There has been a video made by some Spanish journalists that is circulating. Its theme was the violence in the streets in Caracas and how in addition chavismo had organized "paramilitary" groups to support Chavez. I have not been able to watch that video, neither the reprise that CNN "en español" did of it, a reprise that added to it a certain number of interviews, to the makers of that video,to people knowledgeable on Caracas violence and of course chavista officials.
This video has now become a major issue in Venezuela as Chavez stupidly mentioned it when he was in Santa Marta last Tuesday, sending everyone in Colombia at the very least to go and try to watch that video.
Now, before I get into the detail there are a certain numbers of FACTS that need to be addressed:
- Regardless of the contents of that video, that I have not watched yet, it is common knowledge that there are "paramilitary" groups pro Chavez that have not balked from at the use of violence to "defend" Chavez and his policies. The main exponent of that is the infamous Lina Ron, the bleached blond who has regularly been filmed at different acts of violence with their followers against Globovision, el Ateneo, opposition rallies and what not. But she is not alone as many of other such groups have been filmed frequently attacking political targets. This is public record now, even admitted by Chavez who asked them to quiet down, with little success it seems.
- The violence in Caracas and Venezuela is now a statistical fact, surpassing pretty much the violence everywhere else except a few rare places like the Northern border of Mexico. Journalists all around the world have been talking about that considerable increase in crime in Venezuela, from L'Express in France to countless nightly news reporting from Spain or Colombia, and to Globovision at home who almost daily sends journalists to one of the Venezuelan morgues to interview the grieving families. These scenes are rarely if ever seen on the numerous State TV of the regime who always add quickly that the crime in Venezuela is due to an international conspiracy, capitalism induced poverty or what not, never explaining how crime trebled under Chavez in spite of all the extensive social programs that are supposed normally to reduce such plagues.
- The current media laws of Venezuela effectively censor the media who dare to pass such video. That is, Globovision only passed blotched excerpts late at night. To watch the video you need to go to CNN en español on cable TV. I do not know how much of this documentary was passed on other Venezuelan channels or whether Globovision passed it in full. But the fact here is that at prime time news Globovision did not show that documentary for self censorship reasons, a fact admitted by Globovision personnel who said that they cannot show so much violence and weapons unless risking severe sanctions.
This being said, the point of this post IS NOT to evaluate the documentary, I cannot do so, I have not watched it. However, I NEED NOT have watched it to know that indeed chavismo has assault sections to launch against opponents as this blog has reported on more than one occasion. This blog writer has also suffered personally of crime and extortion from public officials so even if he has not suffered directly from Lina Ron or La Piedrita or such group he has absolutely no problem in understanding where they are coming from or accepting their existence, be it as "seen on TV" or from acquaintances which have witnessed such actions.
The point of this post is to discuss the reaction of Andres Izarra, ex communication minister of Chavez and now director of Telesur, the subsidized 24 news channel that is supposedly the counter balance to CNN in Latin America and the World.
Andres Izarra is a mediocre to average journalist who used to work for RCTV until 2002 when he left it (was fired?) saying all sorts of nasty things against RCTV role during the April events. Again, the discussion is not on 2002 events, but on Izarra who had no qualms in accusing his former boss who apparently had been very forgiving of his under par performance in spite of his initial promise that made him hired at RCTV.
Andres Izarra is also the son of one of Chavez mentors, a retired army officer of left wing conspiracy tendencies, William Izarra. Thus it was not difficult for Izarra to leave RCTV and start a fast track career inside Chavismo which took him to embassies, a brief stint at the helm of communication ministry to the direction of Telesur. It is to be noted that he never stayed that long in any of his jobs, never impressing anyone through his talents. But he is, or at least was, "presentable" a rather cute well washed face of chavismo.
In other words after 8 years of holding different offices and hanging around the press corps of many countries he should have learned at least to behave in public and to own a message that does not need to ridicule the opponent. Apparently Izarra has been unable to learn anything from his positions.
Yesterday Carlos Montero of CNN had him in some sort of discussion panel. It is to be noted that CNN was for a long time very indulgent with Chavez and that even today I consider Montero to be still soft on Chavez. So, of all the current anchors of CNN en Español if there is one that Izarra should try to endear himself to it is Carlos Montero!
In the videos below you will see how Izarra explodes into a fake mocking laugh to the very serious allegations that Roberto Briceño León is presenting. Biceño was actually only reporting conservative numbers and wondering aloud about the problem, trying not to put the guilt simplistically on Chavez. But that apparently was too much for Izarra.
You can see the laughter of Izarra at minute 3 and following of the CNN video "Los guardianes de Chavez 20". Izarra even slaps his thigh at minute 4:20 when Briceño is ACTUALLY granting points to chavismo efforts to fight poverty!.
At minute 4:42 you can hear Montero puzzled by the infantile? immature? reaction of Izarra. An Izarra by the way who uses the familiar "tu" as if Montero was an inferior. Izarra starts his reply repeating at 4:55 a line he used several times earlier, "the journalistic pornography" of CNN, as if that meant anything. the point of course being to discredit the messenger, CNN this time, as chavismo has long ago run of arguments. At 5:18 Izarra refers tot he "decadence of CNN" a current theme in chavismo it seems as I heard it a few days ago in the mouth of Walter Martinez, the "international" anchor of VTV, the official propaganda channel of chavismo at tax payer expense. Note also that he does not reply to Briceño as the Venezuelan opposition existence should never be acknowledged by a chavista official, even if sharing the screen with you! Izarra simply makes the allegations of Briceño the ones of Montero, trying in the subconscious of the public to degrade Montero to political hack status. Trust me, I am sparing you more of the stuff that my very limited Jungian training makes me want to write.........
But enough with details. Again, the point here is not whether Briceño or Izarra are right, it is to observe how unacceptable the attitude of Izarra is. The whole Latin World today saw what we must suffer from any chavista official everyday, from Chavez to many a bureaucrat at some booth, going through Cilia Flores silencing the microphones of opposition representatives at the Nazional Assembly or the "impartial " electoral authorities like Tibisay Lucena rejecting international observers for September elections.
The attitude of Izarra is now official policy and one is left to wonder if it is a product of brain washing, poor education or fear that they know they are wrong and are thus trying to hide it through mockery and scorn. Totalitarian regimes do use mockery and scorn as their major tools.
I have an additional comment: has Izarra any clue at how negative his attitude is to the image and credibility of Telesur? Not that Telesur has acquired much credibility to begin with, but with all the money Chavez has thrown at Telesur one would have hoped for a little bit more of self respect from its workers of which Izarra is one even if he is the boss.
PS: In case CNN does not work, you can read an account with video at Tal cual, and the assembled video on YouTube.
PS2: more on Izarra vulgarity courtesy of Bruni
It is not worth an extra post on this story but CNN was at it tonight with yet another set of interviews this time with Petare mayor Carlos Ocariz of Primero Justicia and Augusto Montiel the representative of Petare, who I had the "pleasure" to report on my blog as inducing violent demonstrators in Belgium to harass anti Chavez protesters as reported by readers of this blog.
As seen on CNN clearly Montiel has not improved a bit since last year. He had absolutely no argument, always coming back to the same tired chavista lines of right wing opposition, of imported violence and what not. Ocariz on the other hand did not reply to a single of his attacks, contenting himself very effectively to underline that in the half an hour of the interview Montiel had not advanced a single proposal to fight back violence, and reminding the international audience that chavismo had been in office for 11 years and thus had to be responsible at least in part for the increased violence. He told him that each time, after each intermission, Montiel still unable to present a single achievement, repeating the same lies he said in the previous segment. Utterly pathetic. Not to mention that Montiel was trying to interrupt Ocariz at each opportunity while Ocariz let him speak, no matter how gross the utterance. And Ocariz of course could offer a record even if he has not been yet two years in office, sabotaged by chavismo at each opportunity.
Either we listen to the idiocy of Montiel or the supine arrogance of Izarra one must be surprised by how out of touch these guys are revealed, how unable to understand what CNN has thrown at them, and to my great surprise, how hurt they have been! In 11 years they have wrapped themselves into such a self righteous discourse that they have mushed their brain, if they ever had one.Their distancing from the people reality, their lack of respect for those who suffer from chavismo mistakes has been the best present that CNN could have offered to Latin America. Amazing!