Extra! Extra! Nepotist writes speech, makes us splash it on the front page of his paper!


What do you call someone who makes the paper he edits run his own speeches as front-page news?

Il hacko di tutti i hacki?

Folks, El Nacional editor Miguel Henrique Otero doesn’t need reminding about his mom. He needs reminding about his dad, who’s doubtlessly spinning furiously underground as he watches his hack kid abuse the position he never would’ve gotten on his own merit to force his dull, dull speeches on us.

No hay derecho, vale.

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    • You know who says short things that make sense? My mom.

      Doesn’t make it to the front page of El Nacional thou.

    • The message is: my dad left me a newspaper so I’m entitled to run my mouth and have journalists treat it like it’s major news, even when spewing a bunch of comma-inducing oppo platitudes.

      He should be embarrassed…

    • Even Rupert Murdoch has the tact not to run a fawning account of a speech he made on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

    • As I recall (and I may be wrong), MOS’s dad paid for the original El Nacional infrastructure for his son to play with. Undoubtedly, MOS had the cerebral wherewithal (and, some would say, opportunist savvy as well as international help) to succeed.in this and other endeavors. It is abundantly clear that MHO is not MOS but neither is the national and international context the same. Sorry Quico but I feel very uncomfortable, indeed disappointed, with what reeks of the “bobolongo” black legend.

  1. Easy on the sake brother. MHO owns El Nacional, last time I checked, he can do with it whatever he pleases.

    What do you call someone who makes the paper he edits run his own speeches as front-page news?

    The same you call someone who uses his blog to berate those who do.

    • Great Alek! Why can’t I two thumbs up a comment? or 3? Best comment I’ve seen here in ages. (hey it’s nothing personal Quico. Alek is just correct).

      • you can start here: what Alek was doing was getting his SIMILE across.

        And in case you’re playing dumb all of a sudden, here’s a definition of simile to help you:
        “a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.”

        Seems to me, there was a time when bloggers were delusional about their prowess for capturing as many eyeballs as the mainstream media. Weren’t you one of those?

        I like to keep things honest and egos balanced.

      • Nah. He gets paid to write whatever he wants. You guys inspire comments for free. Plus he may control the “comments section” a bit better than you guys, thanks god.

  2. However, I was kind of expecting more from the Special Anniversary Edition. My mistake: it’s a rehash of their “Venezuela en Cifras” book from some 4 years ago, which was plagued with errors.

  3. I guess he would like to be able to do like Teodoro and build his paper around his opinions, the problem is he doesn’t have anything to say. No wonder Teodoro was banned as a source in El Nacional in the pre-chavez era, I wonder if that has changed since they are both “opposition”. That reminds me why I went into marketing after journalism school, I knew I would’t last two seconds after the editor announced that a source was not allowed because the owner hates him.

    Seriously that message belongs in the editorial area, no more, no less.

    • Agreed, he had the editorial column to play with. He is the editor, isn’t it?

      With the advantage that the editorial column would have forced him to be brief, to get to the point quickly, and to get his message across in half the words.

      Transcribing your own speeches reeks of narcissism. Once I got a pamphlet distributed by chavistas. I hoped to read something about the ALBA, or whatever. It was a transcription of a Chavez speech! Said pamphlet did not even become crap I show friends to laugh about, but to the picking odd bits around the house pile.

  4. I’m no fan of MHO, but, speaking of elites putting their money into their own country, as suggested in the Spanish blog by Raúl, the owners of El Nacional have more than enough money from other sources that they could have sold the paper and stop fighting (it seems the paper is losing lots of money, if you believe a certain Wikileaks cable). Whether we like it or not, MHO has become a relevant, if minor, opposition figure. And the reference to his mother is a political response to Mario Silva’s nauseating attack on her. As for MOS, I’m afraid you’re idealizing him. He ran El Nacional with a clearly political agenda, laid out in his daily “manchetas”. Not a yearly speech, mind you, but a daily micro-opinion piece by the director-owner of the paper.

    • Cal,

      I think Moraima has it right. When MOS said something, he had a reasonable right to expect people to be interested on it. The problem is MHO has NOTHING TO SAY. His speech is a concatanation of half-baked platitudes couched in a hilariously anachronistic historical parallel that just doesn’t make any sense. When somebody as dull as him makes a vanity-project out of a paper, how can you do anything but groan?

      It’s the wildly overblown ego that gets me. If he at least had the self-awareness to realize other people are better placed to make his arguments on his pages for him, you could at least respect it. But he hangs on to that Tarima tenaciously just to bore the tears out of the flunkies marched out to listen to him. It’s just painful.

      • Of course, MHO is way below his father in all respects, and made spectacular blunders like putting Alfredo Peña at the helm and supporting Chávez. But “he hangs on to that Tarima tenaciously”? Come on, it’s the paper’s birthday, once a year!
        Moreover, El Nacional, whatever its past mistakes, is far more than a “vanity project” for its readers; in fact, “other people” do make his, or rather their, arguments on his pages, and he and his family are paying the personal and financial price of staying in the country, keeping the fight against a ruthless enemy. (Oh, I’m afraid I’m drifting into an ad hominem attack on Francisco and other expats. Sorry.)

      • Does this make any sense to anyone reading these comments?
        “a concatanation of half-baked platitudes couched in a hilariously anachronistic historical parallel that just doesn’t make any sense”


    • I agree on MHO’s political response to his mother’s attacker.

      I agree on FT’s idealization of MOS and his known political agenda in El Nacional. Quico was likely too young to read this paper back when.

      I wonder where FT hides when he “can’t” perceive the personal agendas of most newspaper publishers, who decide on the positioning of whatever they want to publish.

      If FT gets in a snit over MHO’s boring self-aggrandizement as published in MHO’s own paper, then how do interpret FT’s personalized rants (and there have been doozies – this I know) in his own blog?

      Methinks he doth protest too much.

  5. Let me tell you a story.

    Some years ago, maybe five, the people from El Nacional went to the Book Fair in Mérida to promote their book collection. There he was and a bunch of really nice dressed people, including some Marialejandralopezesque ladies in nice cocktail suits. They were talking loudly about a poetry reading that would come later when one of the ladies says “What is a dervish? Sounds like fetish” and giggles. No one there could reply to her question. There, the cultural intelligentsia of Venezuela, together, around 250 years of literacy, and none of them knew that word. Of course, Derviche is not a common word, but you’d expect more literacy and richness of vocabulary from people that edit a newspaper. My conclusion: they were a bunch of frauds. The poetry reading happened, and as she recited about the gyrovague dervish, I smiled as I knew she was clueless about what she was reading.

    I had not seen MHO’s face, and I asked an older friend of mine, “Who’s that guy”? He replied: “He?. He’s the son of his father. That’s all you need to know”

    • Your book collection story reminded me of two marialejandralopez incidents, long, long ago.

      In one, MAL name dropped the books she was reading and one or two characters in those books. The recitation did not fool my dad who later commented ‘en famille’ that MAL, not known for being well schooled and for buying ‘libros por metro’, likely memorized the outline of the books in Reader’s Digest.

      In another, I found myself among several MALs who were in a gossip frenzy. I remember wanting to raise the level of conversation to somethinga little more enlightening, without being too heavy. As soon as I opened my ‘piquito’, I got a dirty look from a prima, as if to say,don’t go there dammit. But it was too late. The hush was palpable. There was no one at home. And I longed to get back to northern latitudes so that I could once again enjoy the freedom of thought, well outside Equipothink.

    • Venezuela was the last country that got the printing press among Spanish American countries. Venezuela got its first university CENTURIES after Mexico or Peru. It shows (although it didn’t have to be like that, see South Korea).

      Again: Alexander von Humboldt made some remarks about the reading habits of the Venezuelan “elite” of his time.

      He was particularly amused by the books Venezuelan high society told him anyone had to read. It really started out very badly in Venezuela and it ain’t getting no better.

  6. Well, if the ladies did not know their derviches from their ceviches from their fetiches, is not MHO’s fault. But there is a larger point here: anybody can become intellectually famous overnight. Cronyism then and polarisation today can help you soar. And you get some legitimate gems (Colette Capriles, Edgardo Mondolfi, Elsa Cardozo) thrown in with some half-bakes buddies… However, is it still a relevant newpaper? Does it inform or shape public opinion? I don’t know for sure: Venezuela has indeed changed: in my building very few people are journal readers (I am an electronic subscriber, and only buy the Sunday edition (papers can com in handy) and mostly I see a couple of old ladies buying VEA.

    But if I got the chance to write for El Nacional (Disclaimer: I did, as a “nueva firma” a decade ago), I would not pass it. I’d prefer El Universal, though.

    • I did Nuevas Firmas too! Twice, actually.
      And it is not MHO’s fault, of course, but it says a lot of the Venezuelan cultural elite.

      I was telling the story because it was a bit of independent confirmation of Quico’s point, IMHO. But, OTOH, my friend writes for El Universal. When I used to read both, I remember El universal being less receptive to readers and more right wingish. But I was very different then in my politics.

      • I can agree about Venezuelans’ cultural “elite”. Actually: if that is our elite, no wonder.

        There is one point I want to make taking over what Setty wrote in Miguel’s blog:


        Did he mean desplazar al gobierno DE TURNO?
        desplazar al gobierno ACTUAL?
        Si el gobierno es desplazado del poder, ¿quién queda en el poder para gobernar? ¿La prensa? ¿El invisible pueblo?

        That thing really sounded very clumsy, to put it mildly…and a journalist should know better.

        Ages ago, when Arturo Úslar Pietri was writing for El Nacional, I would go for El Nacional above the others in Venezuela.
        Those were the times when I could walk from Plaza Venezuela to Chacaíto without any fear at night. Do you remember? No, it was not during Pérez Jiménez times.

        • what is “conservative” in Venezuela?
          This is a serious question. Perhaps I am too disconnected now, but other than some believe for “family values” and a poster of the pope and a closer relationship with the Catholic church (or another), perhaps trying to avoid premarital sex (at least trying); I seriously don’t see what’s the difference between Copeyanoid cultures and Adecoid ones. OK, an Adeco may use the word “anti-imperialistic” once CHávez is gone.

          • I heard they wanted to put an Opus Dei retreat house on Ground Zero. GASP!!!!

            (Opus-Hating, the last reduct of socially acceptable religious-bigotry in the bon pensant left.)

          • So what? That is an utterly reactionary organization.
            The right club for those in the right wanting to think they are part of some very exclusive elite.
            Mortification? Not very distinct from Shia’s masoquistic practices.
            Their rites to numb the mind while feeling by doing so to be part of a select group,
            the ones I have met in Venezuela and I was able to talk to were utterly reactionary when it came to social issues, to their interpretation of religious scripts, to sex and birth control.

          • So, Juan, are you Opus Dei member or a relative of yours?
            The Catholic church – no isolated priests- has been particularly reactionary when it comes to birth control (see the latest “big steps” from Ratzinger after so long…Geez) and Opus Dei has been supportive in that.
            Whether you practice the norms or not: they are norms and they are of the most brainwashing nature one can find, pretty much like the traditional or extremist forms of Islam or some foms of evangelical churches.
            And no, I haven’t read Brown’s books. I pretty much met real Opus dei people in Venezuela and could see their opinions on quite some aspects of life;

            This has nothing to do with right or left, at least outside North America. I’m as critical as other forms of religious or political rigidity and extremism

          • Not that it’s any of your business, but yeah, my mother. I guess I’m an hijo de r in your eyes.

            By the way, I would encourage you to practice a little bit of tolerance toward others who think differently from you.

          • I can certify that Juan Nagel is a very normal bloke who loves his family very much, and that whatever poli-religious stripe his mother might have been is completely irrelevant. Furthermore, any possiblity that that stripe might be handed down is nixed by the religious irreverence from Katy. So there.

          • You are right, Kepler. in the sixtiies and early seventies and even more recently, “conservative” meant nothing. “Right” (de derecha) and “left” (de izquierda) were the common currency way back then, and neither necessarily excluded “anti-imperialism”, a term stamped on AD’s birth certificate. In a gross exaggeration, “right” = Fedecamaras, “left” = FALN.
            Opus Dei emerged as an issue later and, if I recall correctly, Calvani had no part of it — he was a social christian as vs. demochristian, was loathe to join Copei and quietly opposed Opus Dei oterwise valuable figures like Pepe Rodriguez Iturbe. I am. however,
            willing to stand corrected because I’m not a copeianologa.
            Back to your valid point, I have no idea what “conservative” may mean today in a country split between Chavists and Oppos of all shades and colors.

        • And very straightforward about it.
          MOS was more guabinoso or, if you will, savvy: “un tirito al gobierno, un tirito a la revolución”. The trouble with MHO is that he flip-flopped. May have been wholehearted, may be boring but, either way, lacks credibility.

  7. 100% with you, Quico. Never forget that Bobolongo is partially responsible for portraying HCh as a somewhat presentable candidate. Not that he was the only stupid out there that voted for him, but with such a politically-uneducated middle class it wasn’t difficult to create such a mess with so little editorial talent.

  8. I´m wondering why so many of the recent posts have degenerated into personal comments and categorical generalizations.

    Though I am not a Catholic, not even remotely religious and reject all brands of extremism, I have reason to doubt that all Opus Dei types fit into the extremist category.. (e.g., Pérez Olivares?) Are some of you thinking of TFP (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradici%C3%B3n,_Familia_y_Propiedad)?

    Kepler´s question re. the meaning of “conservative” in Venezuela, past and present, albeit not original, was worth debating, Maybe now more than ever, with the new Fedecamaras board of directors. I, and i suspect that many others, couldn´t care less whether Juan´s mother is or was Opus Dei. Irrelevant, like calling MHO “bobolicon” and my own smearish comments re. MOS and, had I gotten that far, AUP.

    Please: one La Hojilla is already one too many.


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