All Notebook Entries

  • A Referendum in Venezuela? Maybe

    Standing in front of a large painting of Jesus, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez began his Thursday night address to the nation by invoking the name of "Christ Redeemer" and adding some personal religious thoughts. By the end of his introductory remarks, had there been a live audience present with some Christians in attendance, one possibly would have heard "Amens" and "Alleluias."

    Chavez was about to share his reflections on the announcement by the National Electoral Commission that sufficient signatures had been gathered to have a referendum regarding his presidency.  He wanted make his comments in the presence of his most important heroes.

    After standing in front of Jesus, he moved to paintings of Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre.  Finally he ended his remarks next to a bust of Ezequiel Zamora.

    It was with Zamora in mind that he projected himself into the future and announced the new battle of Santa Ines.  In 1859 Zamora gave the federal army the impression that his troops were retreating.  They succeeded in their movement, turned around and conquered their enemy...

  • House of Death on fire

    In late April, Narco News published a story about an informant for the U.S. government who was implicated in a series of murders in Juárez, Mexico -- 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.

    In the wake of the Narco News story, there has been a major shakeup at the El Paso ICE office.

  • Venezuela Goes to Referendum

    Venezuela National Radio (RNV) reports:

    CNE Indicates that the Signatures Against President Chávez Were Collected

    CNE director Jorge Rodríguez announced that according to preliminary results, the presidential recall referendum collected 15,000 more signatures than needed. There will also be recall referenda for nine opposition congressmen.

    (More information in a few minutes.)

    Thus, all the crybaby accusations by the "opposition" that their petition drive would not be respected (and their ridiculous claim to have collected 200,000 more than needed) are proved to be false.

    And now they will learn what this phrase means:

    "Be careful what you wish for... you might get it."

    President Hugo Chávez has convened the public to Miraflores palace (the White House of Venezuela) and will give a speech in about an hour.

    Now watch the opposition show its true colors, as the gang that can't shoot straight, having to now fight a fair electoral fight, again, for the eighth time in six years... having failed the previous seven times.

    Narco News will update the news throughout the evening.


  • FT comment on Chavez

    Here's today's comment from the FT on the recall effort in VE.  Note that they give almost complete credence to the "democratic" opposition, while discounting the motives of Hugo Chavez.  Of course, Chavez was once part of the mob in the street.  Is there another Chavez waiting in the wings or has the "lider maximo" managed to purge the opposition, as the FT suggests?  The real question, it seems to me, is whether any leader will emerge to rebuild the country's civic institutions. Democracy without the rule of law is just a polite description for chaos.

    Generally speaking, the financial markets don't give a banana peel about the political developments in Venezuela unless -- key point -- these events affect oil production.  As with the Middle East, gringos would never go there but for the black gold.

  • Haaretz: Castano Under U.S. Protection

    The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:

    Carlos Castano, a right-wing militia leader in Colombia, was recently smuggled into Israel, AFP reported Tuesday. But Israeli Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry officials who checked this story said they found no evidence that Castano had entered Israel. They noted, however, that it is possible that he entered the country under a different name.

    The militia leader disappeared from Colombia on February 16 after the country's militias agreed to a government demand to disband. Castano, 39, was first moved to Panama under American guard and then sent to Israel, according to the French news agency's report. The Colombian government refused to confirm or deny this report...

  • Chávez Opponents Caught in Fraud (Again)

    They were given an unprecedented second chance.

    But opponents of Venezuela's democratically elected President Hugo Chávez again showed their true colors: They were caught red-handed this past weekend, in multiple locations across the country, manufacturing thousands of forged "photo IDs" for dead people and others whose names were forged on petition signatures late last year, seeking a recall referendum on the term of twice-elected, seven times electorally-endorsed, President Hugo Chávez...


    Dirigentes sindicales, profesionales, campesinos, indígenas y representantes de diferentes sectores sociales de Bolivia reunidos el viernes 28 de mayo en la Asamblea de los Movimientos Sociales realizada en Cochabamba, determinaron por unanimidad impulsar la nacionalización de los hidrocarburos antes que participar en el referéndum planteado por el presidente Carlos Mesa.
  • Contemporary Political Economy and the Bolivarian Revolution


    Certainly, critique of political economy is no more on the order of the day. In many of our reports of current world events, also in the analysis of the current situation in Venezuela, very seldom we grasp the inherent problems at their very roots. However, without its revolutionary tenets, it is well-nigh impossible to fathom the current global essence of the Bolivarian Revolution in Latin America.

    In the same way that we thank archaic hieroglyphics for having originated the modern American language, similarly, we have to be grateful to Adam Smith's national economy which did generate the "invisible hand", the "good capitalism" of current, savage, corporate "neo-liberalism".

  • Cuban embargo trumps Osama

    In the grand scheme of policy options, what’s more important: foiling terrorist financing schemes, or tracking down American citizens who violate the embargo against Cuba?

    Well, it appears the Bush administration deems Cuba to be a higher priority, according to a report in the latest issue of Money Laundering Alert, a subscription-only newsletter published by a former federal prosecutor.

    Following is a snippet from the story:

    In the years before and even after the September 11, 2001 attacks, a U.S. government agency responsible for tracking down and blocking terrorists financing -- the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) -- has devoted far more resources to Cuba travel ban violators....

    In one case outlined in the story, OFAC, which is part of the Treasury Department, fined a mother of two $10,000 for failing to file the proper paperwork for her 10-day trip to Cuba.

  • Luis A. Gómez's Book Comes Out

    The invitation arrived in Spanish:

    IndyMedia Bolivia, el Centro de Promoción de la Mujer Gregoria Apaza y Radio Pachamama tienen el agrado de invitar a usted a la presentación del libro de Luis A. Gómez, "El Alto de pie."

    El evento se llevará a cabo el viernes 28 de mayo, de 17 a 19 horas,

    en el Auditorio del Centro de Promoción de la Mujer Gregoria Apaza,
    Av. Juan Pablo II y calle Eulert no. 125
    Zona 16 de Julio
    El Alto

    Agradecemos su gentil concurrencia

    That means...

    IndyMedia Bolivia, the Gregoria Apaza Center for Women, and Radio Pachamama invite you to the presentation of the book by Luis A. Gómez, "El Alto de pie" (El Alto Stands Up.)

    The event will take place on Friday May 28th, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Gregoria Apaza Center for Women... in El Alto.

    We appreciate your kind attendance.

    This is a very important book from the heart of last autumn's popular rebellions in Bolivia that caused the fall of disgraced president Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada (now in Miami, of course).

    More details to come, but I wanted y'all to see the cover art and be able to congratulate Luis Gómez.

  • Haiti: Caricom Sticks with Democracy

    Randall Robinson writes an interesting analysis on Counterpunch about the continued (and couragous) refusal by the community of Caribbean nations to allow the US-installed regime of Gerard Latortue in Haiti a seat at the table:

    On Feb. 29 the legally elected government of Haiti was driven from power by armed force. Its president, after being taken against his will to the Central African Republic, was given refuge in Jamaica. The Bush administration's response has been to demand that the democratic countries of the Caribbean (1) drop their call for an investigation into the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, (2) push the Aristide family out of Jamaica and the region, and (3) abandon their policy of admitting only democratically elected governments into the councils of Caricom (a multilateral organization established by the English-speaking Caribbean countries 31 years ago to promote regional cooperation).

    In addition, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has warned Caricom leaders that if one U.S. soldier is killed in Haiti, Caribbean governments will be held responsible because the Aristide family was granted sanctuary in the region. In short, the Bush administration is strong-arming the Caribbean to confer on Haiti's new "government," headed by Gerard Latortue, a legitimacy it has not earned and does not deserve....

  • Chávez: "Bring It On!"

    I watched Venezuela President Hugo Chávez on TV today, doing his weekly "Alo Presidente!" program, and speaking about this week's "repair process" for invalid signatures by those seeking a recall referendum to cut short his six-year term.

    Narco News School of Authentic Journalism professor Martín Sánchez also watched it, and has already published his observations on

    Martín and I got the same impression from watching the democratically-elected president do his popular television call-in program: Chávez is ready and at fighting weight to campaign and win yet another crushing electoral victory in that referendum if it happens.

    Of course, the squalid oligarchs who can't shoot straight may still screw up their extra extra chance to validate signatures that they claimed publicly were valid, but that their leaders were caught on tape admitting privately they were not valid, back when they filed the petitions filled with forgeries, signatures of dead people, and multiple signatures from the same persons...

  • Norm Coleman on new US ambassador to Caracas

    Heard in DC last week.  Coleman is a life-long Democrat from NY who switched to the GOP in 1996 and lost to Jesse Ventura in 1998 governors race. He chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, which has taken him on travels to numerous Central and South American destinations, including Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Has apparently not been in VE yet.  

    If Hugo Chavez can take some time off from dismantling what remains of Venezuelan civic institutions, perhaps he could invite Senator Coleman down for a vist, tour the western frontier with Colombia, meet with some paras and hang out.

  • Charlie Hardy's New Blog

    Narco News copublisher and 2003 and 2004 professor of the School of Authentic Journalism Charlie Hardy, reporting from Caracas, Venezuela, has a new blog of his own:

    The legendary "Cowboy in Caracas" writes:

    Al, Big News!  I'm going to be a father!  And, I consider you the godfather!

    Now don't jump to any conclusions!  It isn't what you are thinking.

    First of all, I want to send you a big, big thanks.  You were extremely instrumental in encouraging me to write, indeed, one of the most important people to do so.  Being in Mexico last year for the two session of the J-school were additional boosts and the invitation to have a notebook on Narco News another one.

    Not only that, but through Narco News a kid that was in Venezuela maybe fifteen years ago and visited Nueva Tacagua reestablished contact with me.  He has been offering for sometime the possibility of voluntarily developing a website for me.  Well, we've done it.

    Tomorrow I will be the father of a new blog...

    Okay, well pass around the cigars! The Narcosphere is now a grandparent!

  • [old / deleted]

    the article was deleted by the author - 2014-04-24

  • Police Department boasts number of arrests

    At its website's front page, Mexico City's police department (or "Public Safety Secretariat") shows off the progress in its goal of achieving 22,000 arrests during this year. According to the "REPORT OF DETAINEES" panel the total number up to date is 9,853. Check it out at
  • Alardea SSP-DF cantidad de detenidos

    En la primera plana de su sitio web la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del DF se jacta del progreso en su meta por lograr 22,000 detenidos durante el año que termina en diciembre del 2004. Según el recuadro "REPORTE DE DETENIDOS" el número total hasta la mañana de este miércoles 19 de mayo es 9,853. Chéquenlo:
  • Ratero cartoon

    The celebration of Mexican corruption:

  • 2004 Narco News Journalism Scholars

    Last night, in Los Angeles, 2003 graduate turned 2004 professor Sunny Angulo and I announced the list of this year's scholarship recipients who will be attending this year's Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, July 30 to August 8, in Cochabamba and the coca-growing Chapare region of Bolivia...

    Obviously, a lot of super qualified and interesting applicants did not make it. There are two more, beyond this list of 34 below, whom we are trying to find a way to get them there (but our finances and theirs preclude granting them even partial travel expenses so far), and...

    One scholarship applicant, Venezuelan Martín Sánchez, copublisher of and, has been invited not as a scholar, but as a professor.

    It is now my great pleasure to introduce you to the Authentic 34 of the Class of 2004 of the Narco News J-School!

  • how much are we willing to pay at the pump?

    this abu ghraib/guantanamo bay/haiti situation is such a load of bullshit. and if the democrats really gave a shit about the situation "overseas" even a tenth as much as they care about the situation in their own back yard then this story would have broken six months ago or never even happened at all. if they gave a shit and so paid attention. assholes. lying sacks of shit.
  • Origen del Plan Colombia: Molano en la UNAM

    El escritor colombiano Alfredo Molano invitado por Luis Astorga a una conferencia en Ciudad Universitaria.

    El origen de la producción de cocaína se remonta a los procesos de migraciones al interior, de campesinos obligados a ocupar territorios selváticos, el surgimiento de grupos armados para protegerlos y la tremenda fuente de ingresos que representaba la droga para mafiosos con experiencia en el contrabando.

    Estados Unidos influye fuertemente con la "Alianza para el Progreso" establecida para contrarrestar movimientos de izquierda tras la revolución cubana en 1959. La influencia se concentra en una Colombia productora de mariguana cuando Nixon anuncia la "Guerra contra las drogas".

    "El Plan Colombia fue redactado en inglés y cocinado en Washington". Para Europa se trataba de una estrategia militar contra la insurgencia así que decidió no aportar.

    Hoy en día el Ejecutivo concentra un poder público que antes estaba más repartido. Molano habla de una forma de "dictadura" conducida para cumplir con los acuerdos ante el Fondo Monetario Internacional, el tratado de extradición y el Plan Colombia, lo cual significa el debilitamiento del Estado.

    El Plan puede ser una estrategia para dominar una zona de varios países rica en recursos naturales y en mercados potenciales.

  • Brazil Expels Rohter; Drinking Alleged

    Larry Rohter, one of the most dishonest New York Times Latin American correspondents in history (and that's saying a lot), the "journalist" of whom Bush administration foreign policy fixer Roger Noriega once told a source of mine, when Noriega worked for Senator Jesse Helms, that Rohter never filed a story about Latin America without first checking with him, has just had his visa revoked by the Brazilian government.

    Alleged drinking was involved...

  • Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) Insults Customs Agent

    Ruben Gonzalez sent a letter earlier this year to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, He needed some help from the freshman senator who represents the Lone Star State.

    Gonzalez is a high-ranking supervisor in the Houston office of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

    Gonzalez also is part of a group of Hispanic federal agents who are suing the Department of Homeland Security for alleged racial discrimination. He reached out to Cornyn for help in addressing some of the discrimination issues raised in the class-action case -- in part, because the senator appeared to be sensitive to the concerns of Latinos.

    Despite his freshman status in Washington, Cornyn has solid connections to the White House. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, Cornyn, a Republican, served as Attorney General of Texas from 1999-2002 — during the administration of Gov. George W. Bush.

    A statement posted on the Web site for the Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) -- for which Gonzalez serves as vice president -- states the following:

    Texas senator John Cornyn is a close friend of the president. Senator Cornyn publicly appears to support Hispanic issues, as can be found on his Web site. ...

    The FHLEOA statement goes on to point out that last year, Cornyn made very strong remarks about an alleged racial slight of  lawyer Miguel A. Estrada, who at the time was a Bush nominee for a federal appeals-court judgeship.

  • J-School Q & A, Respuestas de la Escuela

    (Traducido a español, abajo)

    This is my favorite time of year. The deadline for this year's Narco News School of Authentic Journalism scholarship applications has passed and we're immersed in the fun work of reviewing them carefully and selecting the 2004 class of scholars to join us in July and August in Cochabamba and the Chapare region of Bolivia.

    We'll use this thread to answer questions and share a bit about the process (respecting the privacy of all applicants, of course). Part of our application gives the aspirants the opportunity to ask questions of us. I will answer them here and then translate the answers.

    I'll also field questions about the J-School from co-publishers...

  • Haiti Since the Coup

    Thousands killed or in hiding as coup government consolidates power with the help of paramilitaries and U.S. and French troops

    Since the February 29th coup d'etat against Haiti's constitutional president, the forces that brought the coup have killed more than one thousand political adversaries and poor Haitians.  Paramilitary groups, many of which took control of entire cities in the run-up to the coup, are the source of most of this violence.  The U.S. armed forces, which physically removed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the country and have since, with French troops, defended the coup government, did little to protect civilians.  Haitian police arrested many government officials close to Aristide and also worked with paramilitaries in raids and battles in pro-Aristide slums.  Meanwhile, the government sought legitimacy and loans from other nations, Haiti's economy worsened, and most paramilitaries expected the Haitian army to be reactivated and employ them.

  • Reflating dollar wags China, Brazil, LA

    Last blast on dollar inflation/deflation via a good summary from Dr. Molano on the China/LA dynamic. The low interest rates of the US Fed inflated China's bubble.  Deflation will affect the entire region, particularly Brazil. Note how state control over China's banks allows the communist klepto bureaucracy to loot bank deposits and thrive at the expense of broad population when bottom falls out.

    Let the economic education continue.

  • Marijuana March in Mexico City (Photos)

    Hundreds of people marched through downtown Mexico City yesterday for marijuana legalization. There were similar marches all over the world this weekend, an annual global action often called the “Million Marijuana March.”

  • Zinacantán

       All is not politically harmonious among the various Tzotzil communities in the mountains around Zinacantán, Chiapas.  A recent conflict is reported by Alex Contreras Baspineiro
    at, the first of a series of four good articles.  Here's a perspective the articles leave mostly unexplored.

       Water is the flashpoint.  A minority of the communities around Zinacantán identify with the Zapatistas.  

  • Urgent from Cristin McCauley: Colombia 3

    From Cristin McCauley, wife of one of "The Colombia Three," the Irishmen charged on cooked evidence of training Colombian rebels in explosives use, and recently aquitted.

    (See her October 2002 Letter to Narco News for background information.)

    Although The Colombia Three have been acquitted (Narco News reported there was no hard evidence against them 18 months ago), and even though they have been deported (on the lesser charge of possessing forged passports), they still can't get out of jail!

    That's Colombian "justice" for ya.


  • Interest rates, commodity prices pressure LA economies

    The Banco de Mexico surprised the global bond market maggotry this week and raised short-term interest rates to head off inflation, a signal that "overheating" due to dollar weakness is becoming a problem.  With a number of regional economies already struggling, news that the tide is going out in terms of world commodity prices and growth may add further to existing political pressures.  Note also that the Bank of China just raised rates for same reason: internal bubble fueled by cheap dollars.  Ironically, in both of these "overheating" economies, there are more people in poverty and lacking opportunities than ever before.  Finally, everybody -- and I mean everybody -- assumes that investment grade status for Mexico means no sudden adjustments in the $/NP rate, but NP11 something per dollar is a bit rich, especially as the greenback rebounds.  See market comment below with my comments in [].

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