<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
Bem Vindos em Português!

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The trademarks "Narco News," "The Narco News Bulletin," "School of Authentic Journalism," "Narco News TV" and NNTV © 2000-2011 Al Giordano


So What Happened Thursday in Venezuela?

Caracas is Calm: An Eyewitness Account

By G.G.

October 12, 2002

Narco News Publisher’s Commentary: The shrieking press coverage in recent days by the commercial media in the United States and Venezuela, and by other parties invested in that country’s conflicts (including some U.S. “human rights” groups who should know better), told of an opposition march scheduled for Thursday and painted grave scenarious of coup d’etat and chaos.

Here at Narco News, we opted for a calmer, more factual, coverage in our recent special reports from Venezuela by Ron Smith (October 2) and by Thierry Deronne (October 5), sticking to the reality of the situation, rather than sensationalize or overstate the facts.

A day after the march, all the hysterical shriekers are proven wrong, and in many cases intentionally dishonest. The opposition march came and went. Most news sources said there were hundreds of thousands. The LA Times said “About a million.” The corrupt Venezuelan press said “more than a million” or “two million.” The Independent of London said “tens of thousands.” In any case, it was no bigger, nor different, nor did it include a wider base than that of the upper classes, the same as many a previous opposition march.

People peaceably assembled. Sure, they called for the violent overthrow of the government, but that’s speech too. The government police and military – despite all kinds of provocations and threats of violent coups – remained calm and ensured the right of its opponents to march. After the march, the supporters of the Chávez government partied in the streets because there had been no coup d’etat. And then everybody went home. Sounds like a healthy democracy to us.
There was nothing sensational about it. That might not sell newspapers, but it’s news.

Here’s an eyewitness report from an authentic journalist in Venezuela who was there…

THURSDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 10, 2002: At 10:20 p.m. in Caracas, the situation in the capital as well as nationwide is completely normal.

The opposition celebrates the success of its call for a march, and the sectors that support President Chávez celebrate that the opposition couldn’t succeed in causing a coup d’etat, something that appears curious in a democratic and legitimately elected government.

After the mobilization of the opposition march, many groups of people who favor the national government mobilized toward the streets near the Miraflores presidential palace to celebrate, with music and chanting slogans, that the opposition failed to comply with its coup agenda today and that they haven’t been able to convoke a National Strike, due to not having sufficient support. Of course, the pictures of these mobilizations are unlikely to be found in the Venezuelan commercial media and are only seen in the international media.

Trying to be objective about the situation today:

– There was a large demonstration against the National Government and it was not met with repression, which shows the world that the government sticks to democratic values. – There was no National Strike begun today, although there had been intention to start one. – There was no violence, although it was part of the hidden agenda. – There was no coup d’etat, although that was part of the same agenda. – Disciplinary measures were taken against military officers who declared themselves against constitutional rule (in spite of the fact that some of them are today fugitives). – There are marked differences and conflicts between the leaders of the so-called Democratic Coordinator, the political organization that joins the opposition sectors and that called for a strike, and this was evident today in various declarations by the leaders to the media. – There was a lot of frustration between the non-militant mass of the opposition when it realized that they had been tricked by their leaders when they had been told that Chávez would resign today, and that didn’t happen. This caused a lot of disillusion in those sectors. – Once more, the biased form in which the Venezuelan commercial media manages information – contradicting the most elemental principles of journalistic ethics, and in a manner that continues to be part of a conspired plan – was made clear to the national and international public. – Equally, the institutional obedience and democratic vocation of the National Armed Forces was clearly demonstrated. – On Friday, October 11, 2002, the constitutional president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela continues to be Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, until a majority of the Venezuelan people decide otherwise.

Thus, according to all the facts previously expressed: Who came out of today victorious? Definitively, it was Venezuelan Democracy.

We remain alert. Coup plans continue to obsess the minds of some people who have turned their backs on the new era that Venezuela lives.

We will continue informing you.

A Letter to the Publisher About This Report:

Why is the journalist G.G. not identified? Doesn’t this go against principles of disclosure? For all I know, G.G. works in the ministry of information.

Not that I doubt for a minute that what was written was true, but these are the kinds of questions that come up when a reporter’s identity is hidden.


A Reply from the Publisher

Dear Stan,

I use writers with pseudonyms infrequently, and only for good reason. I don’t use them to publish press releases by interested parties (i.e. government ministry employees). Of course I know the writer’s identity. Of course he doesn’t work for the government. He works in the Community Media, whose members in recent weeks have been A., illegally imprisoned, B. tortured and beaten, C. shot at with rubber bullets. He is precisely in the catagory of journalists that, when attacked, the international “press freedom” orgs do nothing. I think in a situation like that, the use of a pseud is quite justified.

The use of initials, rather than an invented “real sounding” name also, in my view, clearly discloses to the reader that the writer is using a pen name.
The other thing is: I have been in constant contact this week with various sectors in Venezuela. This article accurately reflects all the corroborating and corresponding information available to me.


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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America