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Venezuela: Pending Issues…

By Aleksander Boyd

London 15 July 2004 – Sent an email yesterday morning to the Centre of Socio-Legal studies of Oxford University, the reasons? Remember October 17th 2002? Back in those days Hugo Chavez was a beacon of rectitude, to the extent that he was ‘invited’ to give a conference convened by William Pepper and Denis Galligan in the International Human Right Seminar. Dr Galligan continues to be Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in the University of Oxford.

Dear Dr Galligan,

In October 2002 you supported Dr William F Pepper in the organization of a conference where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke about Globalisation and Poverty. As a student from the University of London I requested a ticket in order to assist, which was never granted. It has been brought to my attention that Dr Pepper received in early 2003 a substantial amount of money from the government of Venezuela via the Venezuela Information Office in Washington, $137,527.42 to be more precise.

Such a payment leaves Dr Pepper's invitation to Chavez in rather conflictive terms for it could be argued that it was a mere exercise of political propaganda which could compromise your credibility and honourability and that of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

I should be most grateful if you could forward your views in that respect.

Another issue brought to my attention was this fax that the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington is circulating around. The opening paragraph is truly remarkable:

This following information was prepared by Eva Golinger a lawyer and investigator located in New York. Eva Golinger does not receive any funding from the Venezuelan government and has conducted this investigation independently. All documents cited below are available in the public domain…

Eva Golinger admitted to have received payments from the government sponsored Venezuelan Information Office (VIO), furthermore she sent me an email with respect to the article I wrote in regards to last Sunday’s fiasco stating “…Yes, there was some very minor legal work I did for them…” The comical thing about it is that apart from a $380 air plane ticket that the VIO bought for her to assist to a media conference in Madison last November, there is indeed no proof of disbursements to her in the files of the VIO. However, lack of evidence notwithstanding, she clumsily admitted to El Universal that she had received less than $10.000 for her “…very minor legal work…” She also expressed that whilst in Venezuela she had to move to a hotel due to death threats and, surprise surprise, the government picked up the bill. One must wonder why the regime fails to provide similar preferential accommodation, for instance, to Mohamad Merhi –who has also been the subject of very many death threats and whose son was assassinated in April 11, 2002. But please, I urge to think not that she receives funding…

Continuing with emails, the following message arrived this morning:

Subject: Comments for Vida Organica
From: Derby ODonnell derby@fpdsolutions.com
Date: 15/07/04, 08.00

Have you seen the Irish-made documentary film "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"?

Are you aware of the position of fascist www.Vcrisis.com that you are sponsoring?

Will an international vegetarian/Green Party boycott get your attention?

As you can see, those infatuated with Chavez will stop at nothing in their desperate attempt to silence me. I can imagine that had I been in Venezuela I would probably be placed in official accommodation not of the Golinger type but rather of the Capriles Radonski’s, that is to say a windowless cell in the very core of the political police fortress in El Helicoide. You see, the problem that first world chavistas have got with me is that they cannot sling mud at me, they’ve got no arguments. Having no political past or pending issues from former administrations leaves me in the enviable position of being totally immune against their pathetic accusations. They keep inventing things such as that I am financed by the NED; or that I am a CIA agent; that Vcrisis is a front of Gustavo Cisneros; some others have even suggested that the Opus Dei is behind me. Whatever fallacies they put forth I just say “bring on the proof.” To their utter discomfort there is no evidence linking me to anyone, ah the bliss!!!

And Derby, please look out in the dictionary the definition of fascist for you may learn something about your hero. Just in case you haven’t got one handy here are Webster’s definition:

1. a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition;

2. a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

I would like to briefly touch upon the seriousness of the new PDVSA. For the second year running they have failed to submit the financial statements on time to the Security and Exchange Commission, yet top officials keep arguing that the corporation’s integrity and reliability is beyond doubt. Minister of Energy, Rafael Ramirez, accuses the IEA of plotting to undermine PDVSA’s credibility due to recent output figures released by the agency that do not match those unaccounted reports given by PDVSA. He assured that PDVSA is producing 3.1 MBD, however Gente del Petroleo’s May report points at 2.571 MBD having been produced by the company of which 501,5 MBD came from agreements, additionally 487 MBD were produced by the strategic associations in the Orinoco Belt.

Lastly the Venezuelan Information Office continues pilfering our money in Washington. Segundo Mercado Llorens is the VIO’s Senate Government Affairs Consultant, his expertise has cost Venezuela another $100.000. Not all is that bad though, David Levy from the CEPR was actually quite diligent in changing the information held by WHOIS with respect to the administration of the VIO website. The new administrator is Denise Recalde, yet another green and callous ‘lobbyist’ that will educate US citizens about Venezuela’s ambiguous situations…

Addendum

Is very interesting that Eva Golinger just reads the names she wants to read from FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] documents, and takes them out of context. If she were to scroll up to the paragraph prior to the one in which she found the name of Diego Bautista Urbaneja, she would also find the name of Ismael Garcia of "Podemos" Party, one of the most prominent of Chávez's supporters. Mr. Garcia was the leader of "Comando Ayacucho", the group pointed by Chávez with the objective of blocking the process of collecting signatures for a recall referendum.

The paragraph I am refering to is the following:

"CEDICE has contacted political parties that support the current government to discuss specific issues presented in the consensus document regarding oil production and social security issues since changes in public policy in those areas will require new laws or modifications to existing ones. These parties are expected to be a part of Congress at least until 2005, and therefore need to be convinced of the importance of implementing the national agenda. Professor Sabino an Mr. Aurelio Concheso met with Mr. Ismael García, a member of Podemos party. Mr García asked for a new meeting to present the document to other members of the government party, which has been arranged for June.

Using Mrs. Golinger’s logic, we should say that the NED (and Bush's administration) is financing the Chávez government, and "Comando Ayacucho" efforts to block the recall referendum.

I would recommend that Mrs. Golinger read the whole document before reaching any conclusions, especially before calling Mr. Chavez during his television show, and placing him in a very ridiculous situation.

Jorge Combellas
New York, New York



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