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Venezuela paying spinmeisters at Patton Boggs for international ‘make up’

By Aleksander Boyd

London 04 May 2004 – According to a memo, attorneys from Patton Boggs believe that an “aggressive and carefully formulated response strategy” is in order if Venezuela is not to lose face with the US administration. The memo dated February 12th and addressed to Venezuela’s Embassy in Washington ‘tackles’ the “Colombian issues” and outlines a series of recommendations that must be followed if a normalisation of bilateral relations is to be achieved.

The team at Patton Boggs produced a bespoke campaign geared at US congressmen/women, US military and other administration officials who may be instrumental in policy making and strategic decisions towards Venezuela. Recently we have learned that the regime of Hugo Chavez was to pay the firm $1.2 million to provide a ‘make up’ for its international image. The funny thing is that these PR ‘experts’ do not seem to realise that Hugo Chavez’ image it’s in its present condition solely due to his sheer stupidity and verbal incontinency more than anything else. The first and foremost advice that they should be giving to Chavez is to keep his foul mouth shut, especially in regards to foreign leaders and nations, although that would bring to an end the tragicomedy…

Following some excerpts of the memo, the entire campaign –including people targeted- can be read here.

“Recent events have emphasized the importance of early finalisation of a coherent and finely tuned strategy for dealing with the “Colombia issues” and the widely held misperceptions which persist in the minds of some leaders of the US Administration, the US Congress and the US Military. These misconceptions, and those seeking to perpetuate them, present significant impediments to the normalisation of relations between the US and Venezuela. An aggressive and carefully formulated response strategy will be a key element of successful representation in the coming year.”

Anatomy of the issue

The Colombia issues are perhaps the most important subset of a pattern of allegations conceived, advanced and perpetuated by the opposition-controlled Venezuelan media (and supported by sympathisers of the political right in the US, Colombia and elsewhere) to the effect that Venezuela is supporting terrorists in Latin America, refusing to cooperate with the US in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism efforts and otherwise impeding the “War on Terrorism.” That “war” of course is an ultimate US priority and a primary driving force of US foreign policy.

The US is deeply invested in “Plan Colombia” –a drug interdiction effort which, since September 11, has been re-christened as an effort to combat “narco-terrorism” or, in some instances, simply terrorism. Insurgents in Colombia are often on the left, and the present Government is to the right. Unlike Venezuela, substantial Colombian economic interests are heavily dependent on the drug trade. Thus it is not surprising that the Colombia issues have been at the leading edge of an effort to tar Venezuela with an image as a Terrorist Harborer and a non-cooperator in the War on Terrorism, particularly with respect to the “Plan Colombia” Aspects. The precise allegations, as outlined in the defeated Senate version of H.R. 2673 – the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations bill- are that:

1. Venezuela has failed to cooperate in the US supported effort of the Colombian Government to interdict drugs and suppress narco-terrorism; and

2. Venezuela has supported or assisted groups designated as terrorist organizations in Colombia.

In attachment number 4 there are a series of interesting objectives and further recommendations “our objective is to respond to the Report’s request in a way which results in: 1) a report to the Committee concluding that Venezuela has cooperated in drug interdiction and has not supported terrorism; and 2) a situation going forward in which similar misperceptions will not arise or be considered credible in the future. Achievement of the objective will depend on two factors: 1) ability to select and make contact with appropriate targets for the message; and 2) the credibility, efficiency and continuity of our communication effort.

Needless to say that the folks at Patton Boggs have found a new Aristide in Chavez for they have already expressed that the success rate of the campaign is directly related to the “continuity of their communication efforts.” One must wonder what sort of definition for communication they posses, furthermore the associates advising Venezuela probably gain their legal credentials in the same school that granted Eva Golinger-Moncada a law degree. Those petro-dollars definitively work wonders!! Amazingly enough on that very attachment (No 4) emphasis is made upon the necessity of “‘arming’ the spokespersons with up to date information on status and the Chavez’s Administration’s commitment to constitutional process.” How curious is their choice of words; why should one ‘arm’ oneself with up to date information if the truth is to be spoken? What I really want to see is what sort of crap are they going to produce in regards to Chavez’s commitment to constitutional process. Moreover I would love to see the memo they will send to their ‘targets’ explaining the passing of the new Supreme’s Court law. Brazen bastards!!!!!!!!

Truth is one of Hugo Chavez' first policies was to prohibit reconnaissance over-flights to the DEA; he was instrumental, personally, in forging the liberation of OAS’ Secretary Cesar Gaviria’s brother from the guerrilla; he harboured Wladimiro Montesinos, releasing him to the authorities only when it suited his image; he has ignored repeated warnings vis-à-vis guerrilla operations from army commanders assigned to the Colombian border; 85% of the Colombia drug produce enters the international market via Venezuela; in sum Patton Boggs et al will need arming indeed to spin the mountain of facts against Hugo Chavez.

To continue with the tragicomedy I would kindly advice the readers of this site to visit the "about us" page of Patton Boggs.

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