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My stance in regards to Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London (15.10.03) – Yesterday I wrote an article about certain website and its editorial team that has caused grievances to some people. Mr Carlos Ramirez has kindly sent me an email with a number of questions that may be shared by very many readers, therefore making use of his suggestion I shall reply to every one of them to the best of my knowledge, confiding that after it they will be no doubts regarding my stance towards Venezuela. The original email of Mr Ramirez is in italics, my response in plain text.

Dear Mr. Boyd:

I just wanted to ask you some questions about the nature of your writing and your publication.

1) Since you are so rabidly opposed to the Chavez administration and you try to discredit any objective news source such as the Washington Post or the BBC as biased and in favour of the Chavez government, my first question is: has it ever cross the thought in your mind that you yourself may be biased and lack objectivity in your discussions and articles towards the Chavez administration in favour of the opposition??

By no means am I trying to discredit the BBC or the Washington Post for that matter. They have done it on their own at least in the case of the BBC. You must be thinking that I have gone mad but there is irrefutable evidence of the involvement of the BBC in the production of the documentary “The Revolution Will Not be Televised”. Furthermore, the analyses presented by the BBC during the general strike and subsequent period by Richard Gott and other rather disgraced Latin American experts were without a doubt a string of propaganda op-eds for Chavez’ regime. As a matter of fact Mr Gott, together with Ignacio Ramonet, Mark Weisbrot and other pundits were guests of honour of the Venezuelan president this year in the celebrations for the Bolivarian revolution. How can we then assume that the Venezuelan theories and views of these gentlemen are not biased? Going back to the issue of the Irish documentary, if after watching it and with a simple knowledge of the development of the events those days you can conclude that it is indeed an “excellent piece of journalistic work” –as described by BBC’s Nick Fraser- well I rest my case. You should know nonetheless that the involvement and broadcasting of said film by the BBC is causing the corporation a few headaches and by law they will have to deal with it accordingly. In times when their reputation as a credible source of information is at an all time low due to their biased editorial line with respect to Iraq and the death of Dr David Kelly; constant attack to Downing Street officials; unwillingness to open up dossiers containing information of fraudulent contracts in Scotland, in sum the BBC is not at the best of positions at this particular moment of time. I stand by every one of my words in this aspect; the BBC has been producing for the last year or so the most staggering collection of biased and false information about Venezuela. As such and utilising my right to freedom of expression I maintain that the BBC is nothing but a propaganda mouthpiece of Hugo Chavez, or else what other explanation can I give to such an absurd editorial line?

2) Since you love to discredit those news sources that may label the Chavez administration as "respecting democracy" as funded by the Chavez administration for propaganda purposes, the question is: where do you obtain your funds from to keep this site running? care to show an account balance?

The running of this site costs me $17.95/month for hosting and £27/month in broadband. If you think of it I can easily lecture those chavistas a thing or two about cost-effective running and management of websites… I and my £35/month venture are reaching a very large audience; the site is in the number 1 position in all of the major search engines worldwide when it comes to searches related to Venezuela and Hugo Chavez. I cover all of the expenses and yes I would be delighted to disclose fully my financial situation. Are Venezuelanalysis and those Latin American experts up to the same challenge?

3) Do you obtain your financial resources from the Coordinadora Democratica, National Endowment for Democracy, Carlos Ortega or Juan Fernandez? I think these are important questions that deserve a response/clarification.

You have missed a few sponsor names in your list namely the White House, the CIA, Carlos Andres Perez, Gustavo Cisneros, the Opus Dei and the affluent oligarchs of Venezuela. I obtain my financial resources through my hard work or at least I used to. Allow me to explain this in greater detail. I had, until November 27, a dead-end job in a hotel. Do you want to know what the nature of my work was? I was a bellman, you know those people that stand by hotel doors and carry bags for a living? Well that was me. At this moment I am unemployed. As such the laws of the country allow me to seek financial help with living costs which I am doing. There is no fooling around with the Inland Revenue in this country Mr Ramirez hence do you think that if I can pass the severe financial scrutiny of the Inland Revenue –in order to be eligible for financial help- I have something to hide from others? Go figure…

4) How come you label those reporters who inform readers worldwide about the nature of the Chavez government as "naive" because they reside abroad while you are living in abroad in London as well?

Those reporters who misinform readers carry loads of cultural baggage and preconceived ideas that prevent them to see things clearly. As an example I will tell you a little story; realising the deeply entrenched football culture of the English I went around asking a lot of people at work, university and so on who did they think was the best footballer ever. The answer could not have been more predictable i.e. George Best and second David Beckham or vice-versa. The passion for their idols inhibits them to think objectively. I am no football expert, I don’t even follow it however I can categorically affirm that Best or Beckham are not the best players ever. If I say, that from my viewpoint Maradona or Pele are/were the best, I would incur into subjective interpretation, some may say, nevertheless no one can deny the obvious fact which is that Best or Beckham are not the best. Same happens with Chavez and those reporters for whom the Venezuelan folk hero represents the last bastion of the left, the incarnation of Che Guevara; they “inform” about the progressive democratic experiment undergoing in Venezuela alas no one can see it; no one is benefiting from it; no sector of the Venezuelan society is better of today than say 6 years ago –lest of course the sycophants surrounding the president-; for decency sake I rather call them naïve other people call them stupid or hired pens…

5) Should not the label of naive and ingenuity be objectively applied to you as well? if not, why not? what makes you knowledgeable about everything about Venezuela's ongoing political crisis since you reside in London?

Very good question, there is a little difference though; I am Venezuelan born and raised (do not be tricked by my name), ID No 11.951.608. As for the source of my knowledge, how about having lived in the country for 30 years? How about having my family and most of my friends there? Certainly those things do not make me the holder of the absolute truth and I agree with you that the adjectives aforementioned could be applied to me, but when it comes to background knowledge of the country I consider myself in a much better position than the armchair revolutionaries defending the indefensible.

6) Do you employ the same amount of hatred and skepticism to members of the opposition that may be corrupt in your articles? or you only save it for the Chavez administration and its defenders/reporters?

Yes I do, I accuse myself of being extremely harsh towards the parvenu members of the opposition for whom I have no kind words or respect. Sadly, as a good friend told me once, “they are the only opposition we have got and for the time being we must support them”. It is rather unfortunate that we need to trust their judgement and tactics. Hugo Chavez is the result of the formula invented, proposed and developed by Accion Democratica and COPEI. If it were to depend on me, I would send to a lifetime vacation in prison - without compunctions of mind- Rafael Caldera, Carlos Andres Perez, Luis Herrera Campins, Jaime Lusinchi, Carlos Andres Perez again, Ramon J. Velasquez –for liberating Larry Tovar Acuña, Rafael Caldera again, Hugo Chavez and each of those government officials whom throughout the years have been involved in corruption scandals. I also accuse them of being deaf, of not representing the will of the people, of sinking the country, of being utterly selfish, of ignorance, of stupidity, of amoral and unethical and above all of not caring for Venezuela.

7) Why should the readers only pay attention to your point of view and not others? do you represent some kind of political eminence in England that makes you the sole information provider about truthful and objective political angles about Venezuela? were you confer the title of knight by the queen?

The readers are free to pay attention to whomever they choose, I feel compelled though to raise my voice against what I consider to be absolute bullshit or humbug to put it elegantly, which is the sort of information provided by the leftist intelligentsia pullulating in “respectable and credible” sources of information such as the BBC, Le Monde Diplomatique, The NYT, CNN and others. I wish I was a political eminence, thus sparing myself of the boring and sterile task of trying to convince individuals like you that I am not for the neo-cons or for Bush or for the corrupt and useless Venezuelan opposition. If I were an eminence, all I had to do is write a book and wait for the usual minions to come round with their thoughtful perspectives asseverating the quality of my work and harvest the added benefit of enjoying veneration from individuals like you buying into their nonsense. It is not feasible for me to represent all of the political angles of Venezuela for none of the trends at present are worth of my admiration or support. I was not conferred the knighthood by the Queen, maybe in next year’s ceremony…

8) In the last paragraph of your last comment published today Sunday, December 14th, 2003, it seems that you are hoping for Mr. Chavez capture and that he be jailed, too. Are you openly calling for a coup and regime change through violence in Venezuela?

I am glad you have asked this. As you may know Hugo Chavez was directly involved in the killing of 19 demonstrators and the wounding of more than a 100. If we were to add that number of victims to the ones he had on his account already owing to the actions of February 27 1992 we can easily say that Hugo Chavez merits to be judged for crimes against humanity for he is a criminal. In that sense, the Spanish Audience –after seeing the case presented by defendants of last April’s victims and finding enough evidence- decided to transfer the case to the International Criminal Court. As director of an international NGO I am making the utmost to bring awareness about this particular issue and I am also engaged in lobbying activities, with the help of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, for the prosecution of Hugo Chavez. Many Venezuelans share my wishes of seeing this gentleman thrown into prison, not a Venezuelan one though, where some stupid president in two years time –as Caldera- might decide to free him again. No. What I am advocating for is for him to be handled by international justice and end up in an international prison, mind you those ones run by individuals he would not be able to boss around. John Gotti’s punishment was exemplary; we can only wish for the same to happen to Chavez and certainly work for it. As for my calling for a coup and regime change through violence I will tell you this much; all we want is elections, free and fair elections, which by the way are contemplated in the constitution drafted by Hugo Chavez in the form of a recall referendum. It is a simple answer, yet disturbing, that you perhaps cannot understand. The violence in Venezuela has one source, i.e. Hugo Chavez. He irrupted on the scene utilising it and he understand nothing else, he has not the capacity to dialogue and compromise let alone govern. May I remind you of who called for coups and regime change through violence? May I remind you of who has violated the constitution?

Finally, I leave you with a challenge, if you decide to answer my questions I would appreciate if you publish my message in its entirety to your readers and your response as well, without censoring or editing anything.

In that way, you could let all of your readers know that you are indeed a brave and honest person/reporter that does not hide and is not afraid of serious questions and owes to your readers many clarification about your articles and opinions.

I have indeed taken up your challenge and to the best of my knowledge I am a brave and certainly honest person, I am not a reporter though; I rather leave that to Gott, Weisbrot, Ramonet, Wilpert et al.

I am gladly looking forward to your answers, whatever they are,

Yours faithfully,

Carlos Ramirez

Always a great pleasure!!

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