Hugo Chavez’ final day
By Aleksander Boyd
London 14 August 2004 – It all started nearly two years ago. After having bought my first PC, very many hours were spent discovering this new technological dimension called the web which marvelled me greatly. It is as if one has at one’s disposition a compendium of the greatest libraries of the civilised world. Rather quickly I discovered forums in various news outlets and back in the days the FT had one about the future of Venezuela. There I learned upon the ‘invitation’ that William F Pepper made to Hugo Chavez to give a conference about Globalisation and Poverty in the International Human Rights Seminar in Oxford University.
Filled with disgust I decided to write about my views in said forum. My first impulse was to ask for a ticket to assist to the conference for I thought that it would be quite exciting to confront Hugo Chavez in such a respectable venue. Unfortunately the convenors of the series, namely William F Pepper (visiting fellow of the Centre for Socio Legal Studies), Denis Galligan (Director of said centre and fellow of Wolfson College), and a Professor Phillys Fergusson, considered otherwise and my genuine request for a ticket was denied. Notwithstanding I took a train to Oxford the day of the conference (17 Oct. 2002) and went to protest outside the venue with a placard that read HUGO CHAVEZ HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR. Other Venezuelans felt notably upset about the invitation to a criminal to address an audience in Oxford.
Once I was in my advantage point in front of the entry door of Oxford’s Examinations Building, the entourage travelling with Chavez started insulting and filming me. One of the very first persons who actually took the time to speak to me was Times journalist Andrew Billen, who would later in the day interview Chavez and discover he was nothing but a charlatan. Billen asked me why I had written such phrase in the placard which left me in awe. One can not expect for English journalists to know about every detail of Venezuela’s contemporary history, however the actions that put Chavez in the political map of the country, i.e. his failed coup d’etat in 1992 were more than 100 people were killed, is common knowledge. Ergo perceiving my utter discontent towards “Chavez the President” Billen questioned whether I supported Carlos Andres Perez, to which I responded that the fact that I consider an insult to my dignity to witness how a criminal was invited to address a human rights audience had nothing to do with supporting another criminal, Carlos Andres Perez that is. Apparently Mr Billen was well aware of my writings in the FT forum for once I said who I was he replied “oh so you’re Aleksander Boyd? We have been told that you are financed by the Venezuelan media.” I just could not believe it and the only coherent comment I could make was “mate which are your sources of information?”
The day brought other experiences; being two steps away from Venezuelan assemblymen, diplomatic personnel, Energy Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and presidential bodyguards whom abandoning all sense of decorum insulted me in the presence of Oxford residents, students and the police it’s an unforgettable treat. On the train back to London I spoke to another Venezuelan about how ignorant these people were vis-ŕ-vis the situation in our country, stressing upon the necessity of creating an informational tool to somewhat counteract the never ending spin coming from the traditional outlets. That is how Vcrisis came to be.
Most of the last two years have been devoted to pursuing this ideal. In said time I have discovered a few things about the ‘people’ who defend Hugo Chavez in the international arena. The most notorious and common characteristic of said group is the superficiality of their knowledge of our country. Thus, coming most of them from academia, they truly believe that reading a couple of papers about the subject suffices to become an expert in Venezuela. Others not so fortunate in the educational background feel that a two week visit escorted by presidential lackeys provides deep understanding. Another aspect is that they seem to spouse quite strongly leftist ideals and the histrionic qualities of a semi illiterate soldier from Barinas have tricked them all into the belief that the unrest of the country stems from a racially and deeply divided society. In sum they have not got the slightest clue about us, our history, our moral system, the dynamics of our society, the approach to race, and a long list of etceteras. Petrodollars however are a most powerful tool. As such we have seen how this government has contracted the services of spinmeisters whose tentacles reach very far indeed. Thus media outlets of incredible stature such as the BBC, the NYT, Reuters, CNN and others have sported a very lenient editorial line towards Hugo Chavez. Against that no one can compete with the set goal of achieving moderate success. For instance take a look at today’s section of Google News; gossip has it that the latest acquisitions of chavismo are oil analysts who keep repeating that a Chavez defeat will disrupt oil production in Venezuela. They have been awkwardly silent however with respect to yesterday’s statements from Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez about the non-acceptance of oil workers to a result unfavourable to Chavez.
William F Pepper’s invitation to Hugo Chavez was handsomely rewarded; he received in 2003 about $137.527,42 from the Venezuelan government. A legion of leftists ‘intellectuals’ has been invited with all expenses paid to Venezuela to observe and report our recall referendum and their nonsense pullulates on the web. Messages as the following keep arriving at my inbox, this time round from a Nazi 'intellectual' allegedly called Max Eifler:
It doesn't look very "unpolitical" if you got a banner at your site, that advertises "vota si". Despite the fact, that the upperclass-rightwinged so called "democratic opposition" rule the electronic tabloid massmedia in Venezuela, the intellectuals of europe will not forget the us-supported criminal actions against the elected bolivarian government and against the will of the majority of the people. Wait and see the results but I presume, that your organizations will find ways to creat new turmoils. We remember Chile!
None of that will affect the sheer determination of the people of Venezuela and tomorrow shall be the day history books will report as the reaffirmation of our desire to live in democracy.
It has been a gratifying experience that most probably will end tomorrow with the ousting through the ballot box of the most disgraceful president our nation has had.
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