Danilogate Fails to Crack Gringo Media

Venezuela may be up in arms about the Danilo Anderson case, but the English language media has met the story with a collective yawn. Out of curiousity, I just did a Google News search for “Danilo Anderson”. Every story the search yields is from a Venezuela based organization – the DJ, Petroleumworld, (which picked up my highly compressed summary – thanks!) VHeadline, and, of course, Prensa Latina, which more or less counts as Venezuelan by now.

The AP and Reuters wrote a single story each when the first arrests were made and haven’t touched it since.

It’s strange, the way a story can utterly dominate the Venezuelan press with nary a ripple making it through to English-language readers. In a way it’s understandable – Danilogate is too convoluted even for many Venezuelans to understand, so I can well imagine the trouble foreign journos would face in trying to sell it to editors back home. I see the general silence as a function of the tyranny of the 800-word limit – there’s no way to explain what happened briefly, so gringo papers just won’t run with it.

Still, they’re missing a great yarn – L’Affaire Danilo just keeps getting more and more bizarre. Yesterday, El Tiempo, a Bogota Daily, reported that Geovanny Vasquez de Armas, the prosecution’s one and only witness, has been in and out of court in Colombia since 1996 on fraud and impersonation charges.

Deliciously, back in 1999 he was convicted to 36 months in jail for impersonating a psychiatrist. Recall that three days ago Isaias tried to puff up the guy’s credibility saying “hey, he’s a psychiatrist!”

But there’s much much more where that came from. Vasquez de Armas got busted in Colombia for faking a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and for faking claims that he was accredited by the FBI and other US authorities as a forensic scientist. In total, Isaias’s supergrass has been accused of fraud and related charges seven times in Colombia. Just for good measure, he told Colombian police he was fluent in German – another howler.

As Teodoro pointed out in Tal Cual yesterday, the truly silly thing is that the Venezuelan Prosecutors apparently failed to conduct any kind of background check on the guy they planned to hang their whole indictment on. Curioser and curioser…