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Mentorn TV & Sandra Jordan: in the footsteps of Bartley & O’Brian…

By Aleksander Boyd

London 30 Oct. 04 – Channel 4 has just broadcast a documentary part of the series of “Unreported World” entitled “El Comandante” which of course refers to Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. I was contacted early in July by a Bettina Truemper, researcher from Mentorn TV, who was shopping around for information and contacts here in London that could help in the production of the documentary presented by Sandra Jordan. A quick Google search directed Ms Truemper my way and we got together and had subsequent telephone conversations and email exchanges on the subject of Venezuela.

It is bizarre the way these TV producers and researchers work. As readers will see, on the email exchange, from the onset Ms Truemper mentioned the human rights situation of Venezuela as a key point of her research. Having just finished to see the programme I can honestly say that I am disgusted with myself for having believed that finally a British television production company could get it right in exposing the chaotic conditions that the people of Venezuela are experiencing. The human drama dear readers is no cause of concern before the ever fascinating and prostituted argument of US imperialism, especially for leftist Europeans. Of all the Venezuelan people struggling to win the democratic battle over Chavez’ authoritarianism, Sandra Jordan & the team of producers of Mentorn TV, decided to focus on the neo fascist Chavez; some other industrialist; Eva Golinger, who does not live in Venezuela and whose connections to the regime voids any credibility she may had and not to be missed, of course, the new Samaritans: i.e. the Cuban doctors who in true Christian spirit are 'alleviating the suffering of the disenfranchised', illegally working in Venezuela. “The heavily guarded headquarters of Sumate…” goes the line featuring Maria Corina Machado, who could not even answer truthfully to the question posed by Jordan in regards to funding received by the NED. Marcel Granier was also interviewed in company of who appeared to be the lawyer in charge of the defence of Major Henrique Capriles Radonski, who by the way spent 120 days illegally arrested on trumped up charges. Did they mention that? No need...

Truemper emphasis on human rights violations had me convinced. Alas no one seems to be able to put a finger on the Venezuelan truth. Be it left, right or centre; Anglophone or otherwise there seems to be an immense lack of capacity in differentiating fact from fiction, fact from political beliefs or tendency, fact from opinion or character infatuation, in sum I know of only a handful of people that can actually tell the story the way it is. Unfortunately none of these people were portrayed in the programme the reason being that it would have destroyed the useful concept of America’s demoniac intent of taking control of Venezuela’s oil resources. To those small brained creatures that keep romanticising about the nature of our crisis I would like to recommend a visit to PDVSA’s website or to analyse the lobby conducted in Washington DC by the very same regime that goes on TV playing the victim’s of foreign interference role.

No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver

I will leave you with the email exchange between Bettina Truemper and myself.

Original message

Dear Sir/Madam My name is Bettina and I am working for a television company in London. I am researching a documentary for one of the major British channels about the situation in Venezuela right now. It would be great if someone of your organisation can contact me to talk about the human rights situation in Venezuela. My telephone number is: 0207 258 6767 or e-mail me: btruemper@mentorn.tv. I hope to speak to you soon. Yours faithfully, Bettina Truemper

Message 1:

Dear Bettina,

You can call me when you wish.

Cordially,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 2:

Hi Bettina,

It was a pleasure talking to you. Please do take the time to visit the following link concerning the case of the Mayor of Baruta, Henrique Capriles Radonski:

http://www.proveo.org/hcr.pdf

Are the reporters to go to Venezuela fluent in Spanish or will they need translators? Please let me know.

Kind regards,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 3:

Bettina,

It was certainly a great pleasure talking to you. I shall send emails this afternoon to check upon possible "fixos" and contacts with HR victims and other people. If there's anything else you guys might need do let me know. The following link contains abundant information about HR abuses, please do take the time to follow other links contained therein.

http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?content=letters/200403020624

Best regards, Aleksander Boyd

Message 4:

Hi there,

Thanks for your help, it was really enlightining talking to you too. If you can give us contact numbers in Venezuela that would be great. Thank you so much for your help in advance. Hope to speak to you soon.

Have a nice weekend,

Bettina

Message 5:

I spoke to a friend who volunteered to be "fixo" She also said that she would provide contacts of the HR NGOs we discussed. As soon as I get them I'll forward them. In the meanwhile you could adventure into this link:

http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?browse=1&query_string=human+rights&limite=10&option=start&lim_start=0

Ciao,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 6:

Dear Aleksander,

Thank you very much for your help. That's very nice of you. Since we already have contacts for Provea and COFAVIC it would be very helpful if you can give us contact details of your wife's uncle, the soldiers in Fuerte Mara or people who have contacts, and the fiancee of Juan Carlos Sambrano. Also, if you have any contacts with people from the political opposition it would be very good talking to them in Venezuela. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll have a look at the links. I didn't know that you know German.

Best wishes, Bettina

Message 7:

Dear Bettina,

My uncle's wife has gone into hiding but I'll try and get hold of him. Please do bear in mind that the soldiers of Fuerte Mara are located in Maracaibo (some 700 KM from Caracas) and I shall do my utmost to try and contact Juan Carlos Zambrano's fiancee.

My knowledge of German is very limited indeed, although Vcrisis has a German section (click on the German flag) for my webmaster is a young Ph. D student from Germany who happens to have relatives in Venezuela keeping him abreast of the 'advances' of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Regards,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 8:

Dear Bettina,

Here are my uncle's wife numbers:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (landline in Caracas) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (mobile)

I spoke to him this morning about it all and he will be pleased to talk to you guys, although he warned me that he keeps changing mobile numbers owing to the government's illegal recording of telephone conversations. I would advice you get in touch with him once there (through his landline early in the morning) and set an appointment. Another suggestion would be to forward me the name of the person/s who will contact him so that I can pass those names to him. He may also be able to put you in touch with other prisoners.

Re the Fort Mara soldiers and Zambrano's fiancee I'm still working on it.

Best,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 9:

Hi Aleksander,

I read your article you wrote on the state of democracy and I take it that you meant me with the person who still persists that Venezuela is a democracy and your article didn't convince me otherwise.

However, thanks for the contact details. I went to my notes from Friday and have a couple of questions. Which position does Louis Tascon have in relation to the government? The guy who was responsilble for the Columbian para militants? And which position does Roger Randon have? Before he was fired from the government?

Sorry for bothering you again. Speak to you soon.

Kind regards, Bettina

Message 10:

Dear Bettina,

Indeed, I did the research, and wrote the article, owing to our conversation of last Friday. Whether you are convinced or not is absolutely irrelevant; the facts are there for everyone to see. One of the things that IDEA emphasizes about is the importance that such set of questions be answered by residents -they propose a panel of experts in different areas- of the country whose democracy is to be assessed. You are neither, ergo I would advice to leave personal interpretation of politics out of the human rights issue.

Which position does Louis Tascon have in relation to the government?

http://www.asambleanacional.gov.ve/ns2/integra.asp?id=111

http://www.luistascon.com

He is an assemblyman supporter of Chavez, furthermore thanks to his illegal publishing of electoral data many people have been subject to blackmail owing to their participation in the signature collection drive (you can check this yoursefl in his site).

And which position does Roger Randon have?

http://www.asambleanacional.gov.ve/ns2/integra.asp?id=79

http://www.soberania.info/Articulos/articulo_1193.htm

He was in charge of an investigative comission concerning lack of gasoline supply in the provinces near Colombia (Merida, Tachira and Trujillo) and due to his findings and subsequent denouncing of Minister of Energy Rafael Ramirez he was dismissed.

You can bother me all you want for it is a pleasure to be able to help out in anything related to my country.

Kind regards, Alek.

Message 11:

Hi Bettina,

Please find attached xxxxxxxxx email. Is quite sad what he writes...

Best, Alek

sin ningún problema... solo pido que este detras de camara mi abogada quie no pertenece a ninguna organización si no que me representa como mi apoderada. perdone el tono de mis líneas pero me reuso a ver mas división.

estoy cansado de ver como muere en un fin de semana 112 personas por la violencia, o como para salir debo usar chaleco anti balas. yo podria estar en el exterior pero me resisto como sacerdote católico abandonar a mi pueblo.

Note added: the above is an email I received by a victim of political prosecution and forwarded to Bettina Truemper vis-à-vis the arrangement of an interview with this person.

Message 12:

Dear Bettina,

Here are the contact details of Alfredo Romero, lawyer of victims and investigator on the extra judicial killings that we spoke about. He will be able to meet with your team and perhaps introduce them to victims. tels. cel. xxxxxxxxxxxxx, of. Xxxxxxxxxxx

Still waiting to hear on the Fort Mara soldiers and Zambrazo's fiance.

Aleksander Boyd

Message 13:

Dear Aleksander,

I was very busy the last couple of days with other programmes. It is all fun, but it sometimes don't give you much time to do one subject thoroughly. Maybe you could help me with something else. Do you know whether there are any marches planned in Venezuela running up to the referendum from different organisations or groups, parties etc.? Are there any major events which might be interesting for to cover? If you have the information or people who know about this please let me know. Hope you're fine and not melting because of the weather. It's so humid.

Best wishes

Bettina

Message 14:

Hi Bettina,

I was out all day. Here's a link about the activities of August:

http://www.urru.org/_eventos/agosto_2004/agosto_2004.htm

There's plenty to chose from!!!

Aleksander Boyd

Message 15:

FUERZA INTEGRADORA INVITA a la presentación del documental "A PROPÓSITO DE JUSTICIA" dirigida por el cineasta venezolano CALOGERO SALVO. Este documental presenta la realidad de un país visto desde la perspectiva de las propias víctimas.

DIA: MARTES 3 DE AGOSTO DE 2004
HORA: 6:00 a 8:00 pm
LUGAR: SALA DE CINES UNIDOS DEL CENTRO COMERCIAL GALERÍA LOS NARANJOS
ENTRADA GRATUITA

Cruzando barreras geográficas, políticas y socioeconómicas, este documental presenta tres historias reales de personas (MOHAMAD MERHI, ALEXIS BRACHO -de la étnia Wayuu, donde mueren 30 niños mensuales de desnutrición- y RAQUEL ARISTIMUÑO -víctima de ajusticiamiento policial- quienes, como consecuencia de la muerte trágica de seres queridos, encuentran en la lucha por la justicia y la inclusión una nueva forma de vida.

PANEL DE COMENTARISTAS:
ISA DOBLES
GERVER TORRES
RAMÓN MUCHACHO
GONZALO HIMIOB

Aleksander Boyd

Message 16:

FYI

http://eltiempo.terra.com.co/judi/2004-08-05/ARTICULO-WEB-_NOTA_INTERIOR-1757695.html

Best,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 17:

Dear Aleksander,

Thank you very much for your help. Our team is flying out this weekend. Everything is fine and they gathered a lot of information. Again, many thanks for everything you have done.

Best, Bettina

Message 18:

Please make sure that whenever you finish that documentary you send a copy. I trust that you guys will do an excellent job. Should they need further assistance whilst there, do get in touch.

Kind regards,

Aleksander Boyd

Message 19:

Hi Bettina,

I haven't heard from you since your people got back from Venezuela. How did it go? Someone informed me that Channel 4 will present as a part of "Unreported World" something on Venezuela and Chavez this Saturday.

Is that programme the one you guys did recently? Could you shed some light as to the content?

Thanks, Aleksander

Message 20:

Hi Aleksander,

Nice to hear from you. Yes, that is the programme I was working on. You can watch it on this Saturday 30.10.04 on Channel 4 at 18.20.

Best, Bettina

Message 21:

Well that was rather brief!! Anyway I'll wacht it and let you know next week of my impressions. For some reason I have this gut feeling that it's going to be yet another 'impartial documentary' portraying Chavez as the saviour of the poor...

Regards,

Aleksander Boyd

End of messages

And you have guessed it, it was indeed “yet another ‘impartial documentary’ portraying El Comandante Chavez as the saviour of the poor and beacon of an honourable fight against US imperialism.

Not one single comment was made about the political prisoners, the human rights violations, the tortured and missing, Fort Mara, the extra judicial killings, the state sponsored attacks against unarmed civilians, the electoral fraud, the 120 assassinated per week, etc, etc, etc… Could it have been lack of information? I think not. Could the terrible situation be the result of my penchant for exaggeration? I suggested Bettina to get in touch with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch here in London –should she had doubted the veracity of my comments- but she obviously digressed. Can the documentary be considered an impartial and truthful portray of what is actually happening in my beloved nation? Most certainly not. As Bettina admitted in message 13 "It is all fun, but it sometimes don't give you much time to do one subject thoroughly". Rather is yet another coarse attempt at forcefully marrying the current crisis with American interference in other nations, evidencing instead the political agenda of those who produced it. One thing is certain though; I already called Bettina and Channel 4. Them, Sandra Jordan, Mentorn TV and OFCOM will be hearing from me very soon.



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