Exposing Global Exchange
By A.M. Mora y Leon | The American Thinker
14.12.04 | As television and radio reel from new censorship laws in Venezuela, there are also signs of intimidation appearing against Venezuela's bloggers. We've recently reported that "media" like VHeadline* aligned with Venezuela's dictatorship have targeted the fearless Aleks Boyd, whose blog VCrisis.com is a thorn in the side of the Chavez regime.
They've now taken aim at essayist Gustavo Coronel, a retired Venezuelan oil executive who writes graceful, informative essays on VenezuelaToday. Coronel's deep well of knowledge has drawn the invective of chavistas in the past, but his latest work, directed at Global Exchange and at the Sandalista political tourists who patronize them, seems to have hit an especially sensitive nerve. And so we recommend his essay, "Political tourism: Venezuela the new fraudulent destination" highly.
I would suggest that Katie and Mamie take a real tour of Venezuela, by going to see the sub-human prisons where political dissidents are kept without legal sanctions. They should also visit Sabana Grande, the Caracas shopping district converted into a Calcutta-like horror, where people defecate in the streets and abandoned street children sell themselves. They should take a tour of the invaded areas of Carabobo and Lara, where vandals protected by the regime build their shacks on private property. They should talk to Pedro Carreno, Iris Varela and Darío Vivas, leaders of the revolution, in order to get a good idea of the average IQ of the revolutionary men and women. They should know that the regime has obtained USD $200 billion in six years and has very little to show for it. They should visit Zulia State, where the unemployment rate is over 25%. The poverty, the squalor, the crime rate that overpowers Venezuelans will not be shown to Mamie and Katie. These horrors are not a legacy from the past but very much a Chávez generated tragedy during the last six years of his mismanagement and grandstanding.
Coronel's understanding of what Chavez's “revolution” has turned Venezuela into, as well as his criticism of political tourists who are happy to be spoon-fed leftwing cliches on their pre-packaged tours, is a strong douse of cold water on those fevered dreams. Coronel is spoiling their romantic revolutionary illusions and showing political tourism for the contemptible, naive and slightly ridiculous thing that it is.
Global Exchange seems to exist to promote worshipful tourism to totalitarian countries. Besides Cuba, and the Saddam regime in Iraq, it is closely aligned (just take a look at the cross links!) with the Venezuelan Information Office, the $8 million propaganda operation of the Chavez regime. VIO's latest campaign has been to encourage Americans to write (complete with offered VIO “help”) nasty letters targeted at the Washington Post. The VIO is populated by former Global Exchange staffers. When Coronel criticizes Global Exchange, he criticizes the activist hand of Hugo Chavez in the U.S.
And this may be the root of their anger. Coronel's exposure of the political tourism machines also probably threatens someone's rice bowl.
How much money does Global Exchange make off its political tourism? A look at their Web site shows that each Sandalista "reality tour" (and they've got three of them to Venezuela coming up) earns these wealthy San Francisco leftist organizers $1200 a pop. That doesn't include airfare for the one to two week tours. Considering that these political tourists taking in the poverty don't stay at the Four Seasons, that's a pretty healthy profit for Global Exchange. For that, they don't take kindly to exposure.
*We won't link because we don't recommend opening it. Not only is it not a news site, it's also full of spyware. If you absolutely must, see if you can find Vheadline here http://www.venezuelatoday.net
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