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Old Labour: Hugo Chavez's UK propagandists

By Aleksander Boyd

London 17.02.06 | Labour MP for Elmet Colin Burgon presented an Early Day Motion (EDM) on February 14th that reads:

That this House recognises the progress that is being made by the democratically-elected government of Venezuela in expanding the provision of education, healthcare, housing, land, food and micro-credit facilities for those previously marginalised and excluded from economic and political opportunities in the country; notes that these important policy initiatives are an important step in reducing the searing inequalities that characterise Venezuelan society; further notes that the social policies of the Venezuelan government enhance the country's prospects of meeting its millennium development goals; and calls upon the UK Government to acknowledge the benefits of the Venezuelan social development model for other developing countries, to support the democratically-elected administration of President Hugo Chavez in the face of unconstitutional and illegal threats from both internal and external opponents and to work to strengthen the ties between the UK and Venezuela.

Said motion has been supported by 78 British MPs. As is the case with Oily George Galloway, their names are there for history, their allegiance to a criminal tinpot dictator on the record. It is hard to fathom how, purportedly well read and informed individuals that make it to the Westminster's House of Commons, can lend their names to such easy-to-debunk propaganda. The 'honorable' Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK, Alfredo Toro Hardy, having forgotten his alleged 'representative of a State' role worked the lines rather quickly to report to his boss the good news. But let us analyse the verbattim of the EDM.

That this House recognises the progress that is being made by the democratically-elected government of Venezuela in expanding the provision of education, healthcare, housing, land, food and micro-credit facilities for those previously marginalised and excluded from economic and political opportunities in the country;

What progress may that be? Does Burgon and the rest of the bunch know that the 'democratically-elected government of Venezuela' is composed mainly of military companions of coupster Hugo Chavez? When talking about expanding education and so on, can the signatory MPs provide any credible data to back this claim? For as far as statistics produced in Venezuela by official institutions go, housing, built in the best of the Chavez years, fell short off the mark by what, erm, 90.000 units per year? Healthcare? Provided by Cubans that do not meet the requirements of Venezuela's Medical Federation? Would these MPs support an EDM to allow the thousands of university-educated Venezuelans that arrive in these shores to join the NHS disregarding degree-validation procedures? Regarding the poor souls that have been marginalised, do these MPs want me to come round to the Houses of Parliament to give them a presentation about marginalisation and exclusion from economic and political opportunities? I happen to have here with me a CD called Maisanta, just in case curiosity flies by the Thames.

further notes that the social policies of the Venezuelan government enhance the country's prospects of meeting its millennium development goals;

Can someone at the Labour Party care to expand on Venezuela's prospect of meeting its millenium development goals? Firt time I hear about such a thing.

and calls upon the UK Government to acknowledge the benefits of the Venezuelan social development model for other developing countries, to support the democratically-elected administration of President Hugo Chavez in the face of unconstitutional and illegal threats from both internal and external opponents and to work to strengthen the ties between the UK and Venezuela.

The above must have been written either by the propagandists at the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, the Venezuela Information Centre that operates out of Red Ken's HQs at the Greater London Authority or perhaps by erstwhile KGB and traitor Richard Gott. Surely Tony Blair and his government will rapidly take strides to strenghten ties with one of the world's three rogue regimes, that want to see Iran developing nuclear weapons. There is no doubt, however, that Old Labour will do whatever it takes to help out Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

But there's more to this for, most certainly, 78 MPs signing an EDM pledging support to Fidel Castro's lackey is not something that just happens. There must be some sort of preparation and lobbying behind this effort. Who is behind this? Why the sudden interest? Since "No Member shall act as a paid advocate in any proceeding of the House" are these 78 MPs supporting Chavez for free or should one assume that they're doing so out of the goodness of their hearts? Are they getting something in return? If so, what? According to The Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament MPs have a duty to "uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination" (Public duties of Members, s. 3). Additionaly it is difficult to envision how lending support to a deranged individual is of benefit to this country and its society, for "Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents." (sic). Have these 78 MPs anything to report concerning their interests vis-a-vis Venezuela with the Registrar of Member's Interests?

The effort, unfortunately, is not exclusive to this side of the Atlantic. Across the pond, Delahunt and other Democrats are working hard to embarrass as quickly as possible the Bush administration, for what they perceive as malign intervention in Venezuela's sovereignty. No issues are raised however with respect to the very aggressive propaganda campaign taking place in US soil, in which the entire Venezuelan diplomatic corps is engaged. This weekend in NY, a gathering of such agents -a.k.a. Bolivarian Circles, will take place. The event's goal is to "Create a National Solidarity Network with Venezuela" read; enlist more and more propagandists and agents, forge alliances with those who oppose the current democratically-elected administration and undermine or obstruct policies regarding Hugo Chavez. All this is taking place under the very noses of the Justice Department, that by the way would do well in investigating whether or not these people are in compliance with the Foreign Agent Registration Act. More troubling to this observer is the synchronisation of activities, both in Venezuela and abroad. For lest some forget, Hugo Chavez suffered a tremendous defeat in the elections of December 4 2005, when less than 10% of registered voters bothered to show up at the polling stations. Now, out of the blue, one sees a dissolved polling company being quoted as showing increases in the level of support and credibility of Hugo Chavez and his utterly rigged electoral council; the same pollster giving Ollanta Humala a healthy lead in Peru; the Democrats introducing information requests in Congress; the Bolivarian Circles being activated at a national level; UK MPs signing EDMs in support of Hugo Chavez... all in strict observance of the campaign manifesto's guidelines produced not long ago by Chavez's headquarters in Caracas, or was it in Havana?



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