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unanswered emails to Guardian's Rory Carroll re Venezuela
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: unanswered emails to Guardian's Rory Carroll re Venezuela Reply with quote

RE: Venezuela scrambles for food despite oil boom
http://www.guardian.co.uk/venezuela/story/0,,2210473,00.html

Mr. Carroll

This article states

"Up to a quarter of staple food supplies have been disrupted, according to Datanalisis, a public opinion and economic research group."

Near the end you write "Despite the problems Chávez remains popular... "

I'm wondering how Chavez remains popular, especially among the poor when the headline of your article suggests that the Chavez government's policies are starving them..

You should have noted that Datanalisis has a track record of making bogus claims that please Venezuela's elite opposition..

In February of 2003 a Datanalisis poll claimed that the poor in Venezuela had become even more inclined to reject Chavez than the rich. The ridiculously flawed telephone poll excluded huge swaths of Venezuela's poor and it findings were completely demolished by the results of the recall referendum of 2004.[1]

Datanalisis director Jose Antonio Gil Yepes told the LA times in 2003 that Chavez had to be killed for Venezuela's political crisis to be resolved.

Were you aware of Datanalisis' anti-Chavez track record? If so, why didn't you inform your readers?

It is good that you (albeit briefly) paraphrased government officials at the end of your article who provided a far more believable (given the results of every election since 1998) assessment of the shortages and their causes, but why wouldn't you turn to analysts like Greg Wilpert (who lives in Caracas) or Mark Weisbrot of CEPR, who has extensively analyzed Venezuela's economic data?

Joe Emersberger

[1]http://www.narconews.com/Issue33/article1007.html
[2] http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=2985

A July 8 [2003] LA Times article says

"Jose Antonio Gil is among Venezuela's elite.

He moves in circles of money, power and influence. He was educated in top U.S. schools. He heads of one of the country's most prestigious polling firms.

And he can see only one way out of the political crisis surrounding President Hugo Chavez.

"He has to be killed," he said, using his finger to stab the table in his office far above this capital's filthy streets. "He has to be killed."


RE: Students march against Chávez
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2208653,00.html

by Rory Carroll in Caracas, November 10, 2007


Mr. Carroll,

Why are none of the pro-Chavez students who witnessed the violence quoted in this article? According to the Guardian you were in Caracas. Why didn't you speak to any pro-Chavez students - in particular Andreina Taranzon? From your article it appears that only government officials (who were not present) dispute the opposition's version of events.

Why don't you explain why university official's would be particularly hostile to the proposed constitutional reforms? If passed, one university student vote would equal one academic staff vote.[1]

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/2814
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2818


RE Spanish judge is a clown, says Chávez ally by Rory Carroll in Caracas
Friday June 22, 2007
Guardian

Mr. Carroll:

You wrote that the Chavez government "claimed that RCTV had backed a coup which briefly ousted Mr Chávez in 2002."

You must know this is a fact - not an allegation. Why is the Guardian incapable of getting it straight?

Why wouldn't the you take the obvious step of contacting Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain for comments? Their film, "The Revolution will not be televised", documented the role Venezuela's played in the coup of 2002.

You could quickly learn that

1) For two days before the coup of 2002, RCTV preempted regular programming to run continuous (and farcically one sided) coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chavez
2) RCTV ran manipulated video footage blaming Chavez supporters for firing on protestors
3) RCTV blacked out coverage of pro-governments protests that foiled the coup
4) Marcel Granier, head of RCTV, showed up in person at the presidential palace to pledge his support for Pedro Carmona's brief dictatorship.


{AND ONE ABOUT NICARAGUA]

RE: Ortega back in power, early poll results show
Dear Rory Carroll:

Right under the headline of this article it is noted that "US warns of sanctions"

In the article you write that the US "warned that aid and trade with Nicaragua might suffer if its cold war foe from the Reagan years returned to power. "

In spite of this you conclude

"Mr Ortega would probably lose a run-off, since the 60% of the population which dislikes him - a figure which has barely budged in four previous elections - could unite around a single opponent."

Despite the most flagrant intimidation tactics by the US you conclude that 60% dislike Ortega. Are you seriously asserting that threats from the superpower that inflicted massive death and suffering on this country in the past had zero impact on opinion polls?

The World Court ordered the US to pay reparations to Nicaragua for its terrorist war during the 1980s - a war that left 30,000 people dead. The US was, essentially, found guilty of international terrorism. How could you fail to add that crucial bit of context in your article?

I also notice that you referred to Ortega as

"...ego-driven opportunist who has ditched women's rights and income redistribution in his quest for power."

If such harsh words are in order for Ortega why don't you refer to Reagan as a terrorist?

Joe Emersberger


Last edited by joe emersberger on Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:45 am; edited 1 time in total
Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:19 am
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joe emersberger



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RE:Chávez loses bid to rule until 2050
by Rory Carroll in Caracas
Monday December 3, 2007
http://www.guardian.co.uk/venezuela/story/0,,2221013,00.html

Why would the Guardian choose such a grossly misleading headline for this article?

The constitutional reforms would not have extended Hugo Chavez term until 2050 as the headline clearly suggests? You could have learned this by scanning the article. The only way Chavez could have remain president until 2050 would be by continuing to win elections (including any recall referendums called between presidential terms). This shouldn't be hard to get straight. It takes minimal effort to write an accurate headline ("Venezuelans Vote Down Constitutional Reform" or "Venezuelans keep Presidential term limits"). Why didn't you?

In a piece for "Comment is Free" Conor Foley is similarly sloppy in writing
"...voters narrowly rejected his proposals for constitutional reform which would have enabled him to stay in power until 2050."

Rory Carroll reported

"Sceptics said the president played the role of dignified democrat only after frantic backroom talks with senior aides and election officials that delayed the results for hours."

I'm sure sceptics said that, and, judging by Carroll's article, without offering any evidence. If such claims can be regurgitated by the Guardian, why not report on Operation Pliers? According to Eva Gollinger

"The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. "

The Guardian appears to have one set of standards for claims by Chavez opponents and another for claims made by supporters.

Joe Emersberger
Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:56 pm
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joe emersberger



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RE: Cheap and cheerful: Venezuelans cling to right for petrol at 42p a tank

Mr. Carroll,

I was surprised to see you quote Mark Weisbrot in this article. He's been very supportive of the Chavez administration so I suspected he would have more to say about gasoline subsidies than you informed your readers.

Your article stated:

"'It is difficult to go from this system to something more rational,' said Mark Weisbrot, an economist with the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research. 'People think they know how cheap the oil is, and that it is theirs. It is very deep in the culture.' "

I emailed Weisbrot about your article and he replied as follows:

" I told him it was the same in all oil producing countries and even US states like Texas and Alaska, people really do have a sense of ownership and wld consider market prices to be a huge rip-off . . . of course I didn't say anything about 'culture.' "

Nevertheless, Weisbrot also said "I can't say he misquoted me, at least by the normal standards of reporting these days"

Weisbrot also made the following points about Venezuela's gasoline subsidy.

.1) Venezuela does not discount the price of the oil to other countries, but offers discounted credit for purchase (OPEC would not allow discounted oil).

2) Venezuela's gasoline subsidies do not steal from the poor to give to the rich because public transport is very cheap and the low energy prices also lower the price of many goods and services.

3) The government, Weisbrot believes, would raise gasoline prices if it had the administrative capacity to use "gasoline stamps" or some other mechanism to cushion the impact on the poor and working people.

Whether or not you agree with Weisbrot, you should have allowed your readers access to other points of view.

Joe Emersberger
Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:00 am
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joe emersberger



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RE: Colombia accuses Chávez of funding Marxist rebels
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/04/venezuela.colombia

Mr Carroll

You seem to consider it irrelevant to report that Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Aren't readers better informed to judge Uribe's accusations against Venezuela and Ecuador if they know that?

Even mainstream human rights groups have noted that high ranking officials in the Uribe government have forced to resign, even had US visas revoked, over their links to right wing paramilitary groups that are Colombia's worst human rights violators and drug traffickers. More than 40 congressmen from Uribe’s coalition, including his close political ally and cousin, Senator Mario Uribe, are under investigation Over 400 trade unionists alone have been assassinated during Uribe's government[1]

If Venezuela under Chavez had such a grim record do you think the Guardian would fail to mention it?

Joe Emersberger

[1] see http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/01/colomb17975.htm
Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:25 am
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joe emersberger



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email to Rory Carroll re Colombia-Venezuela tensions
Posted by emersberger on March 9, 2008, 3:48 pm

RE All talk, few tanks in border bravado
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/08/colombia.venezuela

Mr. Carroll

Another article, another failure mention Uribe's links to major death squads and drug dealers.
The BoRev blog has summarized key facts about Uribe's government.[1]

Imagine oif any of this was true of Hugo Chavez and his closest allies. Do you think you would mention it then? Among other things, Boreve points out

">>> Fourteen of Uribe's closest congressional allies remain behind bars for their terrorist links, and are slowly revealing where bodies have been dumped, leading to discovery of mass graves last spring.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=454992&in_page_id=1811

>>> His foreign minister was forced to resign a year ago when her brother (a senator) was arrested for overseeing the killing of thousands of peasants. (Yeah that’s “thousands” with a “thu”)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021901046.html

>>> His campaign manager/secret police chief was jailed that same month for “giving a hit list of trade unionists and activists to paramilitaries, who then killed them.”
http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2007/02/25/colombia_political_scandal_imperiling_us_ties/?page=2

>>> His Army chief “collaborated extensively” with illegal death squads and, back in 2002, colluded in the massacre of 14 people for their supposed leftist politics.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0326/p99s01-duts.html?s=mesdu

>>> His police intelligence unit illegally wiretapped the phones of journalists and opposition figures for two years
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/15/AR2007051501320.html

>>> His Defense Minister “tried to plot with the outlawed private militias to upset the rule of a former president," and
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/world/americas/16colombia.html

>>> In last fall’s elections, a whopping 30 major candidates turned up murdered.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/world/americas/16colombia.html"

On a positive note, thanks for providing excellent examples of how vehemently anti-Chavez the private media remains despite all the wild claims about "dictatorship"

Joe Emersberger
Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:50 pm
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joe emersberger



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Dear Rory Carroll:

Imagine an article that could be accurately summarized by the headline

"Human Rights groups press Hugo Chavez to Address Wave of Violence Against Rights Defenders"

Do you think the Guardian would bury that story if it were true?

Such a headline could sum up an article about Alvaro Uribe - a key ally of both the US and the UK in Latin America.[1] A day ago, Human rights group in the U.S sent a letter to the Uribe basically asking him to stop condoning the assassination of opposition march organizers

You've reported baseless allegations made by Peruvians and Colombians against Chavez, In fact, if you seem to report any allegation against Chavez - not matter how baseless. In contrast, Uribe's hideous record goes unreported despite the level of assistance he gets from your country. Why is that?

Is no one at the Guardian (nudge to George Monbiot) willing to speak up about the double standard that is being applied to Chavez and Uribe by the corporate press?

[1]http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/26/colomb18353.htm
Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:04 am
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joe emersberger



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Email to Rory Carroll
Subject Line: Mobile phones in Cuba? What about the dead in Colombia?

RE: Cubans to be allowed to buy mobile phones Guardian,March 29,2008 by Rory Carroll

Mr. Carroll:

Would you bury the story that the Washington Post just pubished if it were about Venezuela's military under Hugo Chavez? Why don't you make the relatively short trip from Caracas to Bogota and start revealing the horrific record of a US and UK ally?

Colombian Troops Kill Farmers, Pass Off Bodies as Rebels'
By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A12
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/29/AR2008032901118.html?hpid=sec-world

Joe Emersberger
Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:04 pm
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Re: Open Door
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/07/pressandpublishing

Dear Siobhain Butterworth

This article basically defends Rory Carroll's highly partisan reporting from Venezuela.

You described an article of his about the Venezuelan government's gasoline subsidies [Cheap and cheerful: Venezuelans cling to right for petrol at 42p a tank]

Rory Carroll's article quoted economist Mark Weisbrot. I asked Weisbrot about the way Rory Carroll had quoted him because I suspected, correctly, that Weisbrot had much more to say than Carrol reported. In fact Wiesbrot wrote back pointing out important points which were completely omitted from the article, points which contradicted Carroll's characterization of the subsidies..

I made these points to Mr. Carroll in a brief email to which he never replied.

At another time I sent him the following note about another article

********
RE: Students march against Chávez
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2208653,00.html
by Rory Carroll in Caracas, November 10, 2007

Mr. Carroll,

Why are none of the pro-Chavez students who witnessed the violence quoted in this article? According to the Guardian you were in Caracas. Why didn't you speak to any pro-Chavez students - in particular Andreina Taranzon? From your article it appears that only government officials (who were not present) dispute the opposition's version of events.

Why don't you explain why university official's would be particularly hostile to the proposed constitutional reforms? If passed, one university student vote would equal one academic staff vote.[1]

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/2814
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2818
*********

Consider the email I sent him about another article.

*******
RE Spanish judge is a clown, says Chávez ally by Rory Carroll in Caracas
Friday June 22, 2007
Guardian

Mr. Carroll:

You wrote that the Chavez government "claimed that RCTV had backed a coup which briefly ousted Mr Chávez in 2002."

You must know this is a fact - not an allegation. Why is the Guardian incapable of getting it straight?

Why wouldn't the you take the obvious step of contacting Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain for comments? Their film, "The Revolution will not be televised", documented the role Venezuela's played in the coup of 2002.

You could quickly learn that

1) For two days before the coup of 2002, RCTV preempted regular programming to run continuous (and farcically one sided) coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chavez
2) RCTV ran manipulated video footage blaming Chavez supporters for firing on protestors
3) RCTV blacked out coverage of pro-governments protests that foiled the coup
4) Marcel Granier, head of RCTV, showed up in person at the presidential palace to pledge his support for Pedro Carmona's brief dictatorship.
******
More recently I asked Carroll why he completely avoids discussing Colombia's horrendous human rights record, one with which the UK is quite complicit, but repeats any accusation against the Chavez government no matter how baseless. Tensions between Colombia and Venezuela were extremely high recently, both countries were very much in the news, but Carroll completely failed to tell his readers about the nature of Alvaro Uribe's regime.

For example I sent Mr. Carroll the following note

*****
RE: Colombia accuses Chávez of funding Marxist rebels
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/04/venezuela.colombia

Mr Carroll

You seem to consider it irrelevant to report that Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Aren't readers better informed to judge Uribe's accusations against Venezuela and Ecuador if they know that?

Even mainstream human rights groups have noted that high ranking officials in the Uribe government have forced to resign, even had US visas revoked, over their links to right wing paramilitary groups that are Colombia's worst human rights violators and drug traffickers. More than 40 congressmen from Uribe’s coalition, including his close political ally and cousin, Senator Mario Uribe, are under investigation Over 400 trade unionists alone have been assassinated during Uribe's government[1]

If Venezuela under Chavez had such a grim record do you think the Guardian would fail to mention it?

Joe Emersberger

[1] see http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/01/colomb17975.htm
**************
Making a similar point I send Mr. Carroll the following note about another article

*****
RE All talk, few tanks in border bravado
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/08/colombia.venezuela

Mr. Carroll

Another article, another failure mention Uribe's links to major death squads and drug dealers.
The BoRev blog has summarized key facts about Uribe's government.[1]

Imagine oif any of this was true of Hugo Chavez and his closest allies. Do you think you would mention it then? Among other things, Borev points out

">>> Fourteen of Uribe's closest congressional allies remain behind bars for their terrorist links, and are slowly revealing where bodies have been dumped, leading to discovery of mass graves last spring.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=454992&in_page_id=1811

>>> His foreign minister was forced to resign a year ago when her brother (a senator) was arrested for overseeing the killing of thousands of peasants. (Yeah that’s “thousands” with a “thu”)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021901046.html

>>> His campaign manager/secret police chief was jailed that same month for “giving a hit list of trade unionists and activists to paramilitaries, who then killed them.”
http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2007/02/25/colombia_political_scandal_imperiling_us_ties/?page=2

>>> His Army chief “collaborated extensively” with illegal death squads and, back in 2002, colluded in the massacre of 14 people for their supposed leftist politics.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0326/p99s01-duts.html?s=mesdu

>>> His police intelligence unit illegally wiretapped the phones of journalists and opposition figures for two years
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/15/AR2007051501320.html

>>> His Defense Minister “tried to plot with the outlawed private militias to upset the rule of a former president," and
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/world/americas/16colombia.html

>>> In last fall’s elections, a whopping 30 major candidates turned up murdered.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/world/americas/16colombia.html"

On a positive note, thanks for providing excellent examples of how vehemently anti-Chavez the private media remains despite all the wild claims about "dictatorship"

Joe Emersberger
***************

Then, only weeks ago, Mr. Carroll failed to report a major outcry against Uribe's regime by prominent human rights groups.

****
Dear Rory Carroll:

Imagine an article that could be accurately summarized by the headline

"Human Rights groups press Hugo Chavez to Address Wave of Violence Against Rights Defenders"

Do you think the Guardian would bury that story if it were true?

Such a headline could sum up an article about Alvaro Uribe - a key ally of both the US and the UK in Latin America.[1] A day ago, Human rights group in the U.S sent a letter to the Uribe basically asking him to stop condoning the assassination of opposition march organizers

You've reported baseless allegations made by Peruvians and Colombians against Chavez, In fact, if you seem to report any allegation against Chavez - not matter how baseless. In contrast, Uribe's hideous record goes unreported despite the level of assistance he gets from your country. Why is that?

Is no one at the Guardian (nudge to George Monbiot) willing to speak up about the double standard that is being applied to Chavez and Uribe by the corporate press?

[1]http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/26/colomb18353.htm
********************
While neglecting to say anything about Uribe's victims in Colombia, Carroll was soon off to Cuba, so I sent him the following note

******
Email to Rory Carroll
Subject Line: Mobile phones in Cuba? What about the dead in Colombia?

RE: Cubans to be allowed to buy mobile phones Guardian,March 29,2008 by Rory Carroll

Mr. Carroll:

Would you bury the story that the Washington Post just published if it were about Venezuela's military under Hugo Chavez? Why don't you make the relatively short trip from Caracas to Bogota and start revealing the horrific record of a US and UK ally?

Colombian Troops Kill Farmers, Pass Off Bodies as Rebels'
By Juan Forero
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page A12
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/29/AR2008032901118.html?hpid=sec-world

Joe Emersberger
**********************

It is clear that Rory Carroll's function at the Guardian is to discredit and lampoon Latin American heads of state who dare to challenge US hegemony. Colombia's president, with his horrific human rights record, is therefore of negligible interest to Mr. Carroll.

It is nice to see that I am hardly alone in having noticed.

Joe Emersberger
Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:05 am
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RE: Guardian; The Long Slide by Rory Carroll
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/17/venezuela.hugo.chavez

Mr. Carroll;
You wrote a 4500 word article about Venezuela and yet managed to ignore an extremely important question. Will the US succeed in overthrowing the government of Hugo Chavez?
The following words exhausts your examination of the US role in this very long article (which ironically mocks Chavez as long winded and evasive)

". In 2002, business, church and army leaders briefly ousted Chávez in a coup tacitly backed by the Bush administration."

There was nothing tacit about US support for the coup. The Bush administration openly applauded the coup and peddled the lie that Chavez had resigned even though US Intelligence had detailed knowledge of the planning for the coup.[1] Freedom of Information Act requests have shown that the US funded groups involved in the coup before and after it took place, and of course the US has consistently backed coups to maintain its hegemony in the region - Venezuela (2002), Haiti (2004 and 1991), Chile (1973), Brazil (1964), Ecuador (1963), Guatemala (1954).

You also wrote
"Opinion polls peg Chávez's approval rating at 35%, his lowest level in five years, and 60% say they oppose his policies. There is a question mark over the methodology and independence of the polls, but they fit anecdotal evidence of haemorrhaging popularity."

The most important "question mark" is that other polls are showing that support for Chavez remains solid - 68% according to a very recent poll by the Venezuelan Data Analysis Institute (IVAD); 60% according to Latinobarometro in a 2007 poll. Why didn't you tell your readers that? Anecdotes - which consume much of your article - can be used to support anything.[2]


On the Venezuelan economy under Chavez you wrote
"Government expenditure has surged from 18% of GDP to almost 30%, propelling Chinese-levels of economic growth. Per capita GDP has grown by more than 50% since 2003, leading to dramatic falls in poverty and unemployment. Some studies suggest previous oil booms delivered similar gains, albeit with less fanfare."


Which studies are you referring to, and which periods are they talking about? Venezuela's economy is now growing much faster than it did during the oil boom years between 1973- 1977 when oil prices were rising more rapidly than today. [3]


You passed very quickly over the reason the established parties have been electorally crushed by Chavez since 1998:

"Then, in the 80s, it all went wrong. Corruption, waste and bad policies squandered the bonanza and left most of the population languishing in hillside slums while the elite shopped in Miami. When oil prices tumbled there were no longer even crumbs for the poor. The government was hated, the system untenable."


From 1970-1998 per capita income in Venezuela fell by 35 percent. .[4] The fall was brought about by neoliberal policies that Washington pushed around the world. The government resorted to massive repression to control public anger. In 1989 the Venezuelan government perpetrated the "Caracazo" massacre. According to Human Righs Watch

"Thousands were injured and at least 398 persons were killed, most of them shot by the military and police."[5]

How, in a 4500 word article, could you fail to mention this major crime - especially when it clarifies why the 1992 coup attempt made Chavez a hero to millions?

On a positive, I am glad you finally acknowledge that RCTV supported the coup against Chavez in 2002. It would have been much better had you stated this when all the fuss was being made about its public license not being renewed.
Joe Emersberger

[1] See Eva Gollinger "The Chavez Code"
[2] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3438
[3] http://www.scribd.com/doc/208329/The-Venezuelan-Economy-in-the-Chavez-Years
[4] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1459
[5]http://www.hrw.org/reports/1994/WR94/Americas-11.htm
Sat May 17, 2008 5:49 pm
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RE: Colombia: Pinned down in their jungle lairs, wounded Farc face long war's end
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/15/colombia.venezuela

Dear Siobhain Butterworth:
CC Rory Carroll

This article is introduced as follows:

"Pinned down in their jungle lairs, wounded Farc face long war's end Colombia's insurgent army is reeling from defeats, desertions and the loss of Chávez's backing"

When did the FARC have the "backing" of the Chavez government?
What does the Guardian know that the rest of the world does not?

Joe Emersberger
Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:34 am
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RE: Intellectuals condemn authoritarian Ortega
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/24/2

Dear Rory Carroll and Siobhain Butterworth:

Please explain why an article was written about the open letter to Daniel Orgeta signed by Noam Chomsky et al, but no article was ever written, in fact no mention ever made in Guardian, about the open letter sent to Alvaro Uribe in March by prominent human rights groups - most notably Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch..

The letter to the Alvaro Uribe basically asked him to stop condoning the assassination of opposition march organizers. [1] In contrast, the letter to Ortega was prompted by a hunger strike provoked by the government's cancellation of the legal status of a political party over a technicality.[2]

The letter to Colombia addressed a far more serious abuse of power but was ignored. Why no article ever written entitled "Human Rights Groups Condemn Uribe"?

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/26/colomb18353.htm

[2] http://www.radiofeminista.net/junio08/notas/embassy_Nicaragua.htm
Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:00 pm
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Dear Rory Carroll and Siobhain Butterworth:

Why not write an article about this other letter Noam Chomsky just singed? This one addressed to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. It should interest the Guardian even more than the letter to Ortega given that it addresses a deadly, rather than legalistic, "stifling of dissent".

Joe Emersberger

24 de Junio, 2008
President
ALVARO URIBE VELEZ
Palacio de Narino
Bogota, Colombia
South America
Dear President Uribe :

We write to you to express our strong support for the courageous
report of Ivan Cepeda Castro and the Movement of Victims of State
Crimes ( MOVICE) on the worrisome influence of paramilitaries in the
Universidad de Cordoba, an important institution of higher education in
northern Colombia.

MOVICE called attention to the fact that the head of the university,
Rector Claudio Sanchez-Parra, was chosen by paramilitary leader
Salvatore Mancuso. Mancuso has for the past several years exerted
strong influence over appointments in the university. During this period
19 members of the academic community have been murdered. Rector
Sanchez is the subject of investigations by the Attorney General’s office
for his ties to paramilitaries, and has appointed several relatives of
Mancuso to university posts.

Those professors, students and employees who oppose the
corruption and violence brought by the paramilitaries, and particularly
those who are members of the union for university personnel,
SINTRAUNICOL, have had their lives threatened. An attempt on the
life of one of the union’s leaders was made after Claudio Sanchez
became Rector.

We are particularly distressed that you have personally
commended the Rector and severely critiziced Mr. Cepeda and
MOVICE, whose defense of the victims of paramilitary and state sponsored
violence we celebrate.

We call upon you to end paramilitary influence in the university
and guarantee a respectful academic enviroment free of threats. Instead
of crass personal criticisms of Mr. Cepeda show him the respect a true
friend of letters deserves.

We pledge to focus our attention on the Universidad de Cordoba,
and support the courageous efforts of those who seek to end the
destructive paramilitary influence there.

Sincerely,
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor ( retired) MIT
John I. Laun , President Colombia Support Network
Eunice Gibson, Adjunt Professor of Law at Lakeland College and MATC
Al Gedicks, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Marc Becker, Truman State University
Bishop thomas Gumbleton, Detroit
Dan I. Bolef, Professor Emeritus, Washington University, St Louis
Regina Birchem, PhD
Mark M. Giese, Racine Wisconsin
William Aviles, Professor of Political Sciences, University of Nebraska-
Kearney
Al Gedicks, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin -La Crosse
Nancy McClintock, member WILPF
Natalia Jaramillo, Founder Committee, Civic Human Rights Network
Colombia
Dave A. Davis, Kansas City
Father David Wanish, Diocese of Madison
Dan Kovalik, USSW, Associate General Counsel
Marian Seagren Hall of Wausau, Wisconsin
Joshua Clark, University of Texas, Austin
Nicolas Zakzuk, Miami
Edith Ballantyne, Special Adviser on United Nations to WILPF
Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
Ann Tiffany, CSN Central New York
Luis Alfonso Hernandez
Fredrik Jansson, President Colombianätverket, Stockholm, Sweden
Lynn Biddle. Cambridge, Massachussets
Pat Stoner
Zoltan Grossman, Faculty in Geography and Indigenous Studies, The
Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington
Sister Frances Hoffman, O.P. Sun Prairie Public Library
Luis Alonso Cardona Betancourt, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Islas Canarias
Philip E. Gates, Retired Superintendent of Schools, Arizona
Enrique Santiago Romero- Abogado, Madrid, Espana
cc Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
Assistant Secretary of StateThomas Shannon
US Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield
Colombia ‘ s Ambassador to the US Carolina
Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:13 am
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joe emersberger



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RE:Haiti: Mud cakes become staple diet as cost of food soars beyond a family's reach
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/29/food.internationalaidanddevelopment

Dear Rory Carroll:
I'm glad you wrote this article about the horrendous impact of the global food crisis on Haiti's poor, but why didn't you say anything at all about the immensely destructive role the US and its allies play in the current crisis?

The destruction of Haitian agriculture, which you made some reference to in the article, was initiated at the insistence of Washington under the US backed dictatorship of Jean Claude Duvalier.

The US Senate is still debating debt relief for Haiti - something that should have happened decades ago given that at least 40% stems from loans made to the Duvaliers. Without debt relief, Haiti will have to pay an additional $44.5 million in debt service payments in 2009 alone to multilateral institutions (mostly the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank). "This is equivalent to about 26 percent of Haiti's spending on public health, where there are many vital unmet needs." concluded a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

In contrast to the generosity shown to the Duvalier dictatorships, from 2000-2004, while Haiti had a democratically elected government, a US led aid embargo blocked loans totalling at least $500 million from a government that had a total budget of only $290 million in calendar year 2000. [1]

The coup that ousted Jean Betrand Aristide's government in 2004 led to a humanitarian and human rights disaster for which the US and the UN Security Council were responsible. The most credible evidence is that 4000 thousand Aristide supporters were murdered by the UN installed dictatorship and its allies. [2] Rene Preval was democratically elected in 2006, but the impact of the dictatorship of 2004-2006 continues to stifle democracy as the ongoing plight of Yvon Neptune makes very clear. [3]

Joe Emersberger

[1]http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/emersberger040108.html
[2] Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, "Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households," The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006,
[3] http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18256
Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:31 am
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joe emersberger



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RE:Venezuela: Hugo Chávez expels US ambassador amid claims of coup plot
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/12/venezuela.usa

Mr. Carroll,

You wrote in this article that

"Venezuela's president has made previous claims about other alleged conspiracies, which were never substantiated".

US government documents published by Eva Gollinger (and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act)reveal that the US funded groups involved in the 2002 coup before and after it took place. The documents show also that US intelligence had extremely detailed information about the 2002 coup weeks before it took place. The US government applauded the coup as a legitimate transfer of power - a "resignation" - despite all the detailed information it had.

None of this is mentioned in your article. Would all this information have been dismissed had the coup happened in the US - with Venezuela funding the perpetrators and openly applauding their actions?

Joe Emersberger


PS you wrote that Chavez said to a rally ""Go to hell a hundred times, f*****g Yankees,"
Do have the original Spanish quote?

[The Guradian's translation is -in fact- incorrectI found the speech at the following link.
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=9fgAdq_SLYU

The word "mierda" literally means "shit". It is not equivalent to the F word in English - nor is the expression "Yanquis de mierda" as an idiomatic phrase equivalent to a phrase that use the F word..

]
Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:26 am
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joe emersberger



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Dear Rory Carroll:

Why do HRW and even Noam Chomsky get mentioned prominently in your articles when they criticize a government the US doesn't like (Venezuela or Nicaragua under Ortega), but not when the criticize a US/UK client like Colombia under Uribe?

When has an HRW report about Colombia ever been so prominently reported?

Joe Emersberger
Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:21 am
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joe emersberger



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RE: Suitcase full of trash adds to Chavez corruption claims
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2008/sep/21/usa.venezuela

Mr. Carroll:

Don't you suppose readers are confused by how US courts obtained jurisdiction over alleged corruption in Venezuela and Argentina?

Not until the seventh paragraph do you vaguely mention that the "unusual nature of the FBI sting and prosecution's charges prompted widespread suspicion that the trial is politicized." Unusual indeed.

As one US lawyer put it in his analysis of the case "Why now is the government attempting to prosecute Duran and by extension Venezuela under an obscure anti-spying law, other than Miami's disdain for anything Castro or Chavez-ey?" [1] Unfortunately critical voices like his are completely absent from your article.

You also failed to point out that courts in south Florida have abysmal record that has been extremely well documented. In fact, in 2005 a Court of Appeals located in southern Florida reversed a trial court ruling against “the Cuban five” and ordered a new trial with a mandated change of venue for the five Cuban agents.[2]

Shouldn't your readers know that Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel and assistant (for 16years) to Colin Powell, commented on the case of the Cuban Five as follows.

"These men were unarmed, not intent on any physical damage to the United States, and were motivated to protect their fellow citizens from invasion and repeated attacks by Cuban-Americans living in Florida."[3]

Courts in Miami allowed confessed terrorist Luis Posada Carrilles to walk free. [4]

If you are going to go into detail about this "suitcase" case, shouldn't you mention facts like these?

Joe Emersberger

[1]http://www.borev.net/2008/06/valijagate_update_i_1.html
[2]http://www.coha.org/NEW_PRESS_RELEASES/New_Press_Releases_2005/05.53_Cuba_Five.htm
[3] http://www.granma.cu/INGLES/
[4] http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-05/18franklin_.cfm




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Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:38 pm
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joe emersberger



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Re: email to Siobhain Butterworth RE Colombia
Posted by emersberger on October 5, 2008, 10:55 pm, in reply to "email to Siobhain Butterworth RE Colombia"

Dearr Siobhain Butterworth (and Rory Carroll)

I just forwarded you information about grave human rights violations in Colombia. Instead of reportimg any of that information you published yet another article about the so called "suitcase scandal" - US allegations about corruption in Venezuela and Argentina.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/05/argentina.venezuela

Putting aside the extremely dubious nature of the US allegations, the people making them, and the US case for jurisdiction - how can this possibly be more important than grave violations in Colombia which have been aided and abetted by the UK government for many years?


Joe Emersberger
Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:59 pm
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joe emersberger



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Dear Rory Carroll, Siobhain Butterworth and George Monbiot:

The Guardian might literally be able to save many lives in Colombia by publishing the information that I have sent you in recent days. The Guardian has an appalling track record of ignoring atrocities carried out by this UK ally. [1] However, it is never too late to change your ways. Needless to say, if these events were taking place in Venezuela it is impossible to imagine you ignoring them as you have. Please put aside your political preferences and think of the indigenous people facing Uribe's (UK purchased) weaponry as human beings.

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/17613



Mass Mobilization Facing Government Backlash in Northern Cauca Amidst “State of Internal Commotion”

By Mario A. Murillo

(Bogotá, Colombia; October 14, 2008)

As I write this, over 12,000 indigenous activists and representatives of other popular and social sectors of southern Colombia are urgently congregating in the “Territory of Peace and Coexistence” in La Maria Piendamó, in Cauca, confronting a massive presence of state security forces who have been ordered to dislodge them.

The popular mobilization began on October 12th, and was called to protest the militarization of their territories, the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and the failure of the government of President Alvaro Uribe to fulfill various accords with the indigenous communities relating to land, education, and health.

On Monday, as expected, the communities participating in the indigenous protest blocked a portion of the Pan American Highway that connects the cities of Popayán and Santander de Quilichao, in the department of Cauca, in an act of civil disobedience meant to force the government to meet with them to discuss some of their demands.

Instead, what we’ve seen over the last two days are serious confrontations between special-forces police units and the communities assembled, with several indigenous activists severely wounded, one possibly fatally, in the ensuing clashes. These unfolding developments come just days after two other Nasa Indians – Nicolás Valencia Lemus and Celestino Rivera - were assassinated by unidentified gunmen late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, a few hours before the start of the mobilization, bringing the total number of indigenous activists killed in the last three weeks throughout Colombia to 11.

Dirty War with Many Sources

Eyewitnesses say the assassins of Lemus and Rivera were members of the Aguilas Negras, or Black Eagles, newly formed paramilitary groups that have emerged throughout Colombia in recent months.

The 39-year-old Lemus, the brother of two well-known Nasa activists, was driving his car on the road from the town of El Palo to the indigenous reserve of Toribio, in the mountainous region of northern Cauca. He was accompanied by his wife and son. According to eyewitnesses, Lemus was ordered to stop and get out of his car by two hooded gunmen, who proceeded to drill him with bullets in front of his family. The assassins, before leaving the site of the attack, wrote “Águilas Negras” on the window of Valencia Lemus’ vehicle.

However, the current governor of Cauca, Guillermo Alberto Gonzalez, denies there are any new paramilitary groups operating in the department.

Regardless, it appears that a dirty war against the indigenous and popular movement in Colombia is well underway, and it is emanating from many different sources.

On Saturday, the Council of Chiefs of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, CRIC, received a call from the office of Cauca’s governor, informing them of intelligence reports that provide evidence that the Teófilo Forero column of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, intended to assassinate the well-known indigenous leader and member of the CRIC’s council of Chiefs, Feliciano Valencia. On Friday, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, ACIN, received a faxed letter from FARC, warning of a campaign of extermination against alleged government collaborators within the indigenous cabildos of Toribio and Jambaló.

It is no coincidence that while government officials repeatedly accuse the indigenous leadership of being manipulated by FARC guerillas in their protests and mobilizations, FARC is quick to return the favor, unilaterally targeting so-called sapos, or collaborators, from within the indigenous communities. For the indigenous communities, the results are tragically the same, despite years of declaring their autonomy from all armed actors in the conflict.

Indeed, since receiving a seven-page email threat from a group that described itself as “Angry Peasants of Cauca,” CEC, on August 11, five indigenous people in Nariño, three in Riosucio, Caldas, and now three in Cauca have been assassinated. The Governor of the indigenous cabildo of Canoas, also in Cauca, was saved only by the courageous act of a member of his community, who refused to provide details of his whereabouts to armed gunmen who were looking for him two weeks ago.

It should be pointed out that indigenous activists are not the only victims of this latest wave of political violence. Along with the above-mentioned murders, an Afro-Colombian leader in Tumaco, two non-indigenous peasant activists in Cauca, and Olga Luz Vergara, a woman’s rights leader from the organization Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres in Medellín, have also been assassinated within the last month.

Latest Clashes and the “State of Internal Commotion”

Before the October 12th mobilization began, indigenous leaders in Cauca and on a national level had warned about the potential for a repressive backlash against the indigenous movement on the part of the state security forces, as well as other armed actors in their territory.

That President Uribe had declared a “state of internal commotion” on the eve of the protests gave the indigenous leadership considerable reason to be alarmed, despite the President’s assurances that the extraordinary measure was invoked to address the growing crisis in the judicial system, crippled by a four week strike of judicial workers throughout the country.

As stipulated in the 1991 Constitution, the “state of internal commotion,” allows the president to govern without the oversight of the legislature, giving the president unprecedented powers, particularly in the area of security and “public order.” In announcing his decision to invoke this measure, Uribe pointed to the 2,600 so-called “delinquents” who have been released as a result of the 42-day judicial workers strike, saying that something needed to be done to reign them in and resolve the crisis facing the country’s legal system. The “state of internal commotion” and Uribe’s increasingly authoritative approach to domestic affairs, therefore, was once again justified in the name of security. Now that the government and the judicial workers union, ASONAL, seemed to have reached a tentative deal on a new contract on Tuesday, the big question is whether or not the President will deactivate the measure, criticized by many constitutional scholars as unnecessary, if not altogether undemocratic.
Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:58 am
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joe emersberger



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Please report the following declaration of the European Parliamentarians regarding recent events in Colombia. Please also watch this CNN video about the massive demonstrations against Uribe's regime which you have thus far ignored.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/10/22/colombia.shooting.video/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Joe Emersberger


Parliamentary declaration
About the repression of the indigenous and trade unionist movements in Colombia

We, the undersigned MEPs, have been informed about the repression perpetrated against the indigenous demonstrations taking place since October 12th in different Colombian regions, and the murder of 27 indigenous people, the disappearance of many more and the injuring of others. We have also learned about the repression against the sugar cane workers movement which begun in September.

We want to express our deep indignation about these serious violations of indigenous and trade unionists' rights that should not go unpunished.

We consider as legitimate the claims of the indigenous people for the respect of their land and autonomy, for the survival of their 102 different peoples, of which 18 are in constant danger of disappearance and for the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. Likewise we recognize the legitimate claims of the sugar cane workers for decent work.

We urge the Colombian government to order the police and army force to immediately stop the repression against the indigenous peoples' and workers' movement.

We express our rejection of the unfounded expulsion of three European citizens who were observing the current demonstrations.

We condemn the permanent use of the pretext of fighting against terrorism to repress the social movement in Colombia.
- Vittorio Agnoletto, Italy

- André Brie, Germany

- Giusto Catania, Italy

- Gabriele Cretu, Romania

- Bairbre De Brun, Ireland

- Ilda Figueiredo, Portugal

- Claudio Fava, Italy

- Monica Frassoni , Italy

- Vicente Garcés, Spain

- Ana Maria Gomes, Portugal

- Pedro Guerreiro , Portugal

- Umberto Guidoni, Italy

- Jens Holm, Sweden

- Richard Howitt, United Kindom

- Marie Anne Isler-Béguin, France

- Eva Lichtenberger, Austria

- Marie-Noelle Lienemann, France

- Caroline Lucas, United Kindom

- Mary Lou Mac Donald, Ireland

- Helmuth Markov, Germany

- Erik Meijer, Holland

- Willy Meyer-Pleite, Spain

- Luisa Morgantini, Italy

- Tobias Pflüger, Germany

- Miguel Portas, Portugal

- Miloslav Ransdorf, Czech Republic

- Marco Rizzo, Italy

- Raul Romeva Rueda, Spain

- Esko Seppanen, Finland

- Eva-Britt Svensson, Sweden

- Feleknas Uca, Germany

- Gabriele Zimmer, Germany.





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Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:46 am
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joe emersberger



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Dear Rory Carroll:
The Guradian just published an article about a FARC hostage who espcaped after eight years of captivity.[1]
Why is there nothing about the indigenous protesters shot to death this month.[2]
Does the Guardian consider the lives of those murdered by Uribe and his allies expendable and insignificant?
It certainly appears that way.
How else can one explain the striking contrast with the way the plight of the FARC's victims is reported?


[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/oct/27/colombia
[2] http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/23/indigenous_colombians_begin_10_000_strong
Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:48 pm
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joe emersberger



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RE: Colombian army stands accused over civilian deaths
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/11/colombian-army-civilian-deaths

Mr. Carroll:

I admit it surprises me to be writing to you to congratulate you on an article about Colombia. You not only mentioned the scale of the abuses being carried out the Colombian government and its allies, but also the support it receives from the US and the UK. Of course, there is much much more to say, and it would take many articles to do the topic justice, but this a welcome change from your usual output. Hope it continues. It could help save many lives.

Joe Emersberger
Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:10 am
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RE: Chavez party dominates in Venezuela regional elections
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/24/venezuela-regional-elections

Mr. Carroll:

You claim in this article that Chavez threatened to "mobilise tanks if results went the wrong way"

According to James Suggett of VenezuelaAnalyisis

"...Chávez has said he will use the military to intervene if opposition forces attempt to destabilize the country during the elections, as they have done with relative impunity in the past....

The president also said he will deploy the military if opposition governors and mayors use their power as elected officials to attempt overthrow the national government..."[1]

That is very different from what you have reported.

Do you have an exact quote, and, if so, what was the source?
.
Given that no such use of the military was used,despite some opposition success, and given the track record of the Venezuelan opposition, I think you can understand why many people would find James Suggett's version more credible.

It should be very easily to settle this issue decisively. What was your source?

Joe Emersberger

[1] http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/newsbrief/3952


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Re: email to Rory carroll
Posted by JamieSW (jsternweiner) on November 25, 2008, 4:41 am, in reply to "email to Rory carroll"

I sent him an almost identical email yesterday - no reply yet.

BoRev links here

http://nuevaprensa.com.ve/content/view/10006/2

- looks like it includes some direct quotes, but it's in Spanish so I can't read it.

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Thanks Jamie, from the qoute cited its clear Chavez said that he will not allow himself to be overthrown by another coup, that he believes particular opposition candidates will use an electiral victory to launch another coup,

He adds, dramatically, the voting for the opposition will to be to vote for "war" because he will not be like he was in 2002 - a lear reference to the coup.

He does NOT say he will reverse any electoral victory by his opponents by using the military. Moreover, that obviously did not happen.

I'll used google translate on this artcile so that others can confirm for themsleves what it says.

I notice that the first several comments are hoistile to Chavez and smear him, in spite of what the artciel says, for "threatening" opponents..

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The Google translate version is below and it is terrible - unfortunately because I didn't want non-spanish speaking people to just trust what I wrote above.

Nevertheless, especially to those who understand the refernces to the "Chavesz of 2002" there can be no doubt that he was saying that he would fight another coup. The key passage below was translated coherently:

"They are doing everything possible to win the governorship of Carabobo, the plan is to win Carabobo, Miranda, Aragua, the mayor of Caracas and Petare, and then the next year to topple Chavez, I repeat that the Chavez of 2002 left behind ".


GOOGLE TRANLATE VERSION BELOW
*************

The president Hugo Chavez, calling out and call a vote and not to fall into triumphalism because in his view there are no small enemies, and said that if the opposition won the governorship of Carabobo, remove the tanks to defend the people, because that victory is a prelude to a plan that aims to lie down.

"Still there by smell some triumphalism, no small enemies, we are facing the American empire, the oligarchy," he said from the state of Carabobo.

"They are doing everything possible to win the governorship of Carabobo, the plan is to win Carabobo, Miranda, Aragua, the mayor of Caracas and Petare, and then the next year to topple Chavez, I repeat that the Chavez of 2002 left behind ".

"On the assumption that the oligarchy to take the governorship of Carabobo, in that event next year would be a year of war, they want to lie down and I will not allow me grave, you have the instrument (?) I speak to honest people of Carabobo, Mario Silva is the guarantee of peace and the security oligarchy of the war, the way you choose. "

It was referred to the opposition candidate, Enrique Salas Feo, "if you that chicken pitiyanqui oligarchy and the coup returned to the governorship, maybe I will finish removing the tanks of the armored brigade to defend the revolutionary government and people of Carabobo, homeland or death is the slogan, we do not want war, they are the ones who want war, they want to see me outside Miraflores to take over Venezuela and the chick pitiyanqui instrument of that oligarchy is full of hatred. "

"Do what you have to win the elections but the November 23 (?) They must win everything, every mayor? Ace, the Legislative Council Regionl." (UR)
Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:44 am
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RE: Chávez drive for indefinite re-election as president
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/hugo-chavez-venezuela-opposition-party

Mr Carroll

You wrote

"A resurgent opposition rode discontent over crime, inflation and poor public services to win major cities and five states, including the populous and economically important Miranda, Carabobo and Zulia regions. Chávez's candidates swept 17 states and 80% of town halls. Both sides claim victory."

Why does simple arithmetic become obsolete when assessing elections won by politicians the US has been seeking to overthrow?

No doubt , the opposition made some gains - thereby proving that running is better than boycotting - but how does that make it a debatable point who won when Chavista candidates received the a decisive majority of the votes?.The Chavista vote rose from just over 4 million last year (the constructional referendum) to more than 5.5 million this year, Votes for the opposition in these elections totalled about 4 million.

You seem to have implicitly retracted your previous claim that Chavez would annul any opposition victories by using military force when you write

"Victorious opposition candidates said they wanted to work with the president and his allies to tackle urgent social problems. Chávez rejected this offer as a ruse by anti-democratic forces bent on a US-backed coup similar to the attempt which briefly ousted him in 2002..."

Will you ever concede the serious distortion that Chvez would call in tanks "if the vote went the wrong way"?

Joe Emersberger.
Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:30 am
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email to Rory Carrol re articles on two recent articles on Venezuela
Posted by emersberger on February 15, 2009, 2:06 am

RE: articles of February 15 and 13 about Referendum in Venezuela
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/15/chavez-venezuela-poll
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/13/hugo-chavez-venezuela-referendum

Mr. Carroll
These two recent articles of yours about the upcoming referendum Venezuela are (combined) about 1100 words and yet you never clarify what the referendum is about.

If passed, the referendum would amend five articles of Venezuela’s constitution, so that term limits would be abolished for mayors, governors, state legislators, national legislators, and the president.

The exact text of question will be: “Do you approve of amending articles 60, 162, 174, 192, and 230 of the Constitution of the Republic, as proposed by the National Assembly, which would expand the political rights of the people with the aim of allowing any citizen who holds a publicly elected office to be nominated as a candidate for the same office, for the constitutionally established term, exclusively depending on their election via popular vote?”[1]

Of course, reporting the facts would not support the smear that the referendum is a vote on "Hugo Chávez's dream of ruling Venezuela for life." which you insinuated in your article of February 15.

You work for a newspaper based in a country without term limits on members of parliament. You shouldn't have a hard time understanding this referendum, or reporting accurately.

By the way, since you are the Guardian's "Latin America Correspondent" not (officially) its "Venezuelan Opposition Correspondent" you should be interested to know that a search of the Guardian for "Yidis Medina" does not turn up any articles. She was the senator who was bribed to get Alvaro Uribe approval to run for a second term in Colombia.[2]

Suppose Hugo Chavez had decided to get approval to run again by bribing legislators rather than by calling a referendum. How many articles would you have written about that by now?. .

Joe Emersberger.

[1]http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4116

[2] Toronto Star; Colombian president calls for replay of tainted re-election; June 28, 2008
Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:09 am
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Carroll
You have often stated in recent articles that Hugo Chavez has "spoken of
ruling beyond 2030." I asked Greg Wilpert about this. Wilpert is (I believe you
know) a very knowledgeable scholar of Venezuela. He replied as follows

"...he [Chavez] makes these off the cuff comments at times and then all the
media latches onto them as if he had just made a new policy statement. I
think once he said something like, in a sarcastic and mocking tone, 'If the
opposition doesn’t behave, perhaps I’ll just stay here until 2050!' "

Why don't you supply a direct quote from Chavez and clarify to your readers
whether or not a statement he made was a serious policy pronouncement - or a
sarcastic jab at his opponents?

Joe Emersberger
Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:55 am
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