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Caracas, Saturday March 26 , 2005  
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Paying for pens
Minister Izarra is worried about the bad image of the revolution in some US media (Photo: Archive/Venancio Alcázares)
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Venezuela pays alleged analysts and opinion makers for the "empire" media to speak on good terms of the revolution: there must be one single opinion at any cost. Minister Andrés Izarra digs in some official podium to tell the world that things are not and never will be as shown by gringos and their local lackeys. By the way, these are the same lackeys who quote him.And he feels it is his duty to tell the truth and blame the "gang of scoundrels," who from the political core of Big Satan, spread their venom to the world by media controlled by the rightwing and the big capital.

OSCAR MEDINA

EL UNIVERSAL

As the Ministry of Communication and Information has turned into an "immediate response" office and now is the turn of Mr. Bush's evil government after the electronic-electoral beating on the opposition, the young minister's strategy is clear. He ought to face whoever in "the empire" and the world who dares to point an accusing finger to the revolution and its potential leader in the hemisphere.

The duty is completed with the replication of community and "alternative" media outlets through "granting" of equipment that supports them and ensures their loyal support to the red beret. But this is another story.

Thus, brave Minister Andrés Izarra digs in some official podium to tell the world that things are not and never will be as shown by gringos and their local lackeys. By the way, these are the same lackeys who quote him. And he feels it is his duty to tell the truth and blame the "gang of scoundrels," who from the political core of Big Satan, spread their venom to the world by media controlled by the rightwing and the big capital.

Seemingly, Izarra does not turn up his nose at a good fight. In addition to bringing Washington government officials to their senses, he has straightened people like renowned journalist Marta Colomina by calling immediately to her radio show. Also, he has disclosed the "half-true" of domestic media and the Inter-American Press Association oligarchy, and even reprimanded in writing his former employers at CNN.

Nevertheless, Izarra lacks both the clear cynicism of veteran Vice-President José Vicente Rangel, and the native skill of his Commander Hugo Chávez. So far, he has failed to produce a witticism, such as "even Donald Duck is worried about Chávez" or the president's sly disrespect to Condoleezza (Condolence) Rice.

Far from it, things are somewhat shivery for the minister. He directs the media to hell and charges -the mote in another's eye- with no proof a foreign correspondent with being funded by the enemy, Mr. Bush. During his inflamed speech, some things that should not be disclosed are slipped. For instance, last February 24, he stated: "for some years the government has sent letters and met with those journalists and their editorial committees. Both in the United States and Venezuela, meetings have been held with them and communications continue to be sent (...) Enough lobby to explain what is going on."

Izarra held his tongue accordingly and skipped the fact that for some years the Venezuelan government has paid nicely to journalists and opinion makers in the United States to go beyond traditional lobby. Dear me! What about Izarra's blame on another?

Good gringos
Over three years ago, the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO) set foot on the empire's soil. It was recorded as a private company for the "business" purpose of showing a "true" vision of the pretty revolution.

Given the generous, never-ending Bolivarian checkbook, it is not surprising that the Venezuelan embassy to Washington backs this effort at disclosing "the true." Quite a few has been spent. Last year budget for the Bolivarian holders of US passports exceeded USD 400,000.

Deborah James, Nathan Converse and Stacy McDougall head the task force. As in the United States all the legal businesses should be recorded, it was known that Ms. James earns over USD 5,000 a month; Ms. McDougall, USD 35,000 yearly and Mr. Converse, USD 35,000 a year. All of this is paid through the embassy, as explained by them in writing to the US Department of Justice.

It is a hard, but elementary work. They write and disseminate information and printed and audiovisual materials in reply to any criticism to the Venezuelan government. And a great effort is made at creating opinion that favors Hugo Chávez' government. There is no intention to be a lackey of Negroponte or Otto Reich. But, is not it what bothers so much the novel minister when, as he claims, this is done by those who write for papers, such as The Miami Herald, Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and any other that fails to praise the revolution?

Izarra lists these dailies in a paper recently issued by the Ministry of Communication and Information (Minci), entitled "False data and unfounded accusations against Venezuela." The paper contends "the new media offensive" through "the systematic publication of false data and unfounded accusations in some media, particularly linked to the US neo-conservative wing."

The dossier shows the minister's concern and all the work conducted at the body to analyze the contents of the information provided by the empire's media, resulting in a very negative conclusion. President Chávez is accomplice of international terrorism. He is a threat to western democracies, particularly because of the recent procurement of Russian weapons. And the government heads towards dictatorship. (The paper details are available at Minci website.)

Part of the report submitted by Izarra is supported by an investigation conducted by the US organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. The data were presumably taken from the website fair.org and attributed to "political analyst," writer and next-to-become doctor in Political Sciences, Justin Delacour. However, nowhere in the FAIR website -at least these days- Delacour's name could be found, or the "study" whereby it is stated that in six surveyed US newspapers, "opposition speakers are quoted 5.2 more frequently than pro-Bolivarian government speakers."

But Delacour is indeed in the website narcosphere of narconews.com. As expected, his articles should be included in the category of "pro-government speakers."

There is no material evidence about Delacour getting money for praising the Bolivarian Republic. However, he was in Venezuela during the recall referendum as a guest of the Venezuelan Information Office and a member of one of the many "observers" who appear to attest to the revolution accomplishments. Needless to say, the government itself covers their expenses.

ommedina@eluniversal.com

Translated by Conchita Delgado




 
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