Hugo Chavez Has a Penis Rather Than a Vagina
All I really need to know I learned from AOL Sports headlines.
All I really need to know I learned from AOL Sports headlines.
The Post ran an interview today with our hot throbbing mancrush Rafael Correa asking super condescending questions in the way only a U.S. journalist would be
arrogant empowered enough to ask, like “why aren’t you running your country more like X?” and “wouldn’t it be smarter if you did it like Y?” God bless Raf, who apparently is as patient as he is foxy, for not snapping back with “Hey I know, wouldn’t it be smarter if you let me run my own fucking country and you just stuck to writing stories for your little newspaper, hmmm?” which I guess is why we’ll never be president of anything.
>>> Eva Golinger interviews Noam Chomsky.
>>> Greg Grandin reflects on the 40-year anniversary of the assassination of Che Guevara, in Bolivia.
Medea Benjamin and Deborah James reflect on the 1-week anniversary of the NY visit of Evo Morales, who runs Bolivia.
>>> Oil Wars reviews Greg Wilpert’s excellent book on Venezuela.
>>> Media Matters excerpts Bart Jones’s excellent book on Venezuela.
>>> VHeadline writer gets thrown out of a NYC Venezuelan restaurant for carrying Bart Jones’s excellent book on Venezuela.
>>> New-blog-on-the-block PopDem compares the constituent assemblies of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
>>> New-ish blog-on-the-block NoCafta translates the fabulous pic above for you.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is romping all over America’s Backyard™ this week, stopping off to visit such “top allies” like El Salvador and …um… “Other stops were not revealed.” Seriously. They aren’t going to tell us what countries he’s going to.
Scary, right? Or at least intriguing? Maybe something that a reporter might want to look into? Haha J/K.
Without any actual information, the crack journalists turn to the "analysts" who give us their super-informed "analysis." And so as always, the visit is maybe probably “aimed at countering the growing influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the region,” because, as whipsmart analyst Michael Shifter notes, “The worrisome issue for the United States is, what is Chavez doing and what are his plans.” 'N stuff. And America's long slog toward borderline retardation continues...
Sean Penn was on the Late Show last night and got asked all kinds of questions about...Venezuela of course. Penn was just down there, and while Letterman has never been to Venezuela physically, his opinions are equally valid because he’s “read things and talked to people about it” and, mainly, because has his own teevee program and a well-nourished sense of self importance.
Anyway Letterman would ask questions premised on stuff he thinks he might have heard once (“But isn't he talking about nationalizing the media?”) and Penn had the opportunity to set the record straight in his own inidrect way (“I mean the loons on Fox News are broadcast there every day…”) and it’s all mildly amusing to watch, which you can do here.
Yesterday we linked to that mock-tastic Washington Post interview with hot-hot-hot Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Today, a reader informs us that reporter Lally Weymouth was conducting the interview on behalf of Newsweek as well as the Post (corporate media hegemony etc. etc. etc.) Ok, fine.
Interestingly, all of those unbelievably arrogant questions we complained about in the Post interview never made it into the Newsweek edition, but even weirder is that both outlets industriously edited the questions and the answers. Newsweek trimmed things in order to make the interviewer look (mercifully) smarter and less cocky, while the Washington Post’s edits aimed to make Correa look terse and hostile. Fine goals each, I’m sure, but neither is particularly journalistic. Seriously, this is weird shit. Meet you after the jump for details.
The State Department now has its own blog. And honest-to-God, they have named it “Dipnote.” (Dipnote!) Anyway Spokesman Scott McCormack says he’s real keen to “start a dialogue with the public” and hopes that “Dipnote will provide you with a window into the work of the people responsible for our foreign policy, and will give you a chance to be active participants in a community focused on some of the great issues of our world today.” Dipnote! Seriously.
So go ahead, ask him about the 2002 coup in the comments section. Just don’t do it from your home computer if you know what I mean.
Egads! Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly has found an obscure caveat buried deep within the bill of rights that our country has been ignoring for the past 200 years (O.k. to be fair I think I remember it being trotted out a few times in the 1950s before the hippies came on the scene, rolled it up and smoked it). It turns out that “Dissent is only valid when based on sincere beliefs with factual back up.” And to think our great nation has been so wrong for so long.
Fortunately, O’Reilly has created a complex algorithm to help us differentiate “legitimate dissent” from “Anti-Americanism.” In his illustrative example, Bruce Springsteen criticizing the war, remains legally-protected speech (barely), while Sean Penn’s discussion of Venezuela on the David Letterman show is treason. Find out how it all works, after the jump.
A Brazilian polling firm asked Latin American citizens to rank neighboring presidents this week. Chile’s Michelle Bachelet wound up with a 40% approval rating, Chavez followed closely with 38%, and Bush drew up the rear with a pathetic 21%. So of course the wire headline reads “Poll Shows Bush, Chavez in the Same Boat.” Um ok, except that one boat is like twice the size of the other. And he’s Latin so it’s probably thicker, too.
The day after of the historic meeting between top diplomats from both countries, the Associated Press gave some background on how things got so bad in the first place. It’s all Venezuela’s fault, of course. Chavez “constantly is criticizing U.S. ‘imperialism’ under President Bush” while on the other hand, and “Despite deep political differences, the U.S. government has generally sought a pragmatic relationship with Venezuela.”
In the whole entire article, not one mention of those tens of millions of US dollars to create and maintain fake opposition movements in Venezuela, or that time the Bush Administration financed and trained a bloody coup against the government, but of which might be sort of germane to the discussion.
As he does every week at this time, Andres Oppenheimer warns us again that free-trade-hating Democrats are turning Colombian psychopath Alvaro Uribe into the meat inside a Chavez-Correa love sandwich. Or something. Ugh. Anyway Oppenheimer must not read the Wall Street Journal. Because it ain’t just the Dems, bitch:
By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy, a shift in opinion that mirrors Democratic views and suggests trade deals could face high hurdles under a new president.
The red states may be redder than we thought.
>>> Despite his criticism U.S. foreign policy, Sean Penn might not be an America hating terrorist .
>>> Despite its criticism of U.S. foreign policy, Venezuela is a fine vacation destination.
>>> If Ecuador would only allow the U.S. to militarize it, it could become an anti-narcotic paradise like Colombia.
Viva la resistencia. BoRev is taking the weekend off to get in touch with the nature. Try not to panic, Kbai.
In the Orinoco Magna Reserve project, the government expects to certify more than 200 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, which would give Venezuela the biggest hydrocarbons reserves in the world.Please adjust your Doomsday Clock ahead one hour.
An American journalist was forced to flee Colombia over the weekend after pissing off President Alvaro Uribe by documenting his vast and totally obvious connections with Colombian drug cartels. Uribe responded by unleashing said cartels on the journalist and implying that the reporter impugned the name of Colombian hero/druglord/psychopathic murderer Pablo Escobar, who as we all know, used to employ Alvaro Uribe. The journalist decided it was time to leave after receiving 24 death threats in 48 hours, which may be some sort of record even for Colombia.
It’s sort of confusing, but I’m guessing this only proves why we’ve got to send zillions more dollars to Colombia or give them a favorable trade deal or something in order to stave off the growing march toward single-payer health care or whatever it is we’re fighting in the region.
Oh, And: Also this weekend, Uribe’s Cousin Mario resigned from the Senate over his “alleged” collaboration with Colombian death squads, so it's an extra super double model democracy.
Here’s a question: How many corrections do you think the New York Times can issue for a single book review? We ask because some person named “Daniel Kurtz-Phelan,” reviewed Bart Jones’ new Chavez bio over the weekend, and it’s really…something. Really. Not just slanted politically (although a book review that ends with: “From here on, with all his enemies vanquished, Chávez will have no one but himself to blame for the empty promises of his revolution” might should raise some eyebrows) but just plain did-you-read-the-book factual errors. Here are a few:
>>> Kurtz-Phelan messes up dates, attributing recent statements from Chavez to events that happened years earlier;
>>> He praises the authors of a recently translated opposition bio of Chavez for their “access” to the president himself. Although they never met with him. Although Bart Jones did which is sort of ignored;
>>> He makes a number of statements meant to make the government look unproductive: “Unemployment remains high,” (it’s been cut in half) “poverty has fallen only with rises in the price of oil,” (nope) and “inequality” has “gotten marginally worse” (exactly the opposite). CEPR has the numbers on all this.
I’m sure there’s more, but it got depressing so I stopped counting. Feel free to send us additional inaccuracies and if they are interesting, we’ll print ‘em. BTW the reviewer, at 26 years-old, has already climbed up to the ranks of “Senior Editor” at the Council on Foreign Relations' magazine, Foreign Affairs, which, as a colleague on Capitol Hill noted, “is pretty clear evidence that he’s blowing Henry Kissinger,” which sort of cracked me up so I thought I’d share.
Another compelling explanation, from America’s favorite
“[Colombian] President Alvaro Uribe publicly accused a Supreme Court judge of bribing a jailed warlord into testifying that Uribe plotted to murder another paramilitary chief.”
Just another day in the model democracy.
Maria’s Conchita Alonso is more than just an middle-aged Cubo-Venezuelan former starlet with a fondness for bad plastic surgery and (eek) graphic exhibitionism: she’s also the sister of a real live terrorist! Alt-weekly Miami New Times printed an odd, fawning interview with Robert Alonso today, and while it’s mercifully crotch-shot free, it’s sure to make you gag in other ways.
You see, Robert Alonso is just a sweet old romantic who likes daisies and Englebert Humperdink. And this whole having to run away from the law thing is really taking a toll on his poor old wife. And besides, the terrorism was totally everybody else’s responsibility:
“Robert dubs the plan that caused him to flee his homeland La Guarimba, and says it's nonviolent. But the last time he made his pitch for revolt — in 2004 — at least 13 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in clashes. "If you don't follow the instructions, it's not my fault...”Oh, and “he's working with others to form cells in Nicaragua and Cuba.” So what does his kinda almost famous sister think about all this?
“Oh please,” she says. “Terrorists are people who don't care about anybody.”
You know how your disheveled neighbor warned you about The Plan™ to merge Canada, the US and Mexico into one homogenized TexMexified nation of Esperanto-speaking pussies, buying up our hamburgers and tortillas and whatever it is that Canadians eat with our ameros after all the dollars and the FREEDOM have been BANNED? He was right. And they totally would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for Hugo Chavez! Former Mexican president Vicente Fox spilled the whole sinister scheme to Larry King:
KING: E-mail from Mrs. Gonzalez in Elizabeth, New Jersey. "Mr. Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility of having a Latin America united with one currency?"Is Hugo Chavez the only man who loves America enough to defend its sovereignty against the liberals and the metric system and the New World (Dis)Order??? Don’t take my word for it: here’s the video.
FOX: Long term, very long term. What we propose together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is a trade union for all of the Americas. And everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came. He decided to isolate himself. He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea...
KING: It's going to be like the euro dollar, you mean?
FOX: Well, that would be long, long term. I think the processes to go, first step into is trading agreement. And then further on, a new vision, like we are trying to do with NAFTA.
Me I waiting to see the next move from the Vatican. Based on their past antics, I’m guessing assassination attempt. Y’know, for Jesus.
Somebody should really tell Condi that if you are pretending to ignore somebody to make a political statement, you’re not supposed to tell the world that you’re pretending to ignore them to make a political statement because it sort of defeats the purpose.
Of course, Foreign Policy will still play along, but that’s only because Foreign Policy is run by the Venezuelan who wrecked his country’s economy in the first place, and has understandably got a li’l political ax to grind.
Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz was in Caracas this week explaining how “Venezuela's economic growth in recent years has been `impressive.’” and “prais[ing] the South American country's success at distributing its oil income among citizens.”
As one reader wrote in, “Armchair economists may now STFU, Stiglitz in da house.” Indeed.
Ok some crazy people made a funny/scary agit-prop video about Venezuela a few weeks back. And by “crazy people,” I mean “Connie Mack” and “Otto Reich,” so you know it’s going to be awesome. Anyway I got ahold of a copy and made some improvements to it (Pop Up Video style!) so you can sit through the whole thing without totally losing your lunch. Enjoy!
BTW: you may have heard of these guys, the American Security Council, from their terrific work in the 1950s working with Joe McCarthy to keep tabs on "the enemy within," mostly Jews and Hollywood types and such. Also, they made videos like this through the 80s about how we should sell arms to Iran to fund an illegal war in Central America or something. Anyway they totally love America more than you do, which is what makes this film extra special. You can read more about them here.
Manuel Rosales was in Washington this weekend! I know, for a second I was thinking “who was Manuel Rosales again?” too. But then I remembered that he ran for president of Venezuela last year promising to give everyone a debit card linked directly to the treasury and Venezuelans were like “haha no” and he lost in a humiliating defeat.
Naturally, he’s still the Bush Administration’s top pick to run the country, so they flew him up to D.C. on Friday to give him—sorry, ask him—his opinion on current events at home. The State Department’s Latin America guy, Tom Shannon, “reminded reporters Venezuela's constitutional affairs were a strictly Venezuelan debate,” but was quickly corrected by Rosales, who explained that they were actually discussing direct U.S. involvement in the whole process. Then they laughed at their little joke and he went home again.
The Colombian army has murdered nearly 1,000 civilians for no apparent reason in the last few years, and “In many cases, soldiers dressed corpses of their victims as guerrillas in order to get credit for killing rebels in combat…”
Oh and just in case you don’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, their inversely gifted editorial board was all bummed out yesterday that President Uribe wasn’t considered for the Nobel Fawking Peace Prize.
I have so many favorite moments from the American Security Council Foundation’s cuokoo-ass video on Venezuela that it’s hard to pick just one. But the scene where J. Michael Waller explains how Jimmy Carter and the entire Bush State Department plotted against America to keep Chavez in office is nothing short of movie magic (minute mark 19:18, btw).
Anyway, an ASCF spokesman expanded on this theme over the weekend in a deranged little interview with right wing Cybercast News Network. Apparently it is the position of this…ahem… “think tank,” that "Jimmy Carter should be arrested under violation of the Logan Act for legitimizing [the Venezuelan recall referendum]” blah blah blah.
And really, if you haven’t checked out the film yet, treat yourself.
Mexico beat out Colombia this year for the coveted “deadliest country for journalists” slot. In all, the Inter American Press Association noted that reporters were killed, jailed or disappeared-in-the-“murdered”-sense in nine countries in our hemisphere (Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and, notably, the United States of America) in the past twelve months, so naturally the organization pretty much focused their conference around the issue of “Venezuela” this year.
“Whaaa?” you ask. “But that is illogical.” But here’s the funny part: technically the IAPA is made up of media owners, not journalists, so reporter murders actually translate into a boffo ratings share for them! Oh, and they’re also a bit of a CIA front group, which helps explain things too.
BTW: Watch your back, Mexico! Über-patriot Alvaro Uribe is doing his damnedest to win that title back for Colombia next year! And if nationalism is at stake, he’ll kill a dozen himself. With his teeth! And dress them up as leftist insurgents so he can “claim credit” for them.
Four years ago today in Bolivia, this ridiculous “Goni” person was forced to resign as president, days after ordering his army to shoot poor people in the streets of La Paz for protesting.
The stupid part of the whole saga is that Goni was barely even a Bolivian in the first place. He was technically born there, but his parents raised him in the U.S. and he went to fancy boarding schools where he learned to speak languages like “Spanish,” only not very well, and the entire nation referred to their president as “El Gringo.”
Anyway, today he’s living in Washington and we’re constantly bumping into him at events at the Inter-American Monologue and other venues where the Latin American elite go to bitch about the decline of Latin civilization since the socialism took over and you were no longer allowed to shoot the poor people in the streets even when they are dirty and angry.
Oh and his spokesman took the opportunity today to explain that Goni only killed all those people because Hugo Chavez set him up, which is sort of a new one.
A warning to our brothers and sisters in Latin America, ‘specially to those with oil and stuff, from Admiral Jim Stavridis:
"We consider Latin America and the Caribbean as being highly likely bases for future terrorist threats to the U.S. and others."You have until noon to turn over the deed to your countries.
The totally true story that the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know.
Did you pick up on this week’s weird Venezuela talking point? It’s in all the papers. Apparently this “Hugo Chavez” fellow and his crazy Colombian counterpart are exactly alike except when they are being perfect opposites. It’s all very cute and adorable and inexplicable. Like the Parent Trap with death squads (which would have been a much better picture, when you think about it).
It all started yesterday, when Ft. Lauderdale’s Sun Sentinel published a column, titled “Uribe and Chávez, an unlikely pair,” and are they ever! Chavez, as it happens, is an influential leader among other countries in the region while Uribe is a whiney little crybaby who will scuttle long-term alliances when he’s feeling pouty. But also! They are both presidents! Of South American countries! And therefore comparable! It’s a great story!
So great, that by 5:51 yesterday afternoon Reuters had already rushed out its own story, titled “Colombia's Uribe gets closer to leftist Chavez,” in which—get this—the two leaders shown to be very different and yet extremely similar at the same time! An “unlikely pair,” if you will!!
But real clincher came this morning. We all know that when a meme is written up in the New York Times, it’s got real sticking power. And nobody in the business can beat NYT reporter Simon Romero when it comes to nailing that storyline that everyone else published the day before. As his headline slyly notes: “Leaders of Venezuela and Colombia, Ideological Opposites, Are Tightening Ties,” and he then goes on to point out that the two leaders are hilariously alike, and yet…not. It is now an inscrutable, indisputable fact! Well played, Romero. Well played.
Ok so which Einstein came up with the idea to commission an outdoor monument to an impossibly controversial figure in a country famous for its…aggressive political discourse—and then make it out of glass? Shockingly, it took a whole two weeks before somebody shot and shattered a crystalline mountaintop commemoration of Che Guevara in Merida this week. If they’d asked, I could’ve told them, but they didn’t.
Of course, you don’t even have to make it easy for people to fuck with your likeness when they really hate your guts. Which is why a 10-foot bronze tribute to to Mexico’s douchiest ex-President only lasted a couple of hours in Veracruz yesterday before it was toppled and mutilated, Saddam style. Seriously, somebody made a statue of Vicente Fox. WTF? Anyway there’s video and everything.
They’re after the statues, people. Be on guard. For our readers in Latin America, be careful and for God’s sake remain in motion to prevent a deadly misunderstanding.
Are you in Washington for the maybe possibly last ever “annual meeting” of the International Monetary Fund? No? It’s not even worth the time or trouble, you say? Yeah, you’re probably right. Everyone else seems to be just phoning it in these days, too.
>>> Three hundred protesters marched through Georgetown on Friday night, but they only managed to inflict minimal damage to people and property.
>>> Venezuela didn’t even bother to show up this year, since they’re busy creating their own, non-predatory lending institution.
>>> With Venezuela out of the picture, the best anti-IMF zingers came from Brazil, and started out with “allow me to point out the irony…” blah blah blah.
>>> For its part, the IMF made a tragicomic last ditch bid to “move with the times,” announcing that they might consider letting brown-skinned countries help out with some of the minor decisions once in a while. (Yes, apparently “the times” in question are “the late 1950s”)
>>> Oh, and they’re going to remove the debt quotas for Turkey, because it is the only country that actually still receives money from the IMF, which should free the Turks up to focus on special projects. Sorry, Kurds!
Philanthropic giving from Citgo may be helping low income New Yorkers conserve storm water and teach good nutrition habits and survive winter, but at the same time it’s pissing off other oil companies who totally know that the program is “designed to embarrass us.” And also it fucks with the American value of being better than everyone else because our poverty is kinda embarrassing but not embarrassing enough that we condescend to do anything about it. And when coaxed, really coaxed, the poor people that benefit from Citgo community grants can muster some critical things to say about receiving assistance from another country even though they’d never really heard about Venezuela before. And overall, Hugo Chavez has become “the talk of the South Bronx”
Welcome to the New York Times local coverage of Venezuela.
"Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast."
Can anybody explain how Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann still has a career? Let’s recap: back in 1989, when he and fellow smartypants Venezuelan Moises Naim were economic advisors to soon-to-be-disgraced president Carlos Andres Perez, they introduced the brilliant “shock package" into the economy that led to riots and repression and mass graves in Venezuela’s worst human rights disaster in history. Back then everything he touched turned to shitburger, and it’s all been sort of been downhill ever since.
Remember how we used to go around caring about which countries sold children, jailed reporters, “gassed their own people” and such? Haha that’s so day before yesterday. Talking about trade with Colombia, Nick Burns laid out the State Department’s new human rights priorities yesterday:
Burns called the agreement a "fundamental base of our relations in Latin America," and said that human rights issues should not stand in the way of cooperation between the countries.Should be a great year for Burmese rubies!
As you know, when Venezuela and Cuba team up to set up long-term health clinics throughout the Americas, its all cynical petro-politics aimed at making us look bad and manipulating the poor people. When the U.S. sends a floating MASH unit on a one-shot cruise to the same region, we’re talking compassionate “health diplomacy.” And for some reason the Miami Herald will promote it in a full-on experimental multimedia extravaganza.
The Herald’s odd little venture into virtual journalism comes complete with “story,” “video,” “photos” and “extras” like you might find in real DVDs from the store that you actually wanted to watch. Only in this case the “extras” consist of seven bullet points and umm...video credits, which reminds you that this was all made on the cheap for inexplicable reasons from one of America’s crappier news outlets.
Anyway, the story part is sort of funny in that the military doctors make no bones about why they are there: they're going to surgically remove hearts and minds. They note that the countries selected were “tipped toward America’s War on Terror partners” and that the military is scrambling to get photos with Daniel Ortega for a “poster perfect” propaganda campaign. And when asked when they’ll be back for follow-up treatment, one of them is all like, “Maybe it’ll be next year. Maybe 20-30 years. Who knows?” Hey, whatever, right?
So it’s not exactly the directors cut of Knocked Up, but it’s good for a couple laughs.
OMG George Bush is going to make a speech tonight announcing the invasion of CUBA!! Oh wait, don’t worry. “Analysts” say he’s just full of crap again. Bet Otto Reich doesn’t need his Viagra today, though.
America’s Hat is going Bolivarian. At least their oil policy is. Poor old Exxon Mobile just can’t catch a break…
>>> South American peasants wouldn’t be so uppity today if the Alabama Air National Guard hadn’t effed up so bad in ‘61.
>>> Totally not self-promotional auction house claims lock of hair might be Che’s and OMG ‘SOMEBODY IN VENEZUELA’ MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN IT WINK WINK
>>> Venezuela’s new monies prettier than the old monies
>>> American is sure to defeat Venezuela now that that their medical boat has secured the Miami Dolphins cheerleader endorsement
>>> Ok don’t tell anyone but Lula just started his own TV channel and is ruling by decree
>>> Forward thinking Colombian candidates all want to be like Hugo
A lock of hair sliced from the cold, dead head of Che Guevara will remain in the United States, despite the best efforts of a third-rate Dallas auction house to get its hopes up by pretending that Hugo Chavez “may” have been interested in buying it.
Last week the Heritage Auction Galleries called up gullible reporters to tell them that “someone” in Venezuela had requested a copy of their catalogue but oops they’re not allowed to say exactly who. Armed with nothing more than the power of deduction, an apparent unfamiliarity with Venezuelans who aren’t Chavez, and a tragic lack of editorial oversight, AP, Reuters and, naturally, the Miami Herald all ran with the story.
Of course it was all a hoax and some dumbass American was the sole bidder and Che’s hair will remain in the United States forever and ever. Which sort of sucks if you’re Che’s hair, since it was the Americans who snuffed his scalp in the first place.
Speaking of which, we’ve all learned another valuable lesson from all this: Here in the United States, part of what makes us “free” is the utter legality of government agents to kill enemy combatants, harvest their body parts as souvenirs, and then e-bay them for cash money. Which suddenly makes the whole “they hate us for our freedom” line make a lot more sense.
How stomach churning is it to think about Jeb Bush and Karl Rove being invited to an academic institution to discuss the nature of democracy? But they were. Specifically, the talk was “Should America bring democracy to the world?” and of course the answer was “yes” and “by any means necessary.”
At one point the answer also became “by any definition necessary” when the Jebster brought up the case of Venezuela. “Where is the outrage,” he asked, “for someone who steals democracy by an election?" Haha, because elections are how you steal democracy from people. Oh and we were kind of exaggerating when we referred to the venue as an “academic institution.” It was actually Regent University.
Colombians produce most of the world’s cocaine, and rich Americans snort it, so naturally the drug trade is pretty much Venezuela’s fault. Counterintuitive? Sure! But it’s also totally true because it’s on the front page of today’s Washington Post and based on the unflinchingly credible testimony of a Colombian drug lord captured by the Venezuelan government who couldn’t possibly have an ax to grind.
And it’s not like jailed Colombian drug lords have a history of conveniently blaming governments out of favor with the U.S. (like the Cubans or the Sandinistas, for instance) for the crimes they commit, which is why I believe every word of it, although I’m sure that poor black teenagers share a large burden of the responsibility here too and I’d hate to let them off the hook.
Ok so I’m not totally crazy. Other people think it’s wrong for the CIA to take souvenirs off the bodies of people they’ve killed and then sell them for profit, too. Although in the case of Che’s hair, this point was made by a Canadian newspaper, and you have to weigh the inherent moral truthiness of their belief system against the fact that they are foreigners. So it’s tricky.
A reader writes: “Dear BoRev, has anything of note happened anywhere in other parts of South America that are of interest to BoRev readers yet not happening in Venezuela proper and perhaps sexy or tragic or ironic in some manner?” (What, you don’t believe me? Fuck you. It’s my website). I respond: “Claro K-C, dear reader. Ferinstance:
>>> Yesterday the powerful and comely wife of a popular Argentine president captured the hearts of her countrymen in an against all odds rags-to-riches triumph. Despised by the elites yet beloved by the masses such that the U.S. press are constantly comparing her to… Hillary, because journalists are idiots and musical theater is kind of gay. Che’s hair narrates!
>>> Meanwhile, the Best Democracy Ever managed to hold a national election in which only 30 of the major candidates were murdered. Oh and anti-Uribe leftists won three of the most powerful seats in the country so we can start blaming Colombia for the cocaine again.
>>> And finally: Ecuador may be small, but Rafael Correa knows how to work it. President Hunky McHotsalot used his considerable charms—and a generous slathering of petroleum products—to glide his country masterfully into the eager folds of OPEC. With minimal friction.
Is it hot in here, gentle reader?
Over at Venezuelanalysis, Michael Fox probes the bizarre history of U.S. government propaganda campaigns against leftist leaders, culminating of course with the production of “Crisis in the Americas, “ which may be the most unintentionally awesome agit-prop since Mary Bono’s other lover produced “Hell, American Style: Teenage Dope Attack.”
How do you know if you, as a world leader, are tight with Chavez? Because the day after your historic election the Washington Post will publish an editorial subtly questioning the validity of your “relatively free and fair vote,” pushing for your “reconciliation” with global financial institutions, and implying that you only got to your position because you had a powerful partner. Kidding! They threw in that last one ‘cause she’s a chick!
Oh, and Allison Kilkenny has a terrific post on all this that manages to work in Venezuela, the neo-cons, and “Henry Kissinger’s “crusty, old-man pants.” Recommended!
In case you are planning to bring any new children into the world, behold the future of American influence:
The UN General Assembly has voted for a 16th consecutive year to recommend that the US ends its trade embargo on Cuba, imposed more than four decades ago….We’ve lost Micronesia, people. Viva Palau,
The 192-member General Assembly passed the measure by 184 votes to four, with one abstention. The vote comes shortly after US President George W Bush reaffirmed that the US embargo would remain in place. The US, Israel, Palau, and the Marshall Islands voted against repealing the embargo, while Micronesia abstained.
You know how reporters sometimes start working on a piece, and then over the course of their research the story doesn't pan out and they have to just drop it and write about something else? That’s got to be super aggravating! Well it doesn’t have to be that way, and if the Tribune Review has anything to teach us, it’s that you don’t get to be greater Pittsburgh’s second most popular daily by throwing away a perfectly good half-finished story.
Today their business model is on display with this fascinating topic: It seems that Hugo Chavez and his big mouth “may be hurting the oil-rich South American nation at the gasoline pump." Hey, may-be! Let’s check out the evidence…
Ok, so there’s this one area gas distributor who claims that Citgo stations have ordered less gas in the last few weeks. We may be onto something! But the distributor is pretty quick to tie the recent change to a speech Chavez made over a year ago, which is kind of fishy, and he seems to keep getting Chavez mixed up with Khrushchev, which is way kooky. Ok…what else have we got?
Aha! An “energy economist!” This should be good. Except that he thinks that the distributor is full of crap and if Citgo purchases are slowing down, it’s got to be due to either gas prices or the economy. Oh, and there’s this: “Oil industry experts said they have seen no nationwide shunning of Citgo gasoline.”
See, in the olden days, this would have been a back to the drawing board moment for Rick Stouffer, Ace Reporter. But the Trib Rev does not take failure for an answer. Slap a headline on that puppy and warm up the presses! Hence: “Citgo Distributor Says Area's Sales Lapse” Tomorrow’s journalism, today!