All Notebook Entries

  • Michael Barone's Unconvincing Defense of Penn & Schoen

    Inside the Washington DC beltway, one hand washes the other. Thus, it is no surprise that with the polling company Penn, Schoen & Berland being up against the ropes on its flawed methodology conducting an "exit poll" in Venezuela last Sunday, that a beltway insider like conservative columnist Michael Barone would rise to the firm's defense.

    Barone, a columnist for U.S. News & World Report and the right-wing, won himself a "favor owed" from the polling firm yesterday with his column in U.S. News.

    Of course, Barone has zero experience in Venezuela (does he even understand the Spanish language?) and goes way out on a limb in his ignorant presumptions… Barone crawled so far out on that limb, that it won't take much effort to bring out the fact-checking chainsaw and cut him back down into the sewers of beltway insider punditdom. Vroom! Vrooooom! Let's go…

  • Jimmy Carter's Report from Caracas

    I'll say this about Jimmy Carter: He signs his own name on his election monitoring reports. This one is a beauty:

    Venezuela Election Trip Report, Aug 13-18, 2004

    By Jimmy Carter
    19 Aug 2004

    Carter's report offers a behind-the-scenes account of what really happened during the Venezuela referendum on the term of President Hugo Chávez. Carter met with Chávez, with the National Elections Council, with all the opposition groups, and with the Commercial Media, in private, and now he tells all.

    Carter reveals...

    • The childish, paranoid, and anti-democratic behavior by opposition organizations and Commercial Media, before, during, and after the vote.
    • The unwavering willingness by Chávez to abide by the referendum results even if they had gone against him.
    • The willingness of the National Elections Council and the Armed Forces to abide by the 11th hour requests made by the Carter Center on behalf of the opposition in every case, and the compliance with those agreements during the voting.
    • The consistency of the vote tabulations from start to finish in favor of the "NO" vote (the vote to keep Chávez as president).
    • The fact that opposition group Súmate's own numbers showed that it knew it had lost the referendum (which makes a charade of Súmate's knowingly false protestations since then).
    • The absolute fairness and freedom in every step of this election process.
    I'll publish the entire Carter Report here, for posterity. It's an important, and revealing, document as to what really happened in Venezuela this week.

  • J.J. Rendón's Sleaze-Art of Malicious Rumors

    Behind the now-demonstrably bogus rumor that SmartMatic touch screen voting machines in Sunday's Venezuela referendum on the presidency of Hugo Chávez had fraudulently imposed a cap on anti-Chávez votes was one man only, and he is known in pockets of América as a siren of sleaze: Political consultant Juan José Rendón, a.k.a. "J.J. Rendón."

    Earlier this week, the pale and pasty-faced "political consultant" appeared on the national TV channel Globovision in Caracas, not disclosing any client whom he was representing, waving ballot result pages like snake oil, charging that the existence of similar numbers of "YES" votes (anti-Chávez) votes indicated that the machines had been rigged.

    From what rock did this slime-ball J.J. Rendón crawl out from? Narco News has found the dirt under that stone. Read on, kind reader, read on...

    His rumor - libelous against the company that made the machines - was deflated this morning in none other than The Wall Street Journal; a periodical with a special hostility to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, but that had nonetheless had the common sense to interview an expert in statistics before repeating a viciously untrue rumor that would later discredit any newspaper or person that passed it on...

  • Even Chávez Critics Admit: The Vote Was Clean

    Here on Narco News, we have skewered the transparent attempts by various international players in recent months and years to take cheap shots at the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and its president Hugo Chávez: New York Timesman Juan Forero, Organization of American States leader Cesar Gaviria, Venezuelan guerrilla-turned-opposition-journalist Teodoro Petkoff, the Wall Street Journal staff, and even the Carter Center's Jennifer McCoy have been deservedly lambasted here for their partisan anti-Chávez manipulations carried out in recent months with the imprimatur of "objective" observation or journalism.

    That's why it is so convincing, today, that each of the aforementioned individuals and organizations now publicly admit, after carefully reviewing the process of last Sunday's historic presidential recall referendum in Venezuela, that the vote was fair and free.

    Yes, all of them say that the hard evidence indicates nothing of election fraud, even Forero!

    The irresponsible Venezuelan "opposition" is now increasingly isolated, as these former escualidos point out, due to its childish insistence that the scoreboard is wrong, the eyewitnesses are wrong, everybody on earth is wrong about the final score except them, the side that lost.

    Here is a round-up of what Chavez's most extreme critics say today about the cleanliness of Sunday's referendum process and results...

  • Yes, Colombia's Uribe Is a Narco

    This story erupted more than two weeks ago - when the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism was assembling in Bolivia - but it deserves a mention and a link here on The Narcosphere.

    After all, it was two years ago that Narco News exposed then-candidate for president in Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, as a narco-candidate. Uribe won the presidency, and the Commercial Media gave the now narco-president and friend of the Bush administration a free ride.

    Newsweek reporter Joe Contreras recently got hold of a declassified U.S. Department of Defense memo that confirms the same...

  • "Fraud!" and Switch: the last gasp of Venezuela's dying opposition.

    Remember the vague storyline of what happened from Sunday to today in the Bolivarian Republic?  You know, the people woke up early, stood in long lines to vote, Chavez was declared winner at 4 in the morning, then the opposition claimed fraud, though the international observers said everything was a-okay.

    If you think that’s all that happened, you’ve missed, though more likely forgot something important.  

  • Web of deceit widens around House of Death

    The Dallas Morning News has come out with yet another story updating the investigation into the “House of Death” in Juárez, Mexico. The current story, like prior media stories on the case, reaffirms Narco News’ original reporting on the whole sordid affair.

    In late April, Narco News published a major exposé (called “The House of Death”) about an informant for the U.S. government who was implicated in a series of murders in Juárez -- located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

    The informant’s handlers, agents with the El Paso office of the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), were allegedly fully aware of the informant’s complicity in the murders, yet did nothing to stop the killing for fear of jeopardizing the cases they were trying to make with the informant’s help.

    The recent story in the Dallas Morning News (ID required) reports the following concerning the ongoing investigation into the case involving that informant, who is known by the alias Lalo:

  • Penn & Schoen's Competing Touch Screen Company

    As if the violations of law and professional ethics by U.S.-British polling company Penn, Schoen & Berland in Sunday's Venezuela referendum on the continued term of President Hugo Chávez did not heap enough abuse and intrigue upon the democratic process, now another piece of information to add to the pile…

    Keep in mind that the attempts by Penn, Schoen & Berland and their U.S. government funded client Súmate to discredit the Venezuela referendum results with one singular and inaccurate "exit poll" are not only intended to discredit democracy and the Venezuelan National Elections Council… Their claims also maliciously attack the credibility of the touchscreen company, SmartMatic, and its subcontractors that made the voting machines for Venezuela, and that had gone to so much effort to make its machines fraud-proof.

    Well, well, well… it turns out that Penn, Schoen & Berland has another client… One that makes - are you ready? - touch screen machines!

  • Venezuela: Alienación y Emancipación

    ¿Qué está realmente detrás de la manipulación masiva de los grandes medios de comunicación en Venezuela? Los efectos patológicos tienen un alcance mucho más allá de los intentos de la “oposición” y del gobierno de Bush de tumbar al Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías del poder político. Su adoctrinamiento sirve a los intereses del fascismo global en fabricación, sirve al “Newspeak”, al control mental, a la eternalización del actual orden mundial. Vamos a dar un breve vistazo a la esencia histórica, sicológica y filosófica de las funciones sociales de los “cuatro jinetes del Apocalipsis” (Chávez) en Venezuela, es decir, la manera en que intentan de disocializar, de desnaturalizar la población Venezolana, en una sola palabra, alienarla.
  • Kerry on Bolivia/Counterpunch

    This morning Counterpunch ran a commentary of mine on John Kerry's disturbing statements about Bolivia: .  In it I quote extensively from Oscar Olivera's speech at the J-School.  Unfortunately, the bio I had attached to the original draft, which mentioned both Narco News and the J-School was cut short.
  • The Implications and Explanation of Venezuela's Recall Election.

    Everyone around the world who knew about the ongoing crisis in the Bolivarian Republic understood full well that this election was going to be a big event.  It would be one of a few events, along with the 2002 coup d’etat and the winter ‘02/’03 business lockout, that showed the conflict of Chávez’s term in the Fifth Republic.  Due to several inherencies of the ongoing events, the implications of this recall are a whole lot greater than merely tension over a national event.  The referendum has the potential for far-reaching effects.  

    The Battle of Santa Inés was victorious, in fact, we really expected nothing else; only the "Opposition" tenaciously is still decrying "fraud". In reality, the referendum that ratified genuine democracy in Venezuela --  like Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, her "Contrato Social", that brought about the Bolivarian Constitution, and that has launched the Bolivarian Revolution --  was the most authentic, popular event in contemporary world history. Really, with all its up's and down's, Venezuela is teaching the world one revolutionary lesson after the other, is educating humanity what is world revolution, what is global emancipation all about.
  • Iraq and Latin American Democracy

    Reflecting on the victory in Venezuela, and the fact that the official U.S. response in the wake of the referendum seems limited to bitter grumbling, I can't help but wonder would this have been allowed to happen if the U.S. weren't bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Does the Bush administration's obsessive focus on the Middle East serve to take some of the heat off Latin America, allowing events such as the Chavez victory in Venezuela and the toppling of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in Bolivia?  I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this . . . .
  • The Independent shakes off yesterday's mistake, posts Reed Lindsay article on the victory .jsp?story=552287

    In a marathon poll marked by high voter turnout, Venezuelans have ratified the mandate of President Hugo Chavez in a recall referendum that represents a monumental boost to his government and ablow to his domestic and foreign opponents.

    Scattered protests erupted around Caracas yesterday as opposition leaders refused to accept results indicating Chavez won with 58 per cent of the vote, even after international observers endorsed the outcome.

    A 62-year-old woman died and four others were wounded after a group of apparently pro-Chavez motorcyclists fired into a small opposition protest in a Caracas plaza, said Caracas Fire Chief Rodolfo Briceno. Opposition congressman Ernesto Alvarenga was among those hurt, Briceno said.

    Ending hours of confusion, former American president Jimmy Carter, who helped monitor the referendum, endorsed the returns showing that the left-wing president had won the vote. "Our findings coincided with the partial returns announced today by the National Elections Council [CNE]," Mr Carter told a news conference, and urged Venezuelans to accept the result.

    Reed, a Narco News graduate as far as I know, knows his journalism well.  No ommissions of inconvenient facts, yet no jumping to conclusions.  The opposition protests the vote, but it is in conflict with the opinion of the international observers.  The people who fired on the anti-Chavez rally are only apparently pro-Chavez activists.  

    Quite disciplined yet open journalism.

  • Not done yet, - US government does not accept result. nid=1274&storyid=1789430

    THE US today declined to join international monitors in backing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's apparent victory in a recall election and called for a prompt, thorough and transparent probe into opposition claims of massive fraud.

    While "noting" and praising the work of observers from former US president Jimmy Carter's Carter Centre and the Organisation of American States (OAS), the State Department said Washington was not yet ready to endorse a finding that Mr Chavez, a longtime US irritant, had prevailed in the vote.

    Hmm.... looks like the situation has not completely simmered yet.  Whats in store for the near future?

  • Make a documentary of the recall!

    Wow, it has indeed been an amazing 36 hours I must say.

    36 hours ago, Venezuelans started getting out to the  polls, waiting in line to cast their votes.

    The media struck out bigtime today.  Strike one was the April coup d'etat, strike two was the lockout, strike three is the recall referendum.

    There needs to be a good documentary that gets into the mind of the opposition and their Commercial Media accomplists.  Perhaps a whole documentary on the media's role in the Venezuelan crisis, with the three case studies I've mentioned before.

    How's that for an idea?

  • Top Ten Fraudulent Claims of Fraud in Venezuela

    The losers of yesterday's referendum vote in Venezuela are not accepting the results that, according to official numbers, give a landslide mandate to President Hugo Chávez to push on with his Bolivarian revolution.

    However, news reports that repeat these claims of election "fraud" are, not surprisingly, thin on details or hard facts to back up the claims.

    Therefore, as a public service, Narco News has conducted an exhaustive search across the Internet and throughout the news media for the concrete accusations of those who claim "fraud" in yesterday's historic, record-turnout, vote. We present them to you, kind reader, so you can make up your own mind how substantive, or unsubstantive, the opposition claims are in reality.

    All quotes guaranteed verbatim from the blogosphere and online news sites!

  • Fraud Talk Falling On Deaf Ears

    The Venezuelan opposition to Chavez doesn't seem to be finding very many receptive listeners for their whining this morning.
  • The Opposition's Game Plan

    The opposition is so hopelessly disorganized and defeated after being repeatedly outmaneuvered -- by Chavez, his supporters, and community media in Venezuela --that even the U.S. is afraid to put the golpistas in charge.

    I hope.

  • Venezuela: The Chávez Victory by the Numbers


    First, the facts:

    With 94.49 percent of the electronic voting machines reporting, the National Elections Council of Venezuela informs that the "NO" vote - against recalling President Hugo Chávez - has amassed such a wide margin over the "YES" vote - by those who wanted to depose the elected president - that the trend is irreversible:

    NO: 4.991.483 (58.25%)
    3.576.517 (41.74%)

    That is a total of 8,568,000 votes.

    That means that only about 470,000 votes are left to count, but the pro-Chávez vote already enjoys a comfortable margin of 1,414,966.

    So even if the opposition gets every single vote left uncounted, the pro-Chávez side will win by almost a million votes. More likely, the remaining votes will fall in similar percentages as the 95 percent already counted, bringing the final total to something like 5.26 million "NO" votes to 3.76 million votes.

  • AUTHENTIC JOURNALISM WINS: It's official, Chávez and América are free.

    Chavez 58.3, Recall 41.7

    I don't have much else to say other than the results were official.  VIVA CHAVEZ The Venezuelan people triumphed today.

  • No Hard Data Yet from Venezuela

    CARACAS VENEZUELA; AUGUST 16, 2004, 2:00 A.M.: It was a day without precedent: A record voter turnout for the first-ever recall referendum on a president in the American hemisphere and an unprecedented extension, twice moved, of the hour until which citizens could vote in response to unrivaled long lines of voters going to the polls...

    And at two o'clock the next morning, the country and the world await the results.

    I'm still here in the Narco News informational war room, with various Venezuelan colleagues, waiting for the National Electoral Council (CNE in its Spanish initials) to hold its press conference. So far both sides - the supporters of the "yes" vote and supporters of the "no" vote - have refrained from offering results in public, although both have spooned out discordant numbers, off the record, to us and the rest of the press.

    In the immortal words of that great American philosopher Tom Petty: "They Way-aiting is the hardest part!"

  • Barrios turnout extreme 39

    Finally some authentic journalism to counterbalance the constant parroting of the anti-Chavez activists.

  • Long Lines for Voting

    I have just listened to a spokesman of the so-called “Coordinadora Democratica” complain because he had to wait in line for nine hours to vote.  What he didn’t mention is that in December 2002 and January 2003, his organization made Venezuelans wait in line for days to buy a few gallons of gasoline for their automobiles or canisters of gas for their cooking-stoves. Their two-month-long lockout/strike caused people to lose days of joy with their families during the end-of-the-year holiday celebrations. As they waited and waited the opposition filled the airwaves with their personal joy about the pain they were causing in the country.
  • UK's Independent Newspaper Falsifies Venezuela Election Results!

    In a big way. For shame, Hannah Baldock. How did you violate the rules? Let us count the ways.
  • Calling on the media .jsp?story=551867

    I've been listening to live developments on this, suddenly this strikes me out of the blue.  Very suspicious.

    "The Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, looked to be losing his grip on power last night as exit polls showed him to be trailing the opposition by almost a million votes.

    The figures were early indications that, for the first time in the country's history, the President may have his term in office cut short by a referendum.

    The mid-morning results showed that the opposition, already boasting an enormous 1,758,000 votes to Chavez's 798,000, is well on its way to reaching the target of 3.76 million votes it needs to oust the authoritarian, left-wing President. Turn-out for the referendum was high, with millions of Venezuelans queuing from the early hours at polling stations all over the oil-rich country to decide the political fate of the firebrand Mr Chavez."

    How did they get these "mid morning" exit polls?  I smell bullshit.  I listened to a lady over the radio watching the recall, saying that pro-Chavez neighborhoods still have about half of the people waiting in line to vote, none stop support and an estimated 60+% to 34% NO victory.

    Opinions on the article I posted?

  • Why We Don't Publish Venezuela "Exit Polls"

    The Narco News Informational "War Room" is hopping here in Caracas, Venezuela, with more than a dozen Authentic Journalists monitoring every single wire cable, news report, or claim made on the Internet regarding today's referendum in this South American country.

    We are aware of all the exit poll information on both sides - and we have seen the conflicting claims of at least two other websites regarding so-called "exit polls" - but we will not publish them here and I would like to explain why...

    First, it is illegal under Venezuelan law.

    Second, it is illegal for good reason, in a country where the Commercial Media unanimously reported, in April 2002, "Chavez Resigned" when the president was, in fact, kidnapped at gunpoint. Here, the Commercial Media has shown its willingness to blatantly lie in order to destabilize and impede democracy, and more of that kind of behavior continues today...

  • They're starting to slip...

    Here at the Narconews war room in Caracas, we've got our eyes focused on mainstream press, wherever it may live. Two Latin American papers have already begun the slide into the obfuscation of referendum guidelines. Both El Tiempo of Colombia and Diario del Hoy of El Salvador are misrepresenting the rules of the game, before any poll results are even allowed in.
  • Venezuelan Chavez haters are running on empty

    There is an interesting story in the Houston Chronicle today that focuses on rich Venezuelans who are fleeing their homeland to come to Houston, many with hopes of plugging into the city's oil industry.

    The story points out that:

    More than 10,000 Venezuelans now live in the Houston area, estimates Wladimir Torres, 51, publisher of the monthly newspaper El Venezolano de Houston. That's up from the 1,592 Venezuelans counted in the 2000 census.

    ... But the Bayou City also has attracted thousands of these immigrants because they expected to find jobs here, particularly in Houston's oil sector, where former employees of the (Venezuelan) state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, can utilize their experience.

  • Chavez and the Narcopresident. Dancing with the Devil?

    I don´t know about everyone else in that room at Miraflores 2 days ago at the press conference, but my ears pirked up pretty fast when the talk drifted to the Narcopresident in the Narcostate. A new pipeline, a new friendship with the state to the west.

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