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Dispatches from Caracas: The Bolivarian Daily Journal

By Tirso Suarez

09.04.06 | The 60-year-old Daily Journal, Venezuela’s English-language daily newspaper, was losing $30,000 a month until it was purchased for $1 million on March 3 by Julio Augusto Lopez Enriquez, who also owns El Diario de Caracas. On March 9 the new newspaper published a front-page photograph of Bolivarian women protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Caracas holding up a banner that accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of betraying her “race and kind.” This was, of course, typical of the vulgarity that characterizes the Bolivarian revolution, in particular many chavista women who stupidly endorse the Chavez regime’s misogynist view of women.

The funds for the deal came from General Julio Garcia Carneiro, the former Defense Minister who now has a cabinet portfolio to eradicate extreme poverty in Venezuela. The deal was approved in Miraflores presidential palace, where Lopez Enriquez maintains an office.

Lopez Enriquez is just a straw man. Garcia Carneiro is someone else’s straw man too. Sources report that Lopez Enriquez is drawing a salary of Bs. 10 million a month from the Daily Journal. If he draws that much from El Diario de Caracas he’s earning over $100,000 a year combined from both newspapers at the official exchange rate for the Bolivar, and just slightly under $100,000 at the current free market rate.

The old independent Daily Journal had been languishing for years. However, the new Bolivarian Daily Journal is flush with revolutionary cash and was equipped immediately with new computers. "News bureaus” have already been opened in Bogota and Lima. Over the next several weeks, the Bolivarian Daily Journal also plans to open news bureaus in La Paz, Quito, Panama City and Mexico City. It’s possible that additional news bureaus will be opened in other Latin American and Caribbean countries (say, Havana?), and even in Washington, D.C.

The old independent Daily Journal had no circulation and no advertising, because the English-speaking expatriate community in Venezuela has shrunk drastically in the past decade; because several hundred thousand English-speaking Venezuelans have left the country; and because globalization, the Internet and the computer rendered the Daily Journal obsolete in terms of its appeal as a real-tim e news source. The new Bolivarian Daily Journal doesn’t care about circulation because independent journalism with integrity has been dumped and the new editorial focus is to serve as a hemispheric propaganda tool and English-language cheerleading section for the Chavez regime.

We know of two new “reporters” hired recently. Martin and Niko, we’ll call them by their first names. They can barely speak Spanish, and neither of them can write a decent paragraph. However, they think Hugo Chavez is a wonderful human being and the greatest thing in the world since Gameboy because, get this, “Chavez doesn’t like Bush and he helps the poor.”

Martin and Niko "por ahora" are the new stars of the Daily Journal's newsroom because they worship Chavez. Altruism should never be dismissed in this world of ours, but noble ideals do not excuse ignorance and denial of reality. As Forrest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does." The Bogota bureau chief, recently hired, is a hardcore leftist whose previous job was with El Tiempo in Bogota.

The impetus for all this is coming directly from Miraflores, meaning from Chavez or someone very close to the top, like Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel. The objective, clearly, is to project an English-language hardcore pro-Chavez, anti-U.S. message throughout Latin America, although the initial core focus is the Andean region, Panama and Mexico.

With ventures like Telesur and the Daily Journal, the Chavez regime (with a lot of advice from Havana and many U.S. and European leftists) is weaving a very sophisticated propaganda network with a hemispheric reach and an agenda to promote radical Marxist revolution, virulent anti-Americanism and hate-driven class divisions.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, appears to have its head up its ass. Pardon the crudity, but from where others are sitting throughout the region there doesn’t appear to be any other rational explanation for Washington’s fumbling foreign policy towards Venezuela and the rest of the region.

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