All Notebook Entries
- Posted by Ron Smith - August 14, 2004 at 9:38 amToday is the 14th of August, it's pretty steamy here in Caracas, as usual, and the campaigns are wrapping up. In Sabana Grande, it's contested territory, posters and graffiti announcing the aims of both the opposition and Chavez supporters appear on every wall. So far, my favorite slogan is "No al Sí!". You can of course, expect the usual behavior by the corporate commercial media although toned down a bit for the elections observers.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - August 12, 2004 at 11:02 pmby Benjamin Maurice Melançon
with Vladimir Costés
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.
- Posted by Al Giordano - August 12, 2004 at 10:08 pmCARACAS, VENEZUELA; AUGUST 12, 2004: Never mind what he says (or what they let him say) in print: New York Times Andean correspondent Juan Forero admitted today, in person, that he believes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will win the historic referendum vote scheduled for Sunday, August 15. For the Venezuelan opposition, Forero told two reporters today in Caracas: "It's over."
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...
- Posted by Charlie Hardy - August 10, 2004 at 3:29 pmCharlie, can I speak with you? It was Natalia Viana.
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?
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - August 10, 2004 at 11:27 am¿Qué realmente está en juego el 15 de agosto de 2004 en Venezuela y en el mundo? ¿Cual es la quintaesencia de la Revolución Bolivariana? Definitivamente esta está determinada por la realidad transhistórica de su complemento, es decir por el fascismo global, actualmente liderizado por los EE.UU.
En un sentido normativo, el concepto de revolución está determinado por la clase o las clases sociales que realizan esta revolución. Está compuesta de una Afirmación y una Negación. Revolución y contra-revolución. Si la revolución resulta positiva o negativa para el futuro de la humanidad depende de las clases sociales antagonistas participando en ella a nivel global. Por ejemplo, en cuanto a la Revolución Francesa, tanto el idealista objetivo Hegel como el materialista dialéctico Marx, estaban fascinados con los cambios momentáneos; sin embargo, aquellos que perdieron sus cabezas bajo la guillotina tenían una opinión completamente diferente. También, desde esta revolución capitalista burgués democrática, revolución no es la prerrogativa exclusiva de la clase obrera contra sus amos.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - August 9, 2004 at 5:06 pmGreetings Franz and Jutta, I forward you an important material that obviously will be of interest to the analysts of the North and to London; it´s written in Spanish but if you have some time to translate it into English and send it to the BBC and the press of the Organization of American States, I assure you they will respond immediately. Go for it, comrades, all the more that we are in the final phase of the electoral battle.
Prensa Presidencial, Miraflores, Caracas.
- Posted by Christopher Fee - August 8, 2004 at 3:23 pmMore than just clandestine drug labs hidden in the jungles of South America may pollute the environment such as, the legal worldwide narco company Eli-Lilly, the makers of Prozac. It appears one the world's most popular drugs to treat depression Prozac (fluoxetine) may have potentially negative environmental effects. A report from the
UK's Telegraph 8-8-04 states Prozac has been found in Briton's water supply. An earlier report last year in the U.S. is even more disturbing; in an article by Scott Streater of the Star-Telgram 10-17-03, Prozac was found in fish brains, along with some alarming effects from other common pharmaceuticals.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - August 7, 2004 at 2:42 pmAfter some nine days in Cochabamba, Bolivia, participating in the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, I’m finally starting to get used to the thin moutain air here in the Andes. More importantly, I have gotten a glimpse of another culture, of a land that is experiencing democracy in a more vital way than I have seen play out in the canned elections we experience in the United States.
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.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - August 7, 2004 at 10:34 amAn extensive hour and a half radio interview with Jutta Schmitt, that explains the whole current problem in Venezuela.
A HISTORIC REVIEW ABOUT THE REVOLUTIONARY FACTORS THAT LED TO THE RECALL REFERENDUM IN VENEZUELA
By Jutta Schmitt
It is imperative to recollect what happened over the last six years in Venezuela, to understand the political show-down on August 15 next.
Kindly tune in to the interviews that we made concerning the current situation, as published on Black Op Radio, Canada, see below.
For an hour and a half, we covered the whole history of the Bolivarian Movement, indicating its democratic legitimacy and its revolutionary programmes.
- Posted by Diego Mantilla - August 6, 2004 at 1:22 am
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.
- Posted by Natalia Viana - August 5, 2004 at 8:22 pmHabla la voz de las fuerzas de lucha contra el narcotráfico: el Coronel Jaime Cruz Vera, comandante de la Unidad Móvil de Patrullaje Rural, UMOPAR, la fuerza de interdicción a las drogas y a las fábricas de cocaína. Cruz Vera también es comandante del cuartel central de las fuerzas de lucha contra el narcotráfico en Chimoré, en el Chapare, y por eso conoce todo lo que pasa en la lucha militar contra las drogas de esa región. Así, cuando nos recibió el 3 de agosto pensábamos escuchar las mismas respuestas que dan todos los militares y que ya conocemos de memoria.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - August 5, 2004 at 4:50 pmEvery art has it's tools to shape content. Writing is no different.
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.
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - August 4, 2004 at 10:58 pm"One of the greatest lies that the mass media feeds you today, maybe the worst lie, is the theory of development," Giuseppe de Marzo told a small and engaged crowd tonight. A campaign about ecological debt will help expose this flawed concept of development and the other great lie of third world debt, de Marzo argued in his talk. Charlie Hardy, with help from bilingual audience participants, translated de Marzo's remarks to English, which this journalist relied on.
- Posted by Amber Howard - August 1, 2004 at 5:58 pmCurrently in Venezuela a variety of information is being released by national and international polling groups in an attempt to predict the results of the Referendum coming up in two short weeks. Unfortunately, the impartiality of these polling groups has proved to be virtually non-existent. It has become a routine practice of the opposition to blatantly report information from groups of their choice that have strong interests in the removal of Chávez from power. These facts are then being distributed to press throughout the world.
- Posted by Teofilo Ballve - August 1, 2004 at 5:33 pm
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.
- Posted by Natalia Viana - August 1, 2004 at 11:58 amNão dá para medir o tamanho da interfêrencia estadunidense no referendo na Venezuela. A constatação é de Jeremy Bigwood, jornalista free-lance que em janeiro deste ano revelou a ajuda financeira do governo estadunidense a entidades oposicionistas da Venezuela através da NED – National Endowment for Democracy, instituição privada sem fins lucrativos que recebe verbas do Congresso e do Departamento de Estado.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 31, 2004 at 3:01 pmThey arrived via the airports of Sao Paulo, of Buenos Aires, of Bogotá, of Mexico City, of Miami, of Detroit, of New York, of Washington DC, of La Paz and Santa Cruz... Some took all night "flota" buses... but by the six o'clock hour last night, 58 of 61 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism scholars and professors had arrived on our campus in Cochabamba.
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...
- Posted by Benjamin Melançon - July 31, 2004 at 7:10 amThe only objective reporting on the Internet: a Spanish-ignorant gringo's dispatches from Bolivia
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.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 30, 2004 at 12:35 pmFriends,
here is an excellent picturesque summary of the current situation in Venezuela, written by Jutta Schmitt.
Venezuela: ¡No to the Return of the Zombies!
By: Jutta Schmitt
Whether it is the ride you take to town in a tightly packed buseta full of vividly disputing passengers, your arepa con queso that gets stuck in your throat when eyescanning the newspaper headlines at lunch break, the conversation with friends or the brief chat that you have with a street artist at the traffic light, in these days, your every move, act, thought and word are all determined by the magic date, August 15th, 2004.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 29, 2004 at 5:58 pmCORRESPONDENCE LEN OSANIC (BLACK OP RADIO) AND FRANZ LEE.
We need to hear what is going on in Venezuela.
Will you come on Black Op radio for an interview
to talk about this. There is no news at all up here.
- Posted by Bill Conroy - July 29, 2004 at 12:07 amThe Washington Times breathlessly reported the following from El Paso, Texas, earlier this week:
An unusual narcotics slaying in neighboring Juarez, Mexico, last summer has law-enforcement officials here and in Washington, D.C., asking serious questions about the role of government agencies in handling undercover informants.
Narco News reported in-depth on this story in April. The story revealed that an informant for the U.S. government was implicated in a series of murders in Juárez, Mexico -- located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The informants handlers, agents with the El Paso office of the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), were allegedly fully aware of the informants complicity in the murders, yet did nothing to stop the killing for fear of jeopardizing the cases they were trying to make with the informants help.
The recent Washington Times story also pulls the following out of the air:
Some "bad blood" between ICE and the DEA remains, sources told The Washington Times, because Contreras was once involved in an aborted attempt to kill two DEA agents in Juarez. Some DEA agents think ICE was aware of the scheme.
Again, Narco News reported the whole sordid affair in April. Heres a teaser:
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 23, 2004 at 9:27 amCertainly, all over Venezuela, at this moment can be witnessed revolutionary fire among the youth as never before, all over Bolivarian patrollers are organizing the masses, are guarding the victories of the revolution. However, what is somehow lacking is the profound understanding of the global transhistoric truth about this decisive moment in Venezuelan and Latin American history, the threat of global fascism, in its real violent, brutal consequences.
We studied George Orwell's "1984" again and underlined that what we lived in Venezuela across the last five years, and that what is to come within the following weeks.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 17, 2004 at 1:55 pmÉrase una vez un monje extraño que apuradamente cruzó la plaza de Wittenberg (Alemania) hacia la catedral. En todas partes habían campesinos ociosos, discutiendo sobre sus cosechas, sus confesiones, la Iglesia y sus maravillosos amos, observando el espectáculo insólito. Poco después se escuchó un fuerte ruido proveniente del portal de la iglesia; como loco, lleno de amor y consideración por la verdad el extraño estaba clavando pedazos de papel sobre el portal gigante, sus famosas 95 tesis. Después desapareció igual cómo había llegado. Desde entonces nadie de los espectadores hablaba más del asunto.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 15, 2004 at 10:52 pmHuman Rights Watch "Americas Division" chief José Miguel Vivanco falls deeper down the slippery slope of anti-democracy lobbying now with his claim that foreign government funding of partisan electoral groups in Venezuela is okey-dokey by him.
First, a reality check and public service announcement for those who might not be familiar with United States campaign finance laws:
If you want to make a donation to the campaign of George W. Bush in the United States (we're not recommending it, for the record) and you go to Bush's website and click "donations" and you will find that, before you can give him money, you have to affirm:
"By clicking on this box I acknowledge that contributions from corporations and foreign nationals are prohibited."
Likewise, if you want to make a donation to the campaign of John Kerry in the United States (neither are we recommending this) go to Kerry's campaign website and click "contributions," and there you will have to affirm:
"I confirm that the following statements are true and accurate:
1. I am a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien...
Those who have violated these laws against foreign contributions have been prosecuted in the United States
- Posted by Bill Conroy - July 12, 2004 at 7:52 pmThe largest federal law enforcement association in the country has thrown its weight behind a call for a congressional inquiry into an alleged pattern of racial discrimination within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), which represents some 22,000 federal agents in 50 law enforcement agencies, has directed a letter to Congress in support of Ruben Gonzalez, a high-ranking supervisor within DHS' Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Houston. The letter, addressed to U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, stresses that FLEOA supports any and all efforts to eliminate bias and inequities in hiring and promotion processes by Federal law enforcement agencies.
Gonzalez is a catalyst behind the growing chorus of Hispanic agents calling for congressional action on the issue. Gonzalez's attorney, Ron Schmidt, claims the racial discrimination within ICE is so pervasive that it has fostered a dysfunctional agency culture that poses a real threat to national security.
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 12, 2004 at 12:56 pmOnce upon a time, a weird monk hurriedly rushed across the central place of Wittenberg, heading for the cathedral. All over peasants were loitering about watching this unusual spectre, discussing about their crops, their confessions, the Church, and about their wonderful feudal lords. Then, suddenly loud noises were heard, coming from the door of the church; like mad, "out of love and concern for the truth," the stranger was hammering pieces of paper onto the huge door, his famous 95 theses. Just as he appeared, so he vanished into thin air. Ever since, none of the onlookers discussed this issue anymore. What the poor peasants did not realize was that they have been witnessing the transhistoric beginning of the Reformation, Luther's attack on the feudalist, absolutist religious superstructure, in fact, they experienced the beginning of the French and Industrial Revolutions, their own historical demise. Already then, we could have witnessed the "friend-enemy" Cold War Syndrome, Luther's flock called him a Protestant hero, a freedom fighter, a wise and insightful church leader. His "opposition" called him a heretic, an apostate, a profane ecclesiastical terrorist. This week, we witnessed another transhistoric similar moment, the so-called "Opposition" in Venezuela, the "Coordinadora Democrática", that had no consensus in who should be its presidential candidate for future elections, and that had only one project in mind "!Qué Chávez se va!", now suddenly wants to present a transitional project called "Consenso País" to the world. President Chávez calls it "Consenso Bush".
- Posted by Justin Delacour - July 8, 2004 at 12:07 amIn a recent interview with Australia's Green Left Weekly, Dr. Rodrigo Chaves --who served until recently as the coordinator of Venezuela's pro-government Bolivarian Circles and now works as President Hugo Chavez's private secretary-- claims that Venezuela's illiteracy rate has declined from nine percent to one percent in recent years. According to Chaves, illiteracy was essentially eradicated through a government program called "Mission Robinson," which was designed to teach poor adults and teenagers to read.
According to Chaves, "Mission Robinson II" is already in place and is educating 900,000 adults up to the level of sixth grade. Another program, "Mission Ribas," is designed to give all Venezuelans a high school education.
- Posted by Justin Delacour - July 5, 2004 at 6:00 pmAccording to an interesting new economic report by the California-based investment research firm Condor Advisers, the Venezuelan government's restructuring of the country's state-owned oil company --Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA)-- is "dramatically increasing cash flow into Venezuela's economy, laying the foundation for sustained, robust economic growth."
- Posted by Franz J.T. Lee - July 5, 2004 at 3:01 pmConcerning the Global Positioning System and Weapons of Mass Destruction
"The winning weapon of the American assault on Iraq, like that of World War II, depended on a technology first imagined by Einstein, with some help from Poincare. Not nuclear weapons of mass destruction, but the Global Positioning System, by which the four dimensions of space-time can be so precisely measured as to direct a bomb or a soldier to within 50 feet of any spot on earth."
(WILLIAM R. EVERDELL, New York Times, 17/08/03)
Definitely, if here in Mérida, Venezuela, we could discover Juyá, a planet, rotating beyond Pluto, then surely we could easily develop a Real, Original Science and a True, Authentic Philosophy of the Bolivarian Revolution, directed against the global horror and terror, against the "awestruck" of the White House, the Pentagon, NASA and NATO, against any global positioning system or weaponry.
- Posted by Al Giordano - July 4, 2004 at 11:52 amMy experience publishing Narco News over four years has taught me a lot about utilizing the Internet to do journalism.
The Internet is a young if already overpopulated frontier where there is a glut of material and a scarcity of quality, especially when it comes to journalism.
There are some very simple things we've done at Narco News differently than many others. I believe these ways of doing little, basic, things have a lot to do with our success.
The five "secrets" are:
- 1. Respect the realities of email recipients
- 2. Online etiquette from A to E-mail
- 3. A website is an educational process ("No one story saves the world")
- 4. Against Internet repetition and "copy cat publishing"
- 5. On the Internet, speed is everything
But since later this month the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism is meeting again, I'd like to share my general thoughts on how - and how not - to publish an online newspaper or journal...