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The ‘impartial’ advocates of Venezuela’$ Hugo Chavez, part III

By Aleksander Boyd

London 16 June 2004 – The most prolific worker of the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO) in terms of outreach is without a doubt Nathan Lord Converse. This gentleman filled 11 pages penned with names and details of activities. Only in the first page, spanning from August 25, 2003 to September 4, 2003, one can see reference to Andy Webb-Vidal (mentioned twice), the ineffable Juan Forero, VIO Director Deborah James, Brian Ellsworth, Charles Roth, WSJ’s Marc Lifscher, AP’s Alexandra Olson, Reuter’s Hugh Bronstein and Pascal Fletcher, Frances Robles from the Herald, Washington Post’s Scott Wilson, in sum a true who’s who list of Latin American correspondents and analysts.

On September 4, 2003 he sent a template to most of the aforementioned journalists, and some more, commenting on an Op-Ed published in the International Herald Tribune. The finality of the email was to advocate for the ‘quality’ of the article urging recipients to read it. The author, in case you haven’t guessed it, was another impartial cavalier, i.e. Mr Marc Weisbrot.

The article referred to contains the trademark maxims of Weisbrot. For instance the following:

In the last few weeks there has been a concerted public relations effort both in the United States and in Venezuela, joined by the Bush administration, to create a false impression about a proposed referendum to recall Chávez. The Bush administration wants people to believe that the government signed an agreement with the opposition to hold a recall referendum, and that Chávez will be to blame if it does not happen. The editorial boards of several major U.S. newspapers have already endorsed this script.

But the government signed no such agreement - that would be like Governor Gray Davis of California agreeing to a recall election before anyone gathered signatures and filed a petition. The opposition will have to submit the signatures and follow the constitutional procedures - just as in California - before any referendum is held.

Talking about “concerted public relations efforts” he failed to mention about the existence of the VIO, whose staff calls upon him very often to write ‘acute’ analysis vis-à-vis Venezuela. Weisbrot’s self flagellation does not stop there though, he goes on to say without safeguarding his reputation that “…the Bush government wants people to believe that the government signed an agreement with the opposition to hold a recall referendum…but the government signed no such agreement.” The piece was published Friday, August 29, 2003. The agreement signed in Caracas between government representatives and opposition on May 23, 2003, after months of negotiations, with the auspices of the OAS was already vox populi. Ergo Washington based Weisbrot failed to get acquainted with transcendental details of Venezuela’s political strife for at least three months, otherwise how does one explain that he affirmed in a widely read newspaper that there was no such agreement? A lapsus mentis perhaps? Taking into account his constant lies and prevarications about Venezuela, what interests (economic or otherwise) could Weisbrot possibly have? To his disgrace history has shown that not only the agreement was signed but Hugo Chavez, against all odds, permitted the acceptance, by his cronies of the National Electoral Council, that the opposition had collected enough signatures to trigger the recall referendum.

My friend Eva Golinger appears to be an active member of a “swift response team” in charge of providing American media outlets with ‘accurate information’ concerning Venezuela. Said group, if conclusions are to be drawn by analysing Converse’s activity log, is composed amongst others by:

VIO Director Deborah James,

Dawn Gable,

Joel Terra,

David Holmstein,

Magaly Garcia,

Dozthor Zurlent,

Antonio Padrino,

Chuck Kauffman,

William Camacaro,

Tim Jeffries,

Edgar Hernandez,

Peter Maybarduk,

Brian LeCloux.

In tomorrow's article I will comment on the disbursements of VIO's monies and its recipients.

Note: PDF copies of the VIO file will be posted shortly.

To Be Continued…

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