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The 'impartial' advocates of Venezuela’$ Hugo Chavez

By Aleksander Boyd

London 14 Jun. 04 – The file is here folks, just arrived. With great anticipation I cracked the envelope open to read the material sent by the Foreign Agents Registration Unit and the findings, oh the bliss!! Todd Tucker, Marc Weisbrot, Greg Wilpert, Eva Golinger, Deborah James, Bill Fletcher, Kim Bartley they are all in there. My long and deeply held apprehension has just been confirmed for the aforementioned ‘impartial’ observers and experts are nothing but propaganda mouths of the Bolivarian Revolution. So let me start with the basics.

The Venezuelan Information Office

According to a document received by the Registration Unit on February 27 2.004 the Venezuelan Information Office, LLC is owned by VIO Investments, CORP, a corporation under the laws of the State of Florida (Document #P04000032683, EIN 20-0747684), incorporated by Isaura Gilmond and Evelio Gilmond. I ran a quick search on both names –-never heard of them before—and it turned out that Mr Evelio Gilmond appears to be a high ranking military officer from Venezuela. Furthermore his name is mentioned in a web site of the Frente Institucional Militar de Venezuela. Additionally that of his Mrs, offering real state services in Weston, Florida can also be found in a Century 21 web site. Mrs Gilmond identified herself (in the Registration Statement No 5609 Pursuant to Section 2 of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1.938, as amended) as director of the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO henceforth). The nature of the registrant’s regular business or activity is described as:

“To improve the image of Venezuela within the American public; members of Congress, and NGOs. To improve the perception of Venezuela by the American people by managing the communication process through the media. To establish the conditions for the bilateral improvement of relations among the American government and the Venezuelan government by diffusing the knowledge of the present Venezuelan process amongst the American people.”

In order to achieve said goal Mrs Gilmond received on February 2nd 2.004, from the government of Venezuela via the Embassy in Washington, an initial lump sum of $150.427. The Embassy also donated 4 computers and 2 printers. In Exhibit B, whereby the definition of the agreement between the VIO and the Embassy of Venezuela is established, as per February 27th 2.004, the agreement is of verbal character. The terms of the understanding are for a period of one year, with a total budget of $660.000. On March 2nd 2.004 Mrs Gilmond filled an amendment to the Registration Statement in which payments to staff and contractors is detailed:

Date To whom Purpose Amount
27/02/04 Nathan Converse wages $3.000
27/02/04 Stacy McDougall wages $3.000
27/02/04 Deborah James wages $4.000
27/02/04 Rossana Rodriguez fees for service $3.500
27/02/04 Gray Panthers rent $2.100
27/02/04 Isaura Gilmond fees for service $2.500
27/02/04 FARA registration fees $305

The staff at VIO

Deborah James. Ms James is, according to records, Executive Director of the VIO for this period. Her full time role is described as “Public education, congressional lobbying to educate the general public and the US Congress about Venezuela” and for it she charges $5.333 per month. A Google search on Ms James points at the Global Exchange, whose mission is “Global Exchange is an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting political, social and environmental justice globally. Since our founding in 1988, we have been working to increase global awareness among the U.S. public while building partnerships around the world.” Ms James, acting Global Economy Director, will return on August 1, 2.004 to the organization after a very prosperous sabbatical year in which she certainly has built fruitful partnerships with a convicted criminal and chronic human rights abuser.

Stacy Elizabeth McDougall. Her occupation in VIO is “Congressional Outreach Coordinator.” The job description is explained by her as “I will work with Congress and policy makers to educate them about contemporary Venezuela.” Her ‘knowledge’ costs us $35.000 per year. Google has a few links about her; social justice and IMF/WTO counter campaigns consume her spare time.

Nathan Lord Converse. Defines himself as “media analyst,” such a pompous title for someone who will turn 25 in four days time. One must wonder whether he acquired his media expertise shadowing the likes of Weisbrot, Tucker and Wilpert… The job description is referred as:

- Monitor US media coverage of Venezuela
- Compose and distribute written responses to negative coverage
- Write thematic opinion pieces for submission to US newspapers
- Disseminate accurate information about recent events in Venezuela between March 10 and April 16.

The services of this callow youngster mount also to $35.000 per year and his writings, well I better not comment on that. He is presented to readers in that beacon of fair and transparent journalism called Venezuelanalysis as “a Washington-based Latin America policy analyst who has worked as a consultant to the Venezuelan Embassy…” Mr Converse’s performance most have had Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera (a.k.a. the ring leader) convinced of the necessity of giving him a pay rise; on April 14 he filled a new form with a salary of $36.000.

Isaura Gilmond. Appears to have a multifaceted and evolving role in the spin venture; in February this year she was director then on March 18 she filled yet another form with “administrative assistant” as her job description for a mere $3.500 a month.

The old VIO

For the six month period ending January 31, 2004 the aforementioned individuals were not necessarily assigned to the described roles. As such I have learned that the VIO was owned (as a single member LLC) by a Jennifer Russell, prior to November 21, 2003. From November 21, 3003 until January 7 2004 the VIO was a two member LLC, owned by Bev Hoffman and Glenn Rabut. Since that date and the appearance of Isaura Gilmond in February 27, 2004, the Venezuelan Information Office has been a single member LLC owned by Bev Hoffman. This information was provided by Glen Rabut in a document dated January 31, 2004.

However Hoffman, Russell and Rabut also enjoyed the largesse of Hugo Chavez. Both Hoffman and Russell filled forms dated July 10, 2003 that show a salary of $60.000 to be paid annually to each one of them. The activities described are very much in common with the ones already mentioned. Glenn Rabut was to make from September 16, 2003 a handsome $35,000 a year, which equalled the yearly earnings that whiz kid Converse was already making.

To be continued…

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