Sunday, March 25, 2007

What happens when you cannot close your big mouth and are an ambassador: Brazil and Venezuela spat over bad TV?

Two days ago I was reporting on how the Venezuelan ambassador in Brasilia had lost a golden opportunity to remain silent. He had attacked unnecessarily the Brazilian communications minister because eh said that Venezuelan State TV was there to serve Chavez. Something obvious even for the more ardent chavistas which agrees that all TV in Venezuela should glorify El Supremo.

Well, now the minister, Helio Costa, has replied to the ambassador, and we can be quite sure that his reply does not come without some indirect blessing from Itamarati Palace and if not Lula himself. the reply appeared in Folha Sao Paulo but on a restricted area so I got the reprint from Jornal do Commercio again. A portion in Portuguese first for full flavor:

  • "Esse embaixador é um mal-educado e deselegante",
  • "O presidente Hugo Chávez é um líder carismático, mas faz uma TV estatal que eu, como profissional, acho muito ruim, e acho que ele (Chávez) poderia mudar o seu método de escolher o embaixador para um país amigo como o Brasil",
  • em sua opinião, a TV estatal venezuelana tem "péssima" qualidade.
Translation of part of the Commercio article (more here in El Universal, including Costa stating that he has the right to give his opinion on any TV broadcast shown in Brazil as Venezuela is subsidizing state TV transmission all across the continent):
[the] ambassador of Venezuela in Brazil, Julio Garcia Montoya. “This ambassador is uneducated and inelegant”, the minister went on this Saturday. Costa reaffirmed the critics that he made last week about the Venezuelan state TV and said that the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, badly chose the ambassador of Brazil. “President Hugo Chavez is a charismatic leader, but he makes a state TV that I, as a professional, I find very lousy, and I also find that he [Chavez] could change his method to choose the ambassador for a friendly country such as Brazil”, said Costa, who was for many years journalist of TV Globo.

The minister insisted that, in its opinion, the Venezuelan state TV has "terrible" quality.

“I made a comment on the Venezuelan state TV, that is not the TV system the Brazilian plan. I have the right to have opinion. The Venezuelan ambassador must have more respect when he refers to a minister and senator of the Republic that had 3,5 million votes”, completed Helio Costa, who is senator for the PMDB of Minas Gerais [second state in importance of Brazil].

"There, I make a comment [in an internal Brazilian debate] and I am bombarded by an ambassador who calls me insane. Certainly he is not a career diplomat", said Costa.
Choice words for the minister, no? Not to mention on the ,Bingo!, of not being a career diplomat. For those who do not know, Garcia Montoya was one of the generals of post April 2002 who was in charge of purging the army. He has no qualification to be an ambassador but had to be thanked one way or the other for the dirty job he did within the army. It seems that Chavez tried to get rid of him ASAP, as he probably, like Lucas Rincon safely stashed away in some embassy, knew too much about what REALLY happened that April. An embassy and plenty of money to play the Rio Carnival certainly do help to silence any conscience that could wake up at a given time.

I am eagerly awaiting for the next episode. Will someone in Venezuela have enough sense not to attract further attention on the awful sate TV of Venezuela? I doubt it, they are actually quite proud of the sycophantic trash put out everyday there.

PS: scavenging a little bit more I found this item where in 2006 it was obvious that Garcia Montoya has no idea of diplomatic restraint, getting into a written brawl with the magazine VEJA. Now, he might have every reason to be mad against VEJA but even a self respecting blogger would not accuse VEJA of Goebbelian publication. A good ambassador has underlings that take on this type of dirty job. Does he not get advice from the US VIO? I think it is time to create a VIO-Brazil soon beofre this character keeps inserting his foot in his mouth further....

-The end-

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