Issue # 22 Sign Up for Free Mailing List

July 9, 2002

Narco News '02

We're Back:

Thanks to You

July 9, 2002

From somewhere in a country called América...

Dear Colleagues,

With the support of our readers (that's you) - the only boss we have - Narco News has now overcome the sabotage to our computer facilities which had left us unable to inform you since June 23rd.

In these same days, we've been on the ground reporting from two hot spots: Bolivia and Venezuela. The América of authentic democracy and dignity opened up this season with historic advances against the US-imposed "war on drugs" and the meddling by Washington and Wall Street in the sovereign affairs of nations.

There is progress in many corners of our hemisphere, but most markedly in Bolivia and Venezuela. Our first reports this week will bring you up to date on these events that open the 21st Century with a Bolivarian bang.

Democracy Defends

in Venezuela

In late June, the elected government of Venezuela - together with Civil Society and the majority of the people - overcame a second attempt by a wealthy minority, its corrupted news media and its backing by foreign powers to instigate a coup d'etat.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Civil War: The convocatory power of the commercial media simulators collapsed -- better said, it was taken away -- in a large part due to the Authentic Journalism Renaissance underway throughout Venezuela by independent, non-commercial and small TV and radio stations.

These community broadcasters, considered "pirate" and illegal in every other country on earth, were legalized and guaranteed Press Freedom rights by the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999.

This entire nation of 24 million citizens has now become a giant laboratory of participatory Authentic Journalism. Venezuelans have invented a new way to fight the tyranny of a corrupt commercial media and neutralize its former power to control the conversation. There, from the popular barrios, I spoke with hundreds of members of the Venezuelan public and interviewed the New Journalists - mostly, but not at all exclusively, young people - now teaching the world how to grab back the microphone.

In the coming days and weeks, as part of Immedia Summer, we will bring you the Bolivarian Revolution directly from the words of its participants from a land where it seems as if every citizen, except for the commercial media caste, is to one degree or another an authentic journalist. We have documented this immediate history, and will be reporting it to you.

¡Halo Presidente!

Foto: D.R. 2002 by Al Giordano

In this photo, Chávez Takes the people's calls at a five-hour live national broadcast on Sunday, June 23rd, from the studios of TV Catia Libre from the top floor of a hospital in one of Caracas' most popular neighborhoods. On this day, forty volunteers from the nation's community TV and radio stations, its independent community press and popular internet news sites, joined the president during this national teach-in on the subject of media and democracy.

Democracy Advances

in Bolivia

"Can you imagine a popular leader (and coca grower) in power?" asked our Andean Bureau Chief Luis Gómez this past week as the votes were being tallied, still, from the June 30th national elections in Bolivia.

Imagine, you can, kind reader.

For the past two years, Narco News has translated and reported the uncensored words of Bolivian Congressman turned expelled Congressman turned presidential candidate turned, now, into one of two finalists for the Bolivian presidency, Evo Morales, together with the citizens' movements, including but not limited the coca farmers, now occupying a major bloc in the national congress.

August 6th will be D-Day - Democracy Day - for Bolivia. And the same US Embassy that threatened the Bolivian people prior to the election that a vote for Evo would be a vote to end U.S. aid is now scrambling to stop the sunlight during these pre-dawn hours of authentic democracy in América.

Gómez - the only international correspondent to suggest, four months prior to the elections, that the popular movements had a chance to take power this year - has chronicled the Bolivian presidential campaign from start to finish. He remains on the scene with a front row seat as history takes the witness stand. In his final campaign stop, presidential finalist Morales pledged, if elected, to expell the US Drug Enforcement Administration from Bolivia.

¿Evo, Presidente?

Foto: D.R. 2001 by Al Giordano

For the drug warriors, imposing their policies and demanding their illicit profits from Washington and Wall Street, América's dream of authentic democracy - a land where peoples and nations make our own decisions for ourselves - has become power's nightmare. The aftershocks of this one-two punch - Democracy restored in Venezuela and Democracy born in Bolivia - are quaking louder from Perú to Colombia to Ecuador to Mexico and into the Europe and the United States. Próxima Estación - next stop! - Brazil, where in the jungle the lion of Bolívar's América has slept, but may awaken in the upcoming national presidential election in October: the World Cup referendum on imposed U.S. economic and drug policies.

Everybody speaks of "democracy." But talk is cheap. The words, somewhere, in fact all over the place, in a country called América are now converting into action. The history and the reality of the new century are in play.

At Narco News, ever since our Opening Statement on April 18, 2000, we have daily brought you the wind from below in the form of facts - unreported by the commercial media - that now push history forward. Today, in the Summer of 2002, no longer can anyone deny its gale force. Stay tuned for detailed reports from Venezuela and Bolivia by your correspondents.

After experiencing temporary technical difficulties for the past sixteen days, our problems were solved by you, the readers.

Narco News is back, and so is our friend América.

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