puerto Rico y Las Vegas, y a través de DirectTV en español a nivel nacional e internacional.

Su presidente, Raúl Alarcón (hijo), es hijo de Pablo Raúl Alarcón, quien manejó un monopolio de medios de comunicación en Cuba durante la dictadura de Fulgencio Batista. La familia Alarcón huyó a Miami cuando comenzó la Revolución Cubana y desde entonces fundaron a SBS y han manejado su reino de medios en español desde Estados Unidos, con el objetivo de promover propaganda en contra de Cuba y sus aliados en América Latina. SBS funciona como el brazo propagandístico de la comunidad terrorista de cubanos exiliados en Miami.

La Vice Presidenta y Gerente Executiva de CNN en Español, Cynthia Hudson, quien también es la encargada de la estrategia "hispana" de CNN a nivel mundial, fue Vice Presidenta Ejecutiva y Directora de Mega TV justo antes de recibir su actual cargo en la cadena de noticias más grande del mundo.

Hudson fue responsable por crear los programas de María Elvira Salazar y Jaime Bayly, además de promover y avalar su contenido terrorista.

El vínculo entre CNN en Español y Mega TV evidencia la complicidad con las grandes cadenas de comunicación en Estados Unidos y los llamados del magnicidio contra el Presidente Hugo Chávez. El periódico The Washington Post también ha hecho varios llamados durante los últimos días para tomar "acciones más agresivas" contra el Presidente venezolano.

Esta semana, un grupo de diputados de la oposición en Venezuela fueron a Washington para solicitar la intervención de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y el gobierno de Estados Unidos contra su propio país.

Esta campaña de agresión y desprestigio contra Venezuela tiene como objetivo justificar cualquier acción contra el gobierno venezolano, incluyendo al magnicidio contra el Presidente Hugo Chávez.

[El video del último programa de Jaime Bayly se puede ver aquí y en el último minuto se habla del "asesinato" del Presidente Chávez:;=player_embedded

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Setting the Record Straight on Venezuela and Hugo Chavez

By Eva Golinger

With so much misinformation circulating in different media outlets around the world about Venezuela and President Hugo Chavez, it's time to set the record straight. Venezuela is not a dictatorship and President Chavez is no dictator.

Just last evening the Venezuelan head of state participated in a meeting with a group of housing activists, who not only criticized - live on television - government policies and inaction on tenant and housing issues, but also proposed laws, regulations and projects that were received with open arms by Chavez himself. And last week, the Venezuelan President vetoed a law on higher education that had been approved by the prior year's majority pro-Chavez legislature, calling for more "open and wide" debate on the subject, to include critics and those who had protested the bill. That is not the behavior of a brutal dictator.

As someone who has been living on and off in Venezuela for over 17 years, I can testify to the extraordinary transformation the country has undertaken during the past decade since Chavez first was elected in 1998. He has been reelected by landslide majorities twice since then.

When I arrived to Venezuela for the first time in 1993, the country was in severe turmoil. Constitutional rights had been suspended and a nationwide curfew was imposed. Repression was widespread, the economy was in crisis, several newspapers, television and radio stations had been shut down or censored, and the government had imposed a forced military draft targeting young men from poor communities. There was an interim president in power, because the actual president, Carlos Andres Perez - hailed by Washington as an "outstanding democrat" - had just been impeached and imprisoned for corruption. Perez eventually escaped confinement and fled to Miami, where he resided until his death last month, living off the millions he stole from the Venezuelan people.

Even though a new president was elected in 1994, constitutional rights remained suspended on and off for years, until the elections in 1998 that brought Chavez to power. Since then, despite a short-lived coup d'etat in 2002, an economically-shattering sabotage of the oil industry in 2003 and multiple attempts against his government during the following years, President Chavez has never once limited constitutional rights nor imposed a curfew on the population. He hasn't ever ordered a state of emergency that would limit rights or shut down any media outlets. He even issued a general pardon in 2007 giving amnesty to all those involved in the 2002 coup, with the exception of individuals directly responsible for crimes against humanity or homicide.

Under the Chavez administration, poverty has been reduced in half, universal, quality, free healthcare and education have been guaranteed for all Venezuelans, new industries have been created and more and more political power has been placed in the hands of "ordinary" people who were previously excluded by the elite that ruled the country throughout the twentieth century.

So why do so many newspapers and broadcast media classify him as a dictator?

You may not like Hugo Chavez's way of speaking, or the fact that he was born into poverty, comes from the military, is a leftist and doesn't fit the stereotypical image of a head of state. But that doesn't make him a dictator.

In Venezuela, more than 80% of television, radio and print media remain in the hands of private interests critical of the government. So, despite what some international press claim, there is no censorship or violation of free expression in Venezuela. Calls to overthrow the government or to incite the armed forces to rebel against the state, which would clearly be prohibited in most nations, are broadcast on opposition-controlled television channels with public concessions (open signals, not cable). Just last month, the head of the Venezuelan chamber of commerce, Fedecamaras, gave a press conference broadcast live on television and radio stations, during which he called the armed forces "traitors" who would "pay the price" if they didn't disobey government orders and "obey" the dictates of big business.

I can only imagine if a business leader in the United States were to go on television and call the US Army "traitors" if they didn't disobey the federal government. Secret Service would arrest the man immediately and the consequences would be severe. But something like that would never happen in the US, since no television station would ever broadcast anything that constituted a call to rebellion or disobedience against the government. That's illegal.

So, not only is there no censorship in Venezuela, there is an excess of "free" expression. One positive aspect of the permissive attitude assumed by the Chavez government with regards to media has been the proliferation of community and alternative media outlets throughout the nation, which have provided space and voice to those ignored by mainstream corporate media. During governments prior to the Chavez administration, community and alternative media were banned.

Recently, the Venezuelan legislature passed a law called the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Digital Media. The law does not censor internet or any other form of media. What it does do is disallow calls to assassinate the president or other individual, as well as prohibit incitement to crime, hate or violence on web sites operated from Venezuela. This is a standard in most democracies and is a sign of civility. The law also instills on media a responsibility to contribute to the education of citizens. Media have a huge power over society today. Why shouldn't they be responsible for their actions?

Another issue widely manipulated in mass media is the Enabling Act that was approved last month by the Venezuelan parliament. This law gives "decree" powers to the Executive to legislate on specific issues as stipulated in the bill. The Enabling Act does not usurp, inhibit or limit legislative functions of the National Assembly, nor is it unconstitutional or anti-democratic. The parliament can still debate and approve laws as usual within its authority. The Enabling law, which is permitted by the Constitution, was requested by President Chavez in order to provide rapid responses to a national emergency caused by torrential rainfall that devasted communities nationwide at the end of last year and left over 130,000 homeless. The law will not affect any constitutional rights nor impose a "dictatorship" on the country, it is merely a valid, legitimate response to an emergency situation that needs quick solutions.

And speaking of the Venezuelan legislature, there is a lot of deceitful information repeated and recycled in media worldwide about the composition of this year's new parliament. Venezuela had legislative elections in September 2010, and opposition - anti-Chavez - parties won 40% of the seats. Some say this is a majority, which is very strange. The pro-Chavez PSUV party won 60% of seats in the National Assembly, as the Venezuelan legislative body is called. That's 97 out of 165 seats, plus 1 more which was won by the pro-Chavez PCV party, for a total of 98.

On the other hand, the opposition bloc won 65 seats represented by 13 different political parties that don't necessarily agree on most issues. Two other seats were won by a third, independent party, PPT. So, the PSUV party won 97 seats in parliament and the next party in line is Accion Democratica (AD) with 22 seats. Who has the majority?

In 2005, the opposition parties boycotted the electoral process, and lost the near 50% they had in parliament from the year 2000. Now, their bloc has been reduced to 40%, yet they claim to have "grown" in numbers. This perspective has been reiterated in mainstream media, despite its erroneous and manipulative nature.

The opposition bloc has already announced it will seek foreign intervention to help overthrow the government. Not only is this illegal, it's incredibly dangerous. Many of the candidates and most of the parties that conform the opposition in Venezuela have already been receiving millions of dollars annually in funding from several US and international agencies, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), both financed with US taxpayer monies. The stated purpose of this funding has been to "promote democracy" in Venezuela and help build the opposition forces against Chavez. This is a clear violation of Venezuelan sovereignty and a waste of US taxpayer dollars. US citizens: Is this the way you want your hard-earned money to be spent?

This week, opposition leaders will meet with their counterparts in Washington. They have already said their mission is to seek more aid to help remove President Chavez from power. Unfortunately, their undemocratic actions have already been welcomed in the US Capitol. Representative Connie Mack (R-FL), now head of the House Sub-Committte on Foreign Relations for the Western Hemisphere, announced on the first day of Congress that his one goal this year is to place Venezuela on the list of "state sponors of terrorism". And Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), now head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, has backed that objective, even going as far as to publicly state she would welcome the "assassination of Fidel Castro or any other repressive leader" such as Hugo Chavez.

On January 1, President Chavez held a brief, informal and amicable encounter with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brasilia, during the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's new president. No agreements were reached, but the exchange of hands and smiles stabilized an escalation in tensions between both nations, which had produced a diplomatic crisis at the end of last year. But upon her return to Washington, Clinton was severely criticized by media, particularly The Washington Post, which accused her of being too "soft" on Venezuela.

The Washington Post's calls for war against Venezuela are dangerous. Remember, conditioning of public opinion is necessary to justify aggression against another nation. The campaigns of demonization against Saddam Hussein, Iraq and Islam were essential to initiate the wars in the Middle East which have yet to cease. Is the public willing to be influenced by media that have a political (and economic) agenda that seeks to oust a democratically-elected and popularly supported government just because they don't like its policies?

With the recent tragic events in Arizona it should become even more evident that media have power and influence over individual actions. Hate speech, demonization campaigns, manipulative and deceitful information are dangerous and can lead to abominable consequences, including war.

It's time to stop the escalating aggression against Venezuela and accept the facts: Venezuela is not a dictatorship, and while many of you may not like Hugo Chavez, a majority of Venezuelans who voted for him do. And in this scenario, they're the ones who matter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Departamento de Estado vuelve a atacar a Venezuela

Dicen que "no nombrarán otro embajador" a Venezuela y critican las "crecientes tendencias autocráticas" del gobierno venezolano. Todo eso, días después del intercambio de manos y sonrisas entre Hillary Clinton y Hugo Chávez

Por Eva Golinger

Solo días después de un encuentro clasificado como "breve pero cordial" entre el Presidente de Venezuela Hugo Chávez y la Secretaria de Estado de Estados Unidos Hillary Clinton durante la toma de posesión de la nueva Presidenta de Brasil, Dilma Rousseff, el Departamento de Estado volvió a atacar a Venezuela.

Este miércoles 5 de enero de 2011, durante la rueda de prensa diaria del Departamento de Estado, el vocero Philip Crowley censuró lo que consideran las "tendencias crecientemente autocráticas" del gobierno venezolano, aunque no entró en detalles.

La declaración hostíl vino luego de que fue preguntado sobre la posibilidad de nombrar otro candidato para ser embajador de Washington en Caracas. Crowley fue enfático en decir que Estados Unidos no tiene ninguna intención de nombrar otro embajador para Venezuela. “Ha habido sugerencias del Presidente Chávez de que estamos buscando otro candidato, y la respuesta es que no estamos buscando otro candidato”, afirmó Crowley.

Agregó, “estamos preparados a quedarnos como estamos por un tiempo indefinido”, haciendo referencia a la ausencia de embajadores en los dos países.

Washington retiró su embajador de Caracas, Patrick Duddy, en julio 2010, proponiendo sustituirlo por Larry Leon Palmer. El nombramiento del embajador Palmer, en ese momento director de la Fundación Interamericana, una agencia del Departamento de Estado dedicada a financiar organizaciones en América Latina que promueven la agenda política de Washington, fue recibido por Venezuela con neutralidad, y hasta le fue otorgado el beneplácito, a pesar de sus antecedentes cuestionables y su obvia experiencia con la subversión pro-estadounidense en la región.

Pero luego de una serie de declaraciones realizadas por Palmer ante el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado estadounidense, en las cuales intentó vincular al gobierno venezolano con grupos terroristas, criticó las supuestas amenazas a la libertad de expresión y la democracia, y habló del "bajo moral" en las Fuerzas Armadas Venezolanas, (como un punto de lo cual se podría "aprovechar"), su beneplácito fue retirado.


En agosto, el gobierno venezolano envió una nota de protesta a la Casa Blanca por las declaraciones "intervencionistas" y "poco diplomáticas" de Palmer, alertando que "se inhabilitó como embajador" en Venezuela.

Como parte de la jugada sucia, el Departamento de Estado ignoró la posición de Venezuela e insistió en el nombramiento de Palmer.

El derecho internacional prohíbe la imposición de embajadores o funcionarios diplomáticos de un país a otro. Todos deben recibir la autorización y beneplácito del país anfitrión.

Cuando el Senado estadounidense regresó de sus vacciones en noviembre, volvió a tocar el tema de la confirmación de Palmer como embajador en Venezuela. El Sub-Secretario de Estado para América Latina Arturo Valenzuela comentó a principios de diciembre que estaba "contento" porque Palmer pronto será aprobado como embajador a Venezuela y "viajaría dentro de pocos días" al país suramericano.

Dicha declaración fue recibida por Caracas con furia, ya que Venezuela había hecho claro su rechazo de Palmer. El gobierno de Estados Unidos quería imponer su agenda y actuar como el imperio que es, dominando a los demás sin importar su soberanía.

"Ese señor no viene por acá", alertó el Presidente Chávez, "y si intenta entrar, habrá que detenerlo y devolverlo a Estados Unidos". El día siguiente, Venezuela reiteró su retiro del beneplácito de Palmer en una nota oficial entregada a la Casa Blanca.


"Habran consecuencias", amenazó el vocero Crowley, insinuando que Washington tomaría acciones contra Venezuela por haber ejercido su derecho soberano de no aceptar un funcionario diplomático de su país.

Durante los últimos días de diciembre, Washington revocó la visa del embajador de Venezuela en Washington, Bernardo Álvarez, mientras el funcionario se encontraba fuera de Estados Unidos. La acción fue realizada sin mucha publicidad. "Creemos que es una decisión recíproca y justa", dijo el vocero de la diplomacia estadounidense, a pesar de que Venezuela no había revocado ninguna visa de un funcionario estadounidense. Además, el propio Presidente Chávez siempre decía que Washington podría nombrar otro candidato a embajador, simplemente que no podía ser Larry Palmer, ya que éste "se inhabilitó" con sus declaraciones.

Sin querer ampliar la crisis diplomática, el gobierno venezolano no declaró sobre el retiro de la visa estadounidense del embajador venezolano.


Pocos días después, esperando saludar a la nueva Presidenta de Brasil, el Presidente Chávez se encontró con Hillary Clinton.

"Fue (el Primer Ministro de Portugal) Socrates quien me tradujo al principio", explicó el jefe de estado venezolano. "Agradezco mucho a los amigos que nos quieren ayudar mejorar las relaciones con Estados Unidos".

"Estaba Socrates, estaba Santos (Presidente de Colombia), Piñera de Chile, entre otros..." explicó Chávez, comentando que habló "unas cosas punctuales" con Clinton.

Hubo intercambio de manos, sonrisas, comentarios amables y fotos entre Chávez y Clinton, y sus acompañantes Santos, Socrates y Piñera. Recordaba a la Cumbre de las Américas en 2009 en Trinidad, cuando Chávez y Obama se dieron la mano por primera vez, un encuentro que fue capturado en una foto que recorrió al mundo.

"Yo soy el mismo Chávez que estaba en Trinidad", dijo el Presidente venezolano el martes en la noche, en un intento de enviar un mensaje a Washington de su deseo de mejorar la relación. "Tenemos intereses mutuos".

Bromeando, Chávez sugerió varios candidatos para ser embajador de Estados Unidos en Venezuela, "Podría ser Sean Penn, o (Noam) Chomsky...o hasta Bill Clinton", dijo riéndose.

Washington no le gustó la broma.

El día siguiente, el vocero del Departamento de Estado hizo claro que su gobierno no tiene ninguna intención de mejorar la relación con Venezuela. "No estamos buscando a otro candidato" para ser embajador en Venezuela, reitiró Crowley, luego acusando al gobierno venezolano de "tendencias autoritarias".

El periódico The Washington Post publicó una editorial éste miércoles exigiendo al gobierno de Obama tomar acciones severas contra Venezuela. Entre otras mentiras, el Post, cuyo editor Jackson Diehl ha admitido que "odia a Chávez" y "jamás escribirá algo favorable" sobre el gobierno venezolano, acusó al Presidente Chávez de "censorar al Internet", "prohibir el financiamiento a grupos de derechos humanos", de "destruir la democracia" y de mantener "vínculos con terroristas y narcotraficantes". [Nota: El uso del Internet en Venezuela ha crecido en más de 900% durante el gobierno de Chávez, hay acceso amplio, sin ninguna censura; Una nueva ley prohíbe el financiamiento externo para grupos políticos en el país, como hacen en casi todos los países democráticos y soberanos del mundo; La democracia está más vibrante y participativa hoy que en toda la historia de Venezuela; y nunca se ha comprobado ni evidenciado ningún vínculo entre el gobierno de Venezuela y el terrorismo o el narcotráfico].

Parece que el Departamento de Estado sigue las instrucciones del Washington Post. Y con el inicio de la nueva sesión del Congreso estadounidense con una mayoría republicana en la Cámara de Representantes, cuyo Comité de Relaciones Exteriores es liderada por la rábidamente anti-chavista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, la administración de Obama no quiere arriesgarse con Venezuela.

La línea de Washington contra Venezuela está clara desde hace varios años. Jamás aceptarán ni trabajarán con el gobierno de Hugo Chávez. Harán todo lo posible para removerlo del poder, cueste lo que cueste.

Próximamente, preparan sanciones contra Venezuela. Mientras tanto, continuarán con sus esfuerzos de satanizar al gobierno de Chávez; financiar, apoyar y asesorar a la oposición; y debilitar su poder, popularidad e influencia regional.