Thursday, October 30, 2003

“Pura Paja”
The U.S. of A. Ambassador is not buying

October 29, 2003

The behavioral patterns of the Venezuelan administration must be affecting the diplomats posted in Caracas. The US-one, lately in the eye of the storm dues to some due to some alleged CIA activities, went on today to use Venezuelan slang to discuss the attitude of some Venezuelan representatives.

The (in)famous video of last week, pretending to bring to light the CIA activities, had caused a visit of Charles Shapiro to the National Assembly, specifically to assemblyman Maduro to ask for proofs of the CIA intervention. This was last week.

Today, while visiting Zulia state, a state that has become one of the bitterest opponents to Chavez since the oil strike, Mr. Shapiro (1) declared, and I am not making this up, "Nunca lo hizo, entonces eso es como ustedes dicen en buen venezolano: es pura paja". My translation: “He never did it [bring the proofs], thus as you say in good Venezuelan: it is pure straw”. The literal translation does not serve the actual wording of the ambassador. “Pura Pajameans Total Bull Shit”.

Yes, an US ambassador has qualified one of the “leaders” of the National Assembly as a “total bull shiter” (2). Should the US reader be shocked? Not at all. The ambassador has just replied in kind to Mr. Maduro, perhaps in an effort to “reach and touch him” better since diplomatic language seems to be lost in translation. That or he is watching too many of Chavez’s speeches…

Assemblyman Maduro and others have made a career of levying the most incredible charges never to be bothered afterwards with sustaining them. He promised in last week meeting to provide Mr. Shapiro with the proofs of cover up actions so the ambassador could transmit them to the State Department. Nothing has been brought forward, except for yet another questionable tape today that has been received with even more questioning comments than the previous one.

If Chavez himself in his Sunday routine accuses people of all sorts of misdeeds and never manages even to start a law suit, why shouldn’t the underlings better him up? This reminds me of a famous speech two years ago by Carreno, another of Chavez henchman, accusing Direct TV to set Venezuelan homes with satellite decodifiers that were carrying hidden cameras to check what people do at home. Amazingly, covered in ridicule, he never backed. Then again, he was already inured since he was the one from the administration that announced that Montesinos (3) had been assassinated in Peru by the Peruvian Army and that he had the proof of it. In lieu of proof, Montesinos appeared a few weeks after, having hidden in Venezuela, presumably protected by s sector of the Venezuelan government. The investigation to the “Montesinos Affair” has followed the same route of all “difficult” investigations for the Chavez administration: the “too forget about” drawer. I am sure that there is enough room left in the drawer for the CIA videos.


(1) I have already described the actions of Mr. Shapiro in a previous post, September 24"Three Embassies". He has been criticized a lot, but I happen to think that he might be more effective than what he is being credited for. If anything his effort to understand Venezuelan slang and use it appropriately are commendable. At least with an administration that seems unable to speak proper Spanish.

(2) The English section of El Universal had a much more subdued version:

US ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro rejected once again charges made by pro-government lawmakers regarding CIA's involvement in Venezuela.
Deputies Juan Barreto, Nicolas Maduro and Roger Rondon insisted that the US intelligence service is trying to destabilize President Hugo Chavez' administration.
Shapiro said when he met with Maduro last week, the assemblyman told him he would submit evidence proving his denouncement and he never did. "So, that's rubbish, as Venezuelans say," Shapiro commented.
He added that he disagrees with "microphone diplomacy, but when two deputies attack the US with groundless accusations, I have to respond."

(3) Montesinos was the security head of former president Fujimori, the one that managed the direct corruption schemes of political opponents. The manhunt chase that he generated after the fall of Fujimori was quite something.

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