Upon my return to Caracas words fail me to express the nadir that I am seeing coming for Venezuela. So, while I find words to try to express the recent events, thanks to a tip from GP, I will write about how the symbol of this blog keeps popping here and there.
The pictures of the flags that appear on the upper right side of this blog keeps showing up in the most unexpected places. It shows that Venezuela News and Views is widely read,and has impressed enough folks for them to remember at least the flag picture, enough for them to eventually use it.
The first incident was for a pro Chavez benefit in the US who used this picture in the web side promoting it. I did have to write to them to let them know that the picture was taken by yours truly at an opposition march early January 2003. Within a few hours the picture had disappeared. But I never got a reply to my letter to them.
Then last June Stig, the owner of Albacom, the Norwegian blogger who faithfully reads this blog sent me a web page from a Youth Socialist Revolutionary Party of Norway, Sosialistisk Ungdom, where the flags of this blog were used. Stig has the story in Norwegian here, but regardless, the page has disappeared from the site (we can hope that recent events have convinced them that perhaps Chavez ain't such a great guy...). Of course today I must re-post this picture on the right side. You may click to enlarge.
But now GP is sending me this web page from a conference to be held in North Carolina, at Duke University. I am not too sure who that "consortium "is. When many years ago I used to live in the area I had not heard from them. Neither do I know what tendency they do represent or how objective they might be. But they certainly did invite people that know something about Venezuela (Jennifer McCoy for one) and even pro Chavez folks such as Edgardo Lander. He will be in a joint conference comparing Venezuela and Colombia. As I am just returning from Colombia I will be very much interested in reading the transcript of his speech. I cannot give a definite opinion on this conference but to me it seems that according to the program the policies of Chavez are unlikely to be criticized seriously and that perhaps the most objective speaker might turn out to be Dr. McCoy.
Now, the interesting detail can be seen on the picture on the left (click to enlarge) where you can see perfectly that whomever designed the poster for that conference has come across my blog. Accidentally? Some graduate student providing the pic for his/her mentor? Will this picture be the only silenced voice of Chavez opposition? At any rate I am not credited for it. And even less invited to the conference. From the list of attendees, either on the speaking program or the accompanying panels, in all modesty I can write that I could have been one of these people. After all, you know, I have written enough on Venezuela for 4 years, enough to gain some credit and credibility where even the rather liberal/left leaning BBC did publish an article from me, as a reasonable Chavez opponent.
In case someone from the conference reads this post, I can get free lodging with friends at Chapel Hill or Durham, and I just need a plane ticket sent. My bags are not even completely unpacked yet! :)