Paying for pens
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.
|Minister Izarra is worried about the bad image of the revolution in some US media (Photo: Archive/Venancio Alcázares)|
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Translated by Conchita