Venezuela Information Office: 2005 FARA Fillings
By Aleksander Boyd
London 06.04.05 | "Quiero negar tajantemente que Venezuela fomente el palangre o le pague a algún periodista para escribir a favor nuestro. Lo único que hemos pagado, además del esfuerzo de cabildeo, ha sido la campaña de anuncios que sacamos en EEUU, que es vieja, antes del referendo" Andres Izarra's dictum 23.03.2005.
PittsburghLIVE.com published on February 18 2005 an article penned by Andres Mateo Jarrin whereby he starts by arguing "the editorial is blatantly unbalanced, contains unsubstantiated claims and wrongly suggests that Venezuela is following in the footsteps of Cuba". Mateo Jarrin is identified as "The writer is media analyst, Venezuela Information Office". One must assume that Mateo Jarrin, in tune with the deceiving tactics of his bosses, decided to obviate the fact that he is a registered agent for the Venezuela Information Office [page 1].
Segundo Mercado Llorens is, according to the most recent fillings presented to the FARA, a subcontractor of the Venezuela Information Office and his professional services cost Venezuelan taxpayers $50.000 for the six month period ending February 28 2005 [page 3]. Do readers remember his reaction the first time I exposed his lobbying activities? Equally interesting the nature of his work "role of National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuelan politics" [page 2]; could it be that the $74.000 that the VIO has paid him since August 10 2004 were to help research Eva Golinger's "Chavez Code"?
Deborah James seems to have moved, together with mate Michael Shellenberger of Lumina Strategies, to greener pastures. Nonetheless the dissemination of political propaganda continues in full swing. Andres Izarra's statements notwithstanding Mateo Jarrin sent 32 emails to different 'independent observers' on November 22 2004. The position advocated for was described as "requesting response to inaccurate editorial" [page 7] with respect to the op-ed published by The Washington Post on November 20 2004. Readers may recall that the said article was the first of a series of damning pieces which portrayed the neo fascist regime of Hugo Chavez in its appropriate light. Less than a month had passed when in December 18 2004 the LA Times posted yet another editorial that shook the 'democratic façade' of Hugo Chavez. On that occasion Mateo Jarrin sent 35 emails to his team of collaborators again -two days after publication- "requesting response to inaccurate editorial" [page 7 & 8]. Thus the VIO's "urgent response team" keeps being called upon to counteract such negative commentaries that in their view is proof of a CIA orchestrated media attack against Venezuela. Some prominent chavista advocates continue working to ameliorate the image of Chavez, the list include über investigator of public documents Eva Golinger, the very impartial and knowledgeable Mark Weisbrot and his pupil Todd Tucker, African-American activist Bill Fletcher and of course other less savoury characters such as Jorge Marin and Andy Goodall. Very many media outlets were also contacted to inform that President Chavez had vetoed the reform to the Penal Code. One must wonder whether they are equally active in propagating news about the cozy relationship that Chavez has with the FARC.
The budget for the period is $304.886,58, although it is unclear, for me at least, whether the $60.000 paid to Shellenberger's Lumina Strategies and the $50.000 paid to Segundo Mercado Llorens make part of that budget.
Coming back to Izarra's bravado declarations I would like ask these set of questions:
- Why the Venezuelan regime maintains that no monies are paid to influence opinion in the USA?
- Why do VIO employees hide to media outlets the source of their income?
- How come, in light of the evident partisan and lobbyist nature of the members of the VIO's "urgent response team", are they not registered with the Foreign Agent Registration Unit?
- Taking into account the source of the fillings, how come the US Department of Justice keeps a lenient stance before these chavista activists?
- Considering the enmity and hatred towards the USA and its citizens promoted by Hugo Chavez and top aides of his, why the Bush administration has not started an investigation vis-a-vis the endeavours of these people in US soil?
Venezuela Information Office: 2005 FARA Fillings [pdf files]
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