A storm of correspondence on Venezuela, and a few notes on Coca-Cola
We have recieved hundreds of letters here at Narco News over the past couple of months. Below, we publish a selection of them, and some responses from the Narco News team.
The following links are intended to help navigate this very long page:
Giordano vs. Gunson
Coca in the Coca-Cola
AP's Credibility Problem
Copycat Journos Caught!
Grinches on Strike
You Will Be Cursed with Bad Karma: An Exchange with a Reader
Venezuela Coverage Praise Part I
Reader: Hypocritical Opposition Has Its Share of Foreigners, Too
"Spoiled Brats" and Class in Venezuela: An Exchange
Authentic Labor Leaders Support Venezuelan Democracy
Venezuela, the OAS and Washington
Giordano vs. Gunson
Dear Mr. Giordano,
What I find amazing and truly disheartening is the quick rush to ad hominem by both Gunson and Ekvall (a name which sounds like be a synonym for phlegm out of Roget’s) in their responses to Giordano. All great scholars of debate know that personal attack is the last resort of self-defense for those who cannot answer a question.
I personally, cast my vote for you, Mr. Giordano, and would that these men simply answer the questions posed in the ignition email. I am sure that they would respond if these questions were posed by someone the likes (and status) of say, Barbara Walters.
Also from somewhere in a country called América,
R. C. Daley
It was such a pleasure to read about your exposure of Ekvall and Gunson. They were quite cute, resorting to psychological terms to describe you questioning their ethics. Are you some kind of "white trash?" How dare you.
I am sending a link with a photo of those poor folks in Altamira. When I see their suffering I weep.
What’s in that soda?
On a botanological tour in Southern California, U.S.A., the arborist-tour guide mentioned the California Bay Laurel leaf, an acrid-tasting bitter leaf with very concentrated flavor is one of the 12 "secret" ingredients of Coca Cola.
One down, 11 to go, and with the possible addition of the agricultural "vegetable" report by your Mr. Gomez, there may be only 10 to go.
Thank you for all the great work. Best wishes in the new year, etc.
If Coca-Cola puts cocaine of any significant quantity in its soft drinks, then two questions:
(a) Wouldn’t it be relatively simple for a laboratory to test a bottle of Coca-Cola and show that it contains cocaine?
(b) Wouldn’t athletes and others who undergo drug testing and also drink the world's number one soft drink test "positive" for cocaine consumption?
dedicated reader of Narco News
Coca-Cola, apparently, has been using the leaf of the coca plant as an ingredient in their soft drinks. This in no way implies that there is pure cocaine in Coca-Cola. It is important to understand that cocaine is a substance derived from the coca leaf after a long process involving many other chemicals, which isolate the cocaine alkaloid that exists in small quantities in the leaves. But these leaves contain thirteen other alkaloids, which all contribute to the plant’s taste and nutritional benefits. The indigenous people of the Andean countries, where coca is grown, consume coca regularly without any of the physical or psychological problems associated with cocaine.
How exactly Coca-Cola’s people use coca in their secret recipe is still a mystery. However, we can speculate that there are attributes of the coca plant that Coca-Cola benefits from – perhaps for flavor, perhaps for some addictive property (I don’t know about you, but I know at least a few Diet Coke addicts) – that don’t require traceable amounts of the cocaine alkaloid itself.
Obviously, this is an issue that deserves further attention, especially given its implications for the drug warrior rhetoric employed against the coca-growing farmers of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
Dear Al Giordano
We were VERY impressed by your article on coca leaves and Coca Cola. We have submitted it to www.rense.com
We have added this article to our site www.relfe.com with links to you:
Homeopathic cocaine in Coca Cola?
Michael and Stephanie Relfe
Credibility and the AP
Yeah Al, you're right on as to the quality (or lack thereof) of the AP.
I've emailed twice to the editors of the GUARDIAN about the inadvisability of using any US news agency as a source for reporting on Venezuela, or much of anything else, frankly. Would they have used TASS reports as the basis for stories about Polish Solidarity? And it is to that level that AP and the rest of the corporate US media has descended.
I hope that your many US readers, many of whom respect other aspects of the GUARDIAN's journalism will join me in explaining the facts of life to these editors.
Your work is not without risk and there are more than a few of us who respect you for it.
Frederick, MD, USA, the home of Biowar.
Hola Narco News,
I'd just like to thank you for your coverage of the "strike" (*scoff,scoff*). I live in Australia, and the local newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, carries mostly NYT or AP reports. These reports portray events as if the country is crumbling, the president is a dictator, and civil war is about to be declared. I found Narco News through ZMag and it great to get a source of truthful information. I've been emailing the Sydney Morning Herald, trying to pursuade them to have more balanced coverage.
Keep up the good work. Power to the people of Venezuela, Latin America and (one day) Australia.
Max Phillips - Sydney, Australia.
Forero and Miller: Copycats Caught!
Note: Narco News received this letter after sending out an email alert to friends and colleagues regarding nearly identical stories about Venezuelan “strikers” in the NY Times and LA Times. Shortly thereafter, we posted a story by Dan Feder that addressed many of the concerns raised by Mr. Thatch.
Thank you for your news-tracking, that revealed the fact that Forero at the NY Times and Miller at the LA Times submitted nearly identical stories about Venezuela.
You offered no hypothesis as to how this could occur, which was circumspect, but I have a theory: they both got their story from Otto Reich or someone fulfilling the same function as Reich's former "Office of Public Diplomacy."
In the 1980s, it was Reich's job to get positive stories about the Contras in print (true or not), and negative stories about the Sandinistas in print (true or not). And we know that Reich has been involved in recent events in Venezuela, so he may be up to his old "black" or "gray" propaganda tricks.
In New Testament Bible research, scholars observe the similarity of accounts in certain gospels, and therefore theorize that both writers (Matther and Luke, for instance) used a common source, with has never been discovered, but is referred to as "Q."
Here we have something similar. There appears to be an invisible common source.
Kansas City, MO
Following the Herd in Shainghai and Caracas
Dear Al Giordano,
Good post on Poynter and right on. I can tell you how it happened. Foreign correspondents operate under different rules than normal domestic reporters. They work in packs and often do same stories. Last year I uncovered similar stories out of Shanghai by the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the LA Times and the NY Times, and when I inquired at the Globe how it happened, the ombudsman there just replied: "these things happen over there. They use the same translators, who are often government spies or such... blah blah blah. " That is likely how the Feder stories happened.
I am a reporter in Taiwan
Grinches on Strike
Hi there, thank you very much for your extremely informative reports, I've been posting them widely. Also, in April, during the coup, I was holed up in my in-laws house in Caracas, hooked to the internet -- thanks for then, too. One question, have the devious escuálidos stolen your brilliant 'grinch position' yet? Ie, photoshopped images of Chávez as the grinch - blaming him for the lack of Xmas -- that's pure textbook to these guys, blaming others for your own crimes. Maybe if they try, it'll be so obviously and laughably false that they would lose all credibility, who knows. Anyway, good luck, we're here in London rooting for you, take care.
Tell them to look at the pictures. In all the photos, the "strikers" in Venezuela are well-dressed, well-coifed, and well-fed -- completely unlike any strikers I've ever seen. Not one face reflects the life of a worker.
You Will Be Cursed with Bad Karma:
I just recently came from Venezuela where I have lived for 26 years .I am a U.S. citizen who married a Venezuelan.I am also person who had friends and family from all walks of life and social class.
What you say in your note on the Venzuelan strike is nothing but vicious lies.Chavez is a crazy, manic dpressive, anddangerous person who is stealing more than anyone has ever stolen before in that country...in all ways he is ruining it and most of the poor people hate him too.
You will be cursed with the worst Karm imaginable for having printed this exremely damaging and stupid article.I will personally find out who wrote it and see what can be done to stop this kind of irresponsible and sick reporting.
Hey rocket scientist!
The article says "by Al Giordano." That would indicate to any reasonable person that you don't need to strain your little squalido pea brain to "find out who wrote it."
I wrote it.
So what can you do to stop me?
So much for "freedom of speech," eh? Go to hell and have a merry squalid xmas.
I never claimed to be a rocket scientist...that would be an insult for me.But I do claim to have a good sense of morality and a very good eye for perceiving people and situations with excellent accuracy.I know many people in Venezuela, from Antonio Ledezma, to Chavez' wife.I lived under Chavez' governmnent for 2 years and saw the decline and the corruption with my own eyes, getting worse and worse every month.I also saw how he loved to sow hatred among the Venzuelan people.I have been rich and I have been poor.I lived in Los frailes de Catia, and in Caurimare, in Caracas and in San juan de los Morros.I KNOW Venezuela...and I KNOW YOU ARE A LIER.Everyday I receive reports from my friends and family who are there, and I intend to tell everyone I can about your rediculous propaganda .Chavez in my opinion is nothing but a drug trafficer and crqzy, megolomaniac....if you support him...i know you must be in favor of all that. or you are a very arrogant person who writes without knowing the facts...when it is so obvious to anybody who knows anything about Venezuela, who Chavez is and what he is doing.I have a pretty good idea now why you write for that paper...and what that paper is really about.Have a squalid Christmas ?A very immature thing to say...but that would be impossible.I always put my life in God's hands,give without expecting, and when you do that, nothing can go wrong, believe me.
Hooray for Al Giordano and Amy Goodman
I am a Venezuelan citizen currently residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. I would like to thank and commend you for your coverage of the current events in Venezuela.
Although I am not Hugo Chavez' biggest fan, I detest the attacks that his government and the people of my country are suffering from the very same plutocrats that have ruined Venezuela over the course of the last 40+ years.
Please extend my appreciation to Amy Goodman, whom also covered Venezuela's recent events in Democracy Now and Greg Wilpert, Greg Palast and all others dedicated to break through the deceit of Venezuela's commercial news outlets.
San Jose, CA
Hooray for Al; What’s up with Amy?
Dear Mr. Giordano,
Though I am not an official student of your classes, I am a student since I am a follower of your journalism. My question is why is Amy Goodman, who seems to be a wonderful person, from listening to her Democracy Now program on Pacifica Radio, portraying this story quite differently, she calls it a "strike," I don't recall her talking about the OAS secretary general at all, but I get a sort of what sounded like to me a so-so report from a reporter, portraying President Chavez in a little better light, but not really explaining how he has supported democratic principles, with those who are out to destroy him.
I would appreciate any feedback you can afford the time to give me.
I have forwarded your last couple new notes with link telling the authentic story in Venezuela to about a half dozen of family and friends.
May your and your team's efforts help result in the cessation of these despicable coup attempts.
Narco News on Venezuela: Better than Cable!
I'm a newbie to alternative news sources. A few months ago I discovered Center for Cooperative Research, and I've sort of clicked around from there. I watch TV-news with the same critical sense but now know that others, through their expertise in journalism, investigate in detail things that I only think about in the comfort of my lounge room. I rarely read newspapers, although I'm now linking to newspaper articles via alternative news websites.
Thanks for your articles on Venezuela. It beats watching our free-to-air and cable networks. Your articles make it sort of like being there, and I'm grateful for your full disclosure concerning your bias. I think that, immediately, makes for a reader that's more informed. I live in Australia, and I think I'd be correct in stating ALL of Central and South America is, generally, off our nation's radar screen. Even so, I'm aware of that part of the world's historical political/economic situation. (South America was part of my geography curriculum at college in New Zealand, and included politics and the continent's evolving economies.)
I hope Venezuelans obtain a successful path to their goals.
See ya mate, and have a good Christmas and New Year.
Here I write to you from the shores of lake Maracaibo, to congratulate you on your coverage of what is going on here. I have yet to see what has happened since last night, but I am glad to see that people in Nooh Yok see the truth of what is happening here!
BTW, I used to spend a lot of time in NYC. Could do my shopping nowhere but at Saks (and Fao's as a child)! I know what the high class here is made up of. In fact, my children who attend a US overseas school have absolutely forbidden my telling of my Chavista outlook at their school. They are afraid they may be 'stoned' as it happened to Chavez's 5-yr old stepson. Poor man, the opposition even destroyed his marriage, because the children were in danger! I also attended that school, and don't allow the administration to mess with me, since the oldest teachers there who remember me know I was the best student they ever had. AND I KNOW CHAVEZ IS BEST!!
-Vanessa Di Domenico, Venezuela
Dear Al (please pardon my use of your nickname),
I just finished reading your interview with SF-IndyMedia and was greatly inspired. The people of Venezuela are truly leading the world into the light of a new day. Lately, I've found myself mired in a state of depression and hopelessness, as I've watched my own country (the U.S.) sink into the hellhole of proto-fascism. It seemed to me that all the efforts of progressives and activists here were for naught. The new empire seemed omnipotent and invulnerable. Now, I find that the courage, dedication and vision of the Venezuelan people and their courageous leader, Hugo Chavez, have filled my heart with new hope and are pointing the way toward a new and bright future.
I can't thank you enough for giving me this gift of knowledge and inspiration.
your comrade in struggle,
Go after the media whores!
I see your organization as a real saviour of freedom and democracy. Go after the rest of the "media whores" as Bartcop refers to them. They're really good, and well-financed and organized enough to be a CIA program. Don't forget that the Bushes have been operating in this neighborhood since the 1950's, so there will be strong loyalties and powerful financial forces. David Rockefeller's name comes to mind.
Just wanted you to know that most Americans do not know the facts, just the spin. Hope you have great success in curing this ignorance. Thanks again.
Znet has fun “keeping up” with Narco News
Justin here from ZNet. Just wanted to commend you. We're trying to do 'authentic journalism' too... and keeping up with you (as well as, of course, linking to your stuff) is a fun and worthy challenge.
If you have time check out our Venezuela Watch
We've got sections on Colombia, Chiapas, Brazil, Argentina, and much more of course.
I wanted to make contact and tell you... that if you do another summer school, I'd certainly be thrilled to go, and meet some other 'authentic journalists'...
With much respect,
Hypocritical Opposition Has Its Share of Foreigners, too
Just a few short comments about Al Giordano's great articles on the Venezuelan situation.
If we are going to award a liar's prize for filthy lying "reporting" on the December events, I would suggest the winner would be The Chicago Tribune .Wow what a crock!
Every day I read from the USA and European FREE PRESS (ha) reports telling of Chavez's ever falling poll numbers. They got to be kidding. At very best, they are making these up in while sopping up the best of scotches at the Tamanaco bar. Does anyone who has ever visited Caracas really believe that the "pollsters" - second ha - climb and I do mean climb the hills surrounding Caracas (and any other town in Venezuela) to inquire if the resident living in a renovated refrigerator crate backs Chavez or is with the opposition, dissidents, traitors or whatever you might want to call them?
We all have seen the stupid reports that the Cubans are taking over, piloting tankers and doing many other jobs. My Venezuelan opposition friends (at least I thought so) and family, phone me to scream frantically - "The Cubans are taking over - Of course, you know Fidel and Chavez are lovers" I have also been advised and that the Forero's et al don't like to mention this: Many in the opposition group are not Venezuelan - That great patriot Capt. Alfaro (of Pilin Leon fame ) comes from Chile - The top gun of Fedecamaras (after getting rid of the infamous coupster Carmona) is one Fernandez. I have been informed (not confirmed) that he is from Spain or is son of Spanish immigrants.
Al and friends - KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK
A Reader from Texas "Breaks it Down"
ALLOW ME TO BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU. Your so-called "strike of the spoiled brats" is anything but. For the past four years Chavez has taken a country and divided it into two, one for the rich and one for the poor. Were it not for him the country would not be going through the hell it is living. I know my native history and i can say that for the first time in the history of Venezuela has society has been divided with hatred on the basis of how much money a person makes per year, what their social status is, or what part of town they live in. Half of my family being from Cuba, I have heard the stories of how Fidel Castro came to power and I cannot look at the current events in Venezuela and ignore their hellish similarities. More than half my family has already left Venezuela saying "I lost everything because of Castro once. I'm not losing it all again because of him." Chavez is obviously trying to become a dictator and follow the communist steps of his "friend Fidel." His disgusting tactics, ignorance, and lack of concern for the well being of society as a whole has caused inflation, high unemployment rates, and needless to say, a division within the mindset and heart of the nation itself. He is corrupt and has taken from every government position anybody who had even a few good ideas and sound judgment and replaced those poor souls with ignorant morons like himself who are corrupt and could not do a decent job at leadership positions if their lives depended on it. BUT, all those things can be corrected. With enough support from people he can be taken out of office along with this ignorant posse and those spots can again be filled with people who actually have the good of society on their minds. But the damage done in dividing people, making one social group hate another, that damage will take years to fix. This is not a strike by rich brats banging pots for lack of anything better to do. It is a wake up call to people to make them realize that we either get rid of the malignant seeds before they hatch and do any more damage to our people, like what happened in Cuba, or even worse, face up to a full-blown Civil War (and with how things are going that would be the next probable step). I don't support communism,divisions of society based on economic status, Castro, or Chavez, and as Venezuelan I support this strike as long as it will prevent future, unfixable damage to my country. I hope that you fix your mistaken views before any more people are wrongly informed. As I've said, I believe in correcting mistakes before more damage is caused.
Thank you for your time and opinions,
Dear Ms. Martorell,
You are, of course, more than welcome to your own views on events, and to differ with mine, or with the majority of Venezuelans who made their views clear in six elections over the past four years. I defend your right to have any views you like, even when you are wrongheaded. And you are most certainly wrong on some key matters.
You say there were no class divisions in Venezuela prior to 1998. Why is it only the upper classes who say such silly things? (Just as, in the United States, only white folks say there is no racism, and only men say there is no sexism... the dominating groups find it uncomfortable to admit that they live with privileges built on injustice, and that is a universal truth everywhere.)
I can see a deep class hatred and contempt for the poor in your own words. And I doubt very much that this hatred of yours is merely something you learned in the past four years, before your mythic utopia crashed. When somebody repeats certain words over and over again it provides a wonderful window into the way they think. In your brief note to me you complain about Chávez's "ignorance," to "ignorant morons like himself," and to "his ignorant posse."
The Oxford American Dictionary reminds us that "ignorant" means "lacking knowledge." Many "educated" people confuse "knowledge" with "formal education" but remain ignorant of the ways they themselves lack certain knowledge: like knowledge of economic injustice that allows them to live high off the labor of others. Might you be "ignorant" about some things, too, Madam?
I need not remind you that, under previous regimes, your nation's educational system left the poor behind. It channeled public monies into religious schools that also disproportionately served the upper classes. One of the only paths to education for young men in your country was through the Armed Forces. Young poor women were completely left behind. So when you bandy about a word like "ignorance" you are showing your own of how the previous system gave "knowledge" selectively to some classes and not to others. Your schools, prior to 1998, were among the worst in the hemisphere, even though your country had oil money that other nations did not.
Here's another way in which you show your own "ignorance." The mob action that you refer to as a "strike" is not a strike. In the political sense a "strike" is brought by workers against management to gain better working conditions. What you have going on today is more properly called a "lock-out" of workers by management. McDonalds shuts its doors and denies the workers the chance to work. British Petroleum, on this very day, opens its gas stations in the wealthy neighborhoods but keeps them closed in the poor areas. That, my dear, is not a "strike." Nor is the behavior of the managers at PdVSA a "strike." Nor when the captain of a ship, against the will of his sailors, refuses to move that ship. That is not a "strike" either.
I find your comparisons between Chavez and Castro to be woefully ignorant of history. Castro has been in power 40 years and never held a free election. Chavez has been in power for four years and has held six elections, which every national and international monitoring organization agreed were fair and free. There are zero political prisoners in Chavez's Venezuela, and zero journalists in jail (except for a Community Radio journalist imprisoned by Alfredo Peña's police under false pretenses). There is absolute press freedom in Chavez's Venezuela, even freedom to lie, distort and promote coups d'etat (I, a professional journalist, personally think, on that point, Chavez has been too tolerant: the major TV stations have engaged in behavior that would be illegal under United States communications laws! Bush or Clinton would have already shut down any TV station that did what Globovision or Venevision attempted last April.)
The complaint on Castro's Cuba has always been, A., that he didn't allow fair and free elections, B. that he imprisoned dissidents, and, C., that he didn't allow plurality of press freedom for all views. On each of these points, Chavez is clearly different.
Instead of arguing about what Chavez has done, you use your outrageous fantasies about what he might do as your excuse to be against democracy. Remember: It is Chavez's 1999 Bolivarian Constitution that gives you the right to vote on him again next August. The reason why your pro-coup leaders are unwilling to have a BINDING referendum is that they know they will lose it: Chavez will win again. But your leaders hope that a "non-binding" referendum will not be taken seriously enough by the poor and working majority to get out and vote. The whole world sees through this silly political game on the part of Carlos Ortega and the rest of the Carmoniacos; the people who abolished the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Constitution, human rights and the free press the moment they got into power, ever so briefly, last April.
So, Ms. Martorell, have fun with your phony "strike" and remain, if you like, in your own very deep ignorance and hatred for people who have less than you. Again, I appreciate your willingness to write, and I'm happy to discuss these things with you. And I defend your right to be wrong. And even to be the hater that you obviously are.
But next time you go shouting "ignorance," I suggest you look in the mirror. Let she that is without ignorance cast the first stone!
Te agradezco por mantener la alerta informativa de Narconews en defensa de estos miles de ciudadanos que en este momento preciso, llenan todas las calles del pais. Obviamente, y mas aun desde el fracaso del paro y del golpe petrolero, los opositores van a "jugarse el todo por el todo". Esta noche corre otro rumor de golpe, otra auto-matanza asesorada por los servicios especializados de LA embajada... Pero realmente el apoyo popular crece, y esta batalla no tiene fin. Recibe mi abrazo
Authentic Labor Leaders Support Venezuelan Democracy
Good to here the facts from Venezuala. Watching and reading the mainstream news you would think we were from two different planets. I am really looking forward to the expose on individual reporters, especially Canadian ones, as the reporting here has been awful.
National Union Representative
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today on the online wire news there was an article proclaiming the massive demonstrations on going in Venezuela. When will we be able to break through these lies that the supposed free press print so that more and more people will realize what is really going on in our world?
Gary A. Lail Sr
New York District Council of Carpenters
and very much a dissident
Venezuela, the OAS and Washington
I know how hard Narco News has worked to bring the truth out from under the basket of darkness covering our hemisphere. Once cracked, the basket can never be fully sealed again.
The Latin American countries, and even Canada, are learning to speak out because they realize they are not exempt from tyranny.
Again, congratulations, and keep up the great job!
Alberto, why would very reactionary neo-colonial regimes back this? I am glad this happened, I just was hoping you would have good solid analysis as to why traditional Yankee bootlickers would back Chavez tactically?
Dear Mr. Giordano,
A good article. You cold also point out to your readers that when millions were marching in New York Washington, Chicago and D.C. against the Vietnam War, and demanding President Johnson's head, the thought of "early elections" was never considered- it was ridiculous. The same goes for President Nixon after Watergate (impeachment maybe, "early elections" never mentioned) nor when I President Reagan's administration, officials were found to have facilitated the drug trade to circumvent the law. Since none of the reporters thought to ask that question, perhaps you could.
More Praise for Venezuela Coverage
Keep up the good reporting on Venezuela. You are very much in the minority.
Foreign Affairs and Defense
Office of Congressman Ron Paul, M.D.
I just wanted to send you my deepest respect and thank-you greetings for your informative and constantly updated reporting on Venezuela. You might want to know that for example Swedish mainstream media is, in many senses, worse than the American corporate channels. This is due to the fact that Sweden has a rather monolithic media culture and that their regular source base is by 95% limited to AFP, Reuters, New York Times and Washington post. Not even The Guardian is more than rarely quoted... so you can well imagine. And the fact that US is at war seems not to have affected their source evaluations at all.
So you have been a priceless vaccine against the repeated lies being spread. Thank you again and keep it up.
Reporter, Flamman (independent leftwing weekly)
Al, I am truly astounded by what the Venezuelan popular forces are doing at this moment.
Your editorial on Gaviera is on target. The hypocrisy is incredible and predictable.
Reuters and AP are describing this uprising as being in the hundreds. I wonder how so few people can surround these various and dispersed propaganda mills?
The people should vacate the premises of these places and institute a democratic discourse. Let the rich and the middle classes have 40% (be generous) of all air time to say what they want,and then allow the popular forces the other time to make their argument.
What is happening with the media disinformation is truly a form of psychological terrorism perpetuated by deluded and fanatical right-wing bunch of spoiled and selfish worshipers of imperialism and strong-arm rule.
By the way, your rebuttal to Gustavo's rant was very good, but much too short. I was hoping for a more nuanced critique of his smear. But I understand that you have so much to do.
As usual, excellent coverage by Narco News. You bring information to people that can make a difference.
I would like to do an in-depth analyses of US Ven. news coverage in the last six months to illustrate the ignorance, hypocrisy and distortion that is so much the norm. Their own biased presentation of events is indictment enough; but the fragmented way that news appears makes it difficult to see the continuous line of what are clearly ideological delusions that the mass media attempt to pass off as "objective" and informed reporting.
Keep up the good work and I am hoping that the people take over the corporate media without delay. Moreover, I am hoping that Chavez militarizes every oil installation in Venezuela. Bring in international experts for the managerial positions and teach the masses how to produce thier own oil.
The people's uprising should be permanent and truly revolutionary.
Thank you so very much for your excellent reports from Venezuela concerning the revolt of the spoiled brats who soon will be living in Miami alongside the followers of Batista, Somoza and others of that ilk.
San Francisco, CA USA
More Criticism for Venezuela Coverage
I would suggets that you look at the protest of last saturday in Caracas and rest of the country...No one had to pay us to come out and protest against a regime that has betrayed the people...We gave Chavez our hopes for a better country...and how does he pay back?....Look at his comrades ...bank accounts in Miami, with our people's money... look at the country and tell me we are better off than four years ago...look at our military...look at PDVSA...look at our institutions...isn't the poor poorer....Is this the kind of country we want???? I don't think so...I think is time for you to realise that we were betrayed..we need to think a plan for venezuela again, no adecos, no copeyanos, but most of all NO CHAVISTAS...I hope, for the sake of our children that we can agree that this is not what we want for them...
Just another betrayed Venezuelan,
Sergio R. Gonzalez
PS: Venezuela is big enough for all its children; let's work together for a better future. I'm not a coup plotter; I am a son, a father, a husband a worker. Think about it and write me back. Together we can work it out.
Can it really help your credibility to have a consultant to the Chavez government covering a conflict that that government is involved in? I'm inclined to believe your account, but skeptics will find ample fuel for their fire.
You are full of shit, please do not, ever, use my mail for this garbage.
Use your wife's or your familie's to clean your ass with this kind of
misguided information. Come to Venezuela and will you show you what this
country really is made of, for sure no cowards like you, and not the lowest
of human kind like your hero Fidel, a saint for losers and example for
assessins, for the ones that feel that have been left behind, but no for
the free world, but for their own miserable will, that was never able to
raised their heads in a world of freedom and self imposing liberty, to feel
that everybody's point of view is important.
not, by all means, your friend.
A Threat Against Alex Main
(Note: The following email was originally sent to our colleagues at Vheadline.com, who forwarded it to Narco News. It concerns an article by Alex Main, “The People Rise Up Against Venezuela's Commercial Media,” which was originally posted on Narco News.)
Following is an answer in Spanish to MISTER Alan Main. If he is going to write about Venezuela and the situation there he should understand Spanish. I hope that he can understand the feeling behind it.
From: Joaquin Montoya Parisca [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2002 6:47 PM
To: Helena Russell
Subject: Re: VHeadline.com Venezuela -- THE PEOPLE RISE UP
AGAINSTVENEZUELA'S COMMERCIAL MEDIA>
Tu, como otros habitantes de USA, estan conscientes de que en ense grandioso pais hay muchos locos. Solamente por estadisticas, si solo el o.01% de los habitantes de USA fuesen locos de atar, estariamos hablando de aproximadamente 30.000 desquiciados. Si de esos 30.000 solamente el 1% tuviesen acceso a periodicos como el narconews, estariamos hablando de 3.000 individuos idos de la realidad. Acuerdate de Manson, Oswald, el que mato a Lennon etc., etc. Ese pais donde vives permite todo eso. El Sr. Que escribio el articulo que enviastes no conoce el significado de la palabra "peaceful".
El seguramente no vió los destrozos que causaron los "viejitos" y los "Infantes" a las instalaciones de Promar en Barquisimeto, Globovision en Maracaibo y la Televisora de Maracay. Apartando el hecho de que lo que esten haciendo estos medios sea bueno o malo, la salvajada que hicieron con ellos no es calificable como peaceful.
Tu conoces mi posicion economica y sabes que de oligarca no tenemos nada. Todo mi patrimonio ha sido levantado a costa de muchos esfuerzos y así como no estuve nunca de acuerdo con los gobiernos anteriores por lamanera de como robaron y se olvidaron de los pobres, hoy no estoy de acuerdo con que la solucion sea acabar con aquellos que tenemos algo. Y no estoy inventando nada. He tenido encontronazos con miembros del partido de gobierno, antiguos amigos mios y ahora de los circulos rojos, y las amenazas no se hicieron esperar. Este gobierno, con su odio, se ha dedicado a acrecentar la diferencia existente entre las clases de una manera casi irreversible. Pero su odio no les permite ver que este pais es tan rico que permitiria, bien administrado, que los pobres dejaran de ser pobres y todos fueramos felices. Pero, eso los dejaria sin banderas para seguir existiendo.
Te prometo que, si este pais cae en el castro comunismo (Dios nos libre yo me voy a inscribir en algun tipo de milicia y buscar personalmente al Sr.Alex Main lo voy a secuestrar y traerlo para que disfrute con nosotros.
Bueno Helena! perdona la bilis con que lo anterior esta escrito, pero me molestó que alguien, en la comodidad de su casa americana bien alimentado, bien cuidado y bien lejos de los acontecimientos se le ocurra escribir algo como lo que escribió.
Dear Helena Russell,
In your anonymous friend's letter which you sent to the Vheadline newspaper, a threat was made to kidnap journalist Alex Main for nothing more than his exercise of press freedom and speech.
Your anonymous friend wrote, and you became an accomplice to the threat by hiding this person's identity and not immediately reporting him to the authorities, the following:
Te prometo que, si este pais cae en el castro comunismo (Dios nos libre) yo me voy a inscribir en algun tipo de milicia y buscar personalmente al Sr.Alex Main lo voy a secuestrar y traerlo para que disfrute con nosotros.
Translated, your anonymous accomplice wrote:
I promise you that, if this country falls into castro communism (God free us) I am going to enlist in some kind of militia and personally seek Mr. Alex Main I am going to kidnap him and bring him so that he enjoys with us.
Aside from the clear insanity, violence, and, yes, the very kind of behavior you and your anonymous friend claim to oppose in Cuba, Venezuela and elsewhere (can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?) displayed in your friend's threat - and your violation of United States law by not immediately reporting it to authorities - you have demonstrated that all the cries of "press freedom" are hollow coming from you and your ilk.
Please be advised, Ms. Russell, that should so much as a hair on Mr. Main's head by touched by anyone, I will be sending the competent governmental authorities to your home and workplace to solve the crime. After all, we don't even know that your friend exists. Without knowing his identity, you are a prime suspect.
I would advise you to contact the authorities yourself and report your friend's identity before your illegal commission of a crime - assault, use of the alimentausa.com email account to deliver a threat, and violations of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution - falls on you.
More Comments From Our Readers
How's it going? I have been following your site for a while now, and am on your e-mail list. When you were being sued, I showed up at the fundraisers in New York. I was overjoyed to see you win that one, fair and square.
I especially [like] your in-depth analysis and your scoops about the corrupt War on Drugs. This was not only your stated mission when you began, but it is entrenched in the very name of your site: "Narco News."
I just took a quick survey of the 30 headlines that are on your front page at the moment, and 3 of them have to do with the War on Drugs. That's 10%. I personally would like to see that go up to around 90%, where it used to be. Drug War information is what I always went to your site for; the rest of it I could more or less do without. Like many of your readers, I am happy that you're out there doing what you're doing, but I do not agree with most of your politics.
I understand that you're an independent guy and are going to write about what you're going to write about, but I'm just putting my two cents in. I am a fan. I'm glad you exist. I'm giving you my feedback.
New York City
Al Giordano and Correspondents,
Hello from NC and thank you for your continuing reporting on Venezuela. I have come to rely on Narco News for the straight skinny for anything and everything that's happening in Latin and South America. I appreciate your efforts.
One small criticism: Your writers use 'simulate' in many situations when I think what they really mean is 'dissimulate' - to lie. Why not just call it 'lying' -- that's what it is.
I want to tell you how much I appreciate the reporting that appears at Narco News Bulletin.
It is very reassuring for me to learn what is really happening in Venezuela and why because the mainstream press seems lobotomized and can't get anywhere asking a relevant question.
You and salon.com are daily must read for me. Although I have been retired since 1997, I would gladly make a contribution to Narco News Bulletin in appreciation of great reporting.
BTW, CJR did you a favor by doing such a hack job. Your response should be required reading in Journalism 101, not only io the US, but worldwide.
Dear Al Giordano,
I'm along time reader with deep sympathies for most nations in América with an acent. When you were asking for $ to fight Banamex, I sent that $50 that somehow got temporarily lost/delayed in that lawyer's office.
Anyway, I'm writing to say why I do not read you as much as I used to, asmuch as I want to. Why? Because the glack background makes the reds and whites especially hard on my eyes. Honestly, after reading about Chavez and the mythological strike, I realized my eyes were tired and annoyed -- and then I realized. I had actually been hurrying through all that print just to get it over with!
Why do I give a shit about this? Well, it actually deters my going after your stuff. AND, THIS COULD ACTUALLY BE HAPAPENING WITH OTHERS, thus cutting down on the best source we have of what's really going on in those dark-skinned and corporate-skinned countries where Dan Quayle once thought they all talked Latin!
The last thing I want us privileged northerners to be without is the facts, the facts of how our multinationals and our government are treating our GOOD NEIGHBORS TO THE SOUTH.
I suppose the last thing you want to do is give up your favorite screaming scoop format and colors. I don't really think you will take such a drastic step, You Drastic Stepper, but I have felt these past few days that I owed it to myself to speak my truth, and possibly secure you more readers.
We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the site’s redesign, which happened in October, but also some people frustrated with the color scheme, which makes it difficult for some people to read or print the articles. In response to this criticism, we’ve added a link at the top of each article which says “print.” This link brings you to a version of the article with black text on a white background, in a format that’s compatible with more printers.
This site is, in the end, for you, kind readers – please continue to tell us how we can make it better!
Narco News Webmaster
You and your compadres at Narco News have out done yourselves yet again! When I need vital and cogent information about the unfolding farce of a general strike taking place in Venezuela, I turn to Narco News and am rarely disappointed.
My only complaint is that there are not enough news articles. This is going to change very quickly, however, when more authentic journalists start spreading out over the Americas. However, the quality of the reporting is without par--especially when compared with the corporate media.
The evidence exists for all to see in the archival documents of the corporate media, the corrupt wire services, and the so-called "public" media here in the US and Britain (BBC, NPR & PBS): with respect to the democratically and popularly elected Venezuelan government the establishment media have engaged in half-truths, distortion, uncritical dissemination of pro-coup propaganda, and outright lies.
How much of the "yellow" journalism stems from the distorted ideological worldview that we are fed every day of our lives as US citizens is questionable. The fact is that any reporter worth their salt would have sought out pro-government sources of information that might challenge the statements being made by the opposition. The assassination of government supporters, the fact the "strike" had all the hallmarks of a business-lead lockout, the breaking with the opposition on the part of one of the dissident military members, as well as several solidarity demonstrations on the part of unions in other South American countries are only a few examples of pertinent information censored by the corporate media.
From past US actions against democracy, I am of the opinion that a coup attempt was to have become fully operative this past week. This I can only surmise from some blatant, well placed lies from the corporate media.
On December 6th, 2002 the NPR program "Marketplace" conveyed as fact that the Venezuelan military were behind the Altamira assassination of three opposition demonstrators. Other news media around that same time have broadcast that there are "riots" going on in Venezuela. However, when I had a chance to view the latest wires there was no mention of "riots", only more of the daily demonstrations for and against the popularly elected Chavez government.
Radio broadcasts are surely more ephemeral than printed text. Maybe that is why some of the more egregious violations of journalistic ethics seem to have occurred in that medium this past week?
The US media have acted more like cheerleaders fueling a coup than "objective" sources of pertinent news. The fact that the strike has been a massive failure is covered up by relating the latest outrageous behavior at destabilization promulgated by the coup-supporting opposition. "Tension Escalates...Chavez Under Pressure...Opposition Maps New Future"---these pithy headlines are just a sampling of the tone through which much of the media seem to be massaging a general public acceptance of a new regime or a coup in Venezuela.
What if an opposition group were acting this way in the US? Easy. The leaders would have been jailed long ago for trying to overthrow the legitimate, though flawed, constitutional government of the United States. The government would have arrested or bludgeoned hundreds of opposition partisans.
In not one of the dozens of articles that I have read recently about Venezuela do the reporters bother to report on any of the accomplishments in healthcare and education achieved by the government. At best, and as though following a State Department propaganda play book, the various corporate US media mention repeatedly, however, that Chavez has given the people "cheap" developmental credits and land reform. The suggestion is that the stalwart Chavez supporters are ignorant whores that can be bought off for a couple pieces of gold.
Indeed, a book can and should be written on this campaign of disinformation. An attentive, critical researcher could compellingly illustrate how the corporate media distorters ignore blatant facts to toe the US State Department's line against popular/progressive and democratic governance.
Also of note is how few of the supposedly critical voices on the left have engaged the Venezuela situation. Why is this topic so hands-off? It has all the markings of a classic uprising against illegitimate authority on the part of marginalized peoples. Moreover these people are largely of indigenous and African heritage.
Instead we are subjected the daily "buzz" surrounding Trent Lott's comments. Not to downplay the importance of challenging the Republican Party's credentials on race issues, with Venezuela we are talking about a legitimate progressive democratic government under assault. No doubt that if the government is overthrown and fascists come to power there will be much special consideration given to the current coup attempt--however, after the fact.
Why should anyone accept marginalization or defeat? It is as though some self-styled progressives feel that there is virtue in being powerless while they grandstand, inauthentically, about how oppressed people are.
I think anyone that has a voice in the media currently eating three meals a day and showering with hot water should take a bit of a reality check about what really matters. Maybe poor, uneducated brown Venezuelan masses do not cut as romantic of figures as do Sean Penn or white middle class war protesters?
The false image propagated by the corporate media and the tepid coverage on the part of left sources of information leads me to hypothesize that the Venezuelan conflict is incredibly frightening for anyone enjoying middle class privileges that are not totally earned by individual merit. The very existence of a class society is predicated on illegitimate privilege: the unpaid wealth taken from those at the bottom filters its way up the socioeconomic ladder.
By playing on the deep-set fears of a mostly middle class readership, the corporate media have given unfounded legitimacy to the same group of people that led a violent coup against a democratic government this past April in Venezuela. Somewhere, deeply set into the political-psyche of many comfortable middle class people the world over is the floating fear that the exploited and marginalized masses will rise up, demand,and then take action to improve their political and economic prospects.
Few are the people enjoying a comfortable middle class existence who would demand the same opportunities for those less "blessed"--consistently and adamantly.
And regardless of the rhetorical homage given to the concept of "democracy", many of the same people who extol its virtues the loudest will simultaneously discard the messiness of authentic democracy if it means having to share real power.
The Venezuelan people struggling to protect the constitution and their elected leaders are an example of what democracy looks like: real people attempting to take control over the direction of their lives by checking the illegitimate power wielded by entrenched elites whose greed and delusions of grandeur know no limits.
Thanks, Al, for allowing me to vent my outrage. It is up to me, though, to take this anger and develop it into something lasting and worthwhile.
Keep the authentic journalism flowing and possibly the phase power to the people and concepts like "democracy" will enjoy a global resurgence.
"The name of our country is América" - Simón Bolívar
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