2004 August 12, Thursday
LA PAZ, BOLIVIA - At 11:55 a.m. today a district judge further criminalized the social movements of Bolivia when he ordered that a regional leader of the landless movement be held in preventative detention for the killing of a mayor, despite the failure of prosecutors to offer any physical evidence connecting him to the crime. The national leader of the landless movement said his group would fight back.
Kind reader: Are we living inside a dream? Juanito Forero - defender of coup-mongers and Plan Colombia mercenaries, simulator of the English-language news from South America to Broadway - chose to confess his secret opinion to none other than this Narco News reporter (who Forero also called "my great antagonist"). Bearing witness to this strange encounter, in the halls of the Miraflores presidential palace, was also Lee Sustar, Labor Editor of the international Socialist Worker.
Yes, to be in Venezuela on this historic week is to live inside a kind of dream the inspirational dream that comes before the Great Awakening, when history is made anew again...
Sure, I replied.
In private? I wondered what it could be. Was it possible that she wanted to confess her sins since she knew that I was formerly a Catholic priest?
Here, it seems to me, the stakes of the game are very real, very much in front of the people. In my short time in this country in the heart of South America, I have heard about the struggle to change the country from the bottom up. Although divided at times over strategy, labor and farmers are unified in their quest to return control of the nation’s natural resources to the people in an effort to foster job creation, enhanced living conditions and a brighter future for Bolivia.
In this BBC story, John Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), is quoted as saying, "We have not yet seen in all these efforts what we're hoping for on the supply side, which is a reduction in availability." This flies in the face of all public statements and statistics released by his office so far, which always stick to the party line.
It must be said, however, that the candor of this admission is only partial since, according to the same story, Mr. Walters hopes to see a reduction in the drug supply during the next 12 months.
An interesting quote nonetheless.
The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism held a session earlier this week in Bolivia that addressed those tools. The session, hosted by journalists George Sánchez and Reed Lindsay, focused on several structural elements that are integral to a news or feature story. This essay on writing incorporates the topics covered in that session as well as a few other approaches that can be used in crafting a story.
Although there is not one right way to write a story, you still have to learn how to swing the bat before you can play the game. The formulas outlined below, if applied, should get you up to the plate in the writing game. Where you take your writing from there is all about heart.
In reference to the upcoming recall referendum vote on President Hugo Chávez, a July 30th editorial by the Washington Post titled “Monitoring Venezuela” alleges the Venezuelan opposition group Súmate is leading the charge for democracy in Venezuela.
"The vote itself will have a greater chance of being staged and judged fairly thanks to Sumate..." says the Post. In fact, Súmate is a partisan group in oppostion to the government whose sole mission since being founded in 2002 has been to collect signatures and promote a referendum to unseat the president. The more than one million dollars the NED in 2003 funneled to Venezuela went overwhelmingy to opposition groups.
Every single one, bar none, made sacrifices to get here. This is a rare school where professors are unpaid, and come at their own expense... where no tuition is charged to any student... And where with every word spoken, with every glance in any direction, all the beaming, smiling, faces of journalists - not a profession known for its glee nor sense of humor - it is evident that the Authentic Journalism renaissance, more than alive and well, has grown by leaps and bounds since the last time we met 17 months ago in Mexico...
2004 July 30, COCHABAMBA - Reporters reported on reporters reporting on reporters reporting on reporting this morning in an upstairs room in downtown Cochabamba. Print, radio, and television reporters, commercial and authentic, nearly filled the room as they interviewed each other on the topic of journalism. They recorded one another, took notes on one another, filmed one another, and took pictures of one another.
This scene resulted from the start of the 2004 session of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, held near Cochabamba and in the Chapare region of Bolivia. Reporters from much of the Cochabamba media came to a press conference organized by Alex Contreras Baspineiro, a professor of the School.