Regarding Henry

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Ramos-Allup(Disclaimer: A few weeks ago, AD leader Henry Ramos Allup wrote a stinging op-ed claiming that some overseas bloggers were supposedly part of a “disgusting dirty war laboratory” looking to defame certain sectors of the opposition. The whole thing is demeaning – full of baseless allegations, innuendo, and even homophobic slurs. Without naming them, we all knew he was referring in part to Alek Boyd, the editor of Infodio.com.

Caracas Chronicles has been loath to delve into the whole Derwick-Diosdado-opposition saga – it’s just not the type of thing we do. We have been monitoring the story, but we prefer to leave the writing on this topic to pros such as Setty, or even mystery writers such as Tomás Lander.

What we do care about is accountability inside the opposition. In that vein, a few days ago Thor Halvorssen wrote a scathing rebuttal to Henry Ramos Allup that caused quite a stir. Halvorssen brings Ramos to task for his allegedly close links to the revolution’s most unsavory characters. 

What follows is an English-language translation of the letter sent to me by a reader, including links to several of its claims.

Ultimately, what matters about all of this is that the opposition needs to come clean about its relationship with the bolibourgoisie. There are serious concerns about the commitment of certain people inside the opposition to what should be the common cause. These need to be discussed out in the open. 

Let’s hope at some point Mr. Ramos Allup responds to these incredibly damaging allegations.)

Dear Henry,

I finally received a copy of the “report” that you refer to in your article in Nuevo País, “Laboratorio Sucio,” (“Dirty Laboratory”) published last month. First of all, I must express my surprise because the report-pamphlet clearly includes you as one of its sources given that in its first page there is a [blackberry] PIN message that I sent you via PIN along with your response to me. I note with amusement that you failed to include our entire correspondence.

The “dossier” that you made reference to in your article is made up of information that had already been published months ago and comes solely from three sources that lack any form of credibility and whose authors are those in charge of setting up the trumped-up criminal cases against opposition leaders in Venezuela: (1) A pro-Maduro blogger named Orlando Romero Harrington, who recycles content that has been repeated ad nauseam by the propagandists of the Cuban and Venezuelan dictatorships Jean-Guy Allard and Eva Golinger; (2) The articles of Primicias24, a website that devotes itself to the defense of the owners of Derwick Associates and which mercilessly attacks the perceived enemies of this company – following the direct orders of Derwick shareholder Francisco Convit-Guruceaga; and (3) Venezuela’s SEBIN and CICPC, in other words, the regime’s political police. I invite you to google the phrases from this pamphlet you’re promoting and you’ll see that its information was obtained from sources that have no credibility whatsoever. In other words, it is a weak pathetic farce that is anything but serious and consists of a cut-and-paste job from Primicias24, the pro-government blogger, and other sources in order to make a pamphleteering mishmash.

Since I am without a doubt one of the people you refer to in your article, I must also express my disgust and outrage -but also my surprise- that in this case calls for an explanation. And I say surprise because it is hard to believe that a serious politician like you, a long-time parliamentarian with a respectable career characterized for its fight against corruption, would write those things in Nuevo País without presenting any names, a shred of evidence, or arguments of any kind, and without admitting that you took part in the production of said smear. Your article is outrageous, but at the same time terribly dismaying because it revealed how you were capable of sinking to the lowest level in your quest to defend the indefensible while shamelessly ignoring the realities that, unlike what you describe, are self-evident and do not get published in any bought-off media outlet and that aren’t included in any opinion pieces subservient to special interests; but instead are realities that take place in courts of law in the United States –courts that, as you may well know, obey the rule of law and not economic or political interests, as is regrettably the case in our country.

Something particularly noteworthy is the fervor with which you characterize a strictly legal matter as a defamatory “dirty war”; a matter that due to its magnitude should have been addressed by the nation’s political leaders (both in the government and the opposition) and especially by you, but sadly, it has not even been mentioned. What you call “laboratories” in civilized and democratic countries they called journalism, public opinion, commentary in social media, and legal briefs. In my particular situation it is the court case “Halvorssen v. Betancourt-Lopez, Trebbau-López, Derwick Associates, D’Agostino-Casado, et al”. It is significant that your article mentions “the blood ties between laboratory agents and Venezuelan politicians.” Henry, although Leopoldo López Mendoza is my first cousin, that does not discredit him nor does it discredit me considering we don’t have a single business deal or project in common beyond our shared devotion to the cause of democracy and the defense of human rights.

On the other hand, you remain silent regarding your brother-in-law Francisco D’Agostino-Casado, someone who has been sued multiple times and stands accused of bribing Diosdado Cabello with many millions of dollars and committing fraud in power plant contracts. The truth is that for more than fifteen months you have been ignoring manifold questions from thousands of Venezuelans on social media and even from CNN regarding Derwick Associates and the ten contracts awarded by the Venezuelan government to this company that had no prior experience in the construction of electrical power plants. This same company has your relative D’Agostino as a shareholder. Surely you are aware of this situation. When you were denouncing corruption in the 1980s you used to end your published newspaper advertisements with the phrase: “silence gives consent.”

Maybe you should clarify if the discrediting done in your article is directed at those of us who have denounced the corruption of Derwick Associates, or if such accusations really do not matter to the wing of the MUD [the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable] of which you are part of and therefore it makes us MUDs detractors. Furthermore, you have never mentioned that the fact that the former Deputy Executive Secretary of the MUD and co-promoter of the pamphlet, Ramón José Medina, is also a principal Director of the Banco Occidental de Descuento, whose owner, Víctor Vargas Irasquín, is known worldwide as chavismo’s banker. It is in the BOD where the chavista government keeps most of its deposits, according to Sudeban [Venezuelan banking authority]. Isn’t it odd that your former MUD colleague Medina is employed by Vargas, the banker of chavismo? I suppose that, given that your brother-in-law Francisco D’Agostino is Vargas’ own son-in-law, it means this is an unmentionable topic for Accion Democratica [the Venezuelan labor party] and inside the MUD. Your frenzied attitude of accusing everyone prevents you from looking at those you have around you. I vividly remember your fight against corruption between 1980 and 2007. Where is that Henry Ramos Allup? What happened to him? Did he get lost arriving in Miami this past Christmas as a passenger in the Derwick’s shareholder’s private jet?

I want to make it very clear that Alek Boyd is neither my associate nor my colleague. More than five years ago he worked for the Human Rights Foundation where he did an excellent job that included valuable research regarding the use of “communal justice” in Bolivia and the danger that poses to due process. Since then, Boyd has been working as an investigative journalist and writes for the Spanish newspaper El País. You said that Boyd and his mother are “drug traffickers” and you wrote to me that he is “a fugitive of the Venezuelan justice system for the crimes of drug trafficking, grand theft auto, accusations of rape and assault, and there is a court order for his arrest.” You are wrong and it is careless and ignorant to not even check if these accusations are true. Couldn’t you do some fact-checking before making such severe accusations? The pamphlet of course, says that Boyd’s mother is wanted recently in Spain for drug trafficking. Henry, the poor woman died from cancer in 1983 during president Jaime Lusinchi’s administration. I urge you to consider how repeating all these easily verifiable falsehoods makes you look. The pamphlet said, for instance, that the organization I founded and currently lead, the Human Rights Foundation, is “financed by the NED (National Endowment for Democracy)”, something demonstrably false, since both HRF and the NED make our programs and benefactors public and there is no relationship between us at any level. At my request, even Mr. Carl Gershman, a highly respected man in the United States and the president of the NED, had the kindness of sending me a letter where it is clearly stated that we have never received a cent, neither directly nor indirectly, from the NED.

I would also like to make it very clear that Alek Boyd, who in the pamphlet is accused of being my “gay partner” is not, given that we are not compatible in that respect and our relationship was always strictly professional. However, even if we were, why would that matter, Henry? It is disgraceful that the Secretary General of what was the most prominent Venezuelan political party of the 20th century – the one that made Dr. Gonzalo Barrios its candidate and nearly the president of the nation, would in this new century present same-sex relationships as ignominious in what is a deeply homophobic and hypocritical exercise, especially considering you told the media on August 19, 2013: “A psychiatrist once told me that homophobes were repressed homosexuals, that with these attitudes they wanted to dilute any suspicion of their own homosexuality, because they are ashamed of their condition.” What would you say to Gonzalo Barrios, the founder of your party Henry? What would he say about you?

Finally, I would like to put on record my unwavering democratic conviction that has made me a critic and opponent of the Venezuelan regime for almost 15 years, and my public and well-known association to the noblest causes of humanity as a human rights advocate at the foundation I lead. Our organization publishes its list of donors on a yearly basis and its board of directors include Soviet dissident and writer Vladimir Bukovsky, chess world champion and democracy activist Garry Kasparov (who serves as board chairman since 2012), journalist and writer Álvaro Vargas Llosa, writer and Nazi concentration camp survivor Elie Wiesel, former Prime Minister of Estonia Mart Laar, and Chinese democracy activist Harry Wu. The poet, former political prisoner, activist, human rights defender and first president of the Czech Republic (1993-2003), Václav Havel, also formed part and chaired HRF’s board until his death in 2012.

All of this has taught me not to lose sight of my horizons, much less those of my family. Henry, I am not afraid of you or your banker, cadivisita, bolichico and enchufado relatives. I will battle against them until justice is done in American courts and until the day comes that the courts in our country are once again arenas of justice and due process. For now, I rebuke your participation in the production of this report and your partaking in its promotion, and I express my disappointment and surprise at how careless you have been, repeating falsehoods that are so easily debunked. It is never too late to set things right.

I hope this sheds some light on any doubts and makes clear where you stand (and with whom).

Thor Halvorssen Mendoza

@thorhalvorssen

NO COMMENTS

  1. That’s what my momma would call a royal “fisking.” I think the bones of Ramos’s ancestors are feeling it. Ouch. If what the letter says is true he should resign immediately.

  2. I have just finished taken a quick gander at the link you have in your intro at Scribd. http://www.scribd.com/tomaslander It’s breathtaking. Why is this not the subject of a major investigative journalism piece? There appears to be enough on that page to put these guys Alek Betancourt and Pedro Trebbau behind bars. Highway robbery in broad daylight.

    But I don’t understand Halvorssen’s involvement in all of this. he has a human rights organization. Why does he write an open letter to Ramos? How is he a part of this Derwick mess? What am I missing?

    • I believe he has been pointed at from his relationship with Alek Boyd also a very well informed investigation journalist that has published a full report on Darwik Asc. Read http://infodio.com/ and you will understand why.

    • Gumersindo, these are good questions. In order:

      It’s not the subject of a major investigative piece because everyone who starts to write about these guys gets subjected to a frustrating, time-consuming, and at times infuriating wall of attempts to buy us off, legal harassment, online harassment (just today, Alek is facing another batch of fake Twitter profiles falsely accusing him of being a pedophile), and for those few who keep it up, a threat against one’s children. All of this happens in parallel with quiet pressure by PR agencies saying “there’s no story here” and “this is all just a family squabble.” Even the well-lawyered and well-remunerated people at Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and other media that have poked around on this story haven’t ended up publishing what they learn. Of course, deciding to save the hassle by not publishing — that’s pretty understandable, given how nobody cares about this stuff. By caring, you are a strange person.

      Halvorssen’s situation is best explained in his own (lawyers’) words. You can read the whole lawsuit and Alek’s short take on it here. To give the briefest version, Halvorssen got wrapped up in this when he lost his writing gigs for Huffington Post and Forbes. He claims Derwick Associates got him fired from those gigs when they told people at those publications that he was an agent in a defamation campaign. He sued Derwick for libel, interference with contract, and civil conspiracy. The juiciest part of his lawsuit — a part that hasn’t yet been tested in court, but boy am I looking forward to when it is — is paragraph 68, where he says “One or more former employees have confirmed that Derwick offered kickbacks numbering in at least the tens of millions of dollars to one or more Venezuelan officials, including a $50,000,000.00 payment to Diosdado Cabello-Rondon, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela.”

      (He also wraps Banesco into the story, saying the payment was made to an account at Banesco in Panama; those of us who have followed the story will remember that when someone started an online defamation campaign against me, the Twitter profiles used to promote it had previously been used only to promote Banesco.)

      As for putting these guys behind bars, there have been occasional flurries of interest in these guys from US law enforcement agencies, but it hasn’t led to anything. There is evidence that Venezuelan authorities actively protect them.

      • This is a scheme as old as the Republic. To paraphrase al old saying: Money corrupts and absolute money corrupts absolutely.

        The scheme goes as follows:

        1. Corrupt Politician with access to purse strings partners with corrupt contractor. 2. The project is assigned to said contractor without any bidding. 3. Contractor submit agreed upon contract with highly inflated prices that cover actual project, or not, plus a percentage kickback for politician and contractor. 4. Corrupt politician approves contract and the wheels set motion for grand theft in a galactic scale.

        How else do you explain that the richest men in Venezuela and around the world are usually Venezuelan politicians and business men with connections in Venezuela? We keep hearing that Florida is now the home to several TRILLION dollars of ill gotten wealth from Venezuela. The scandal is likely bigger that anyone of us would ever suspect. The amount of moneys are certainly obscene. The people involved will do anything necessary to protect it. The protection in kind is provided by the corrupt politician to benefit from the scheme.

        • Maybe several billion. Maybe. Definitely not trillion. The entire Venezuela oil boom 1999-2010 was less than a trillion dollars. Not all of it was stolen, and even if it had been, it would have required some very lucky investing to turn that money into several trillion.

          As usual, the truth is horrendous, but people aren’t satisfied with the truth, and need to make ridiculous exaggerations that only serve to make the real scale of the problem seem moderate.

  3. One day, when all the dust settles, this is all going to make a great book. For now though, I am just sickened by depths of the corruption and filled with despair for for the future of Venezuela. When one asks, “Why can the Opposition not get its act together?”, this is the answer.

  4. Why is anybody surprised about Ramos Allup and please don’t be fooled he will weather the storm and remain as head of AD!!; we forget who he is remember Wikileaks and all the reports about AD and Ramos? pleas check this link and you will remember who this guy is http://haddensecurity.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/venezuela-ramos-allup-desnudado-por-wikileaks/
    These guys are the guys that got is in all the trouble we are in Venezuela in the first place.

  5. Fairly recently you asked me why I chose to leave my country of birth, Venezuela, back in the mid seventies never to return from perpetual exile. This story you write about today, Dear Juan, provides you with the answer. I always suspected this would come to pass in our county. I felt it was easier to follow a different path and study abroad.

    Although, It is highly probable that this writing will make you react with striking fear, I am still inclined to offer you a way to begin to understand the chaos that Venezuela has become. There is no doubt whatsoever in my Mind that “The Rules of Chaos” and “The War Against Yourself” are the reason for all the angst in all of us who favor reasoned and thoughtful and learned discussion over low brow smear attacks and why I think we are in such despair over the present conditions in Venezuela.

    There is a book “ACIM” that I have been reading and studying for many years now. In it you will find Chapter 23. The title of chapter 23 is “The War Against Yourself” and subchapter II titled “The Laws of Chaos” It is unnecessary for me to parrot it here. It is best when read in quiet meditation.

    The logic is hard to follow at first because you must first suspend your Ego to be able to follow it. It will require a thought reversal process that is hard to do. Your Ego will try very hard to make you throw the book into a pit of fire, and I hope you will be able to suspend that emotion. If the word God upsets you, then read Universe instead. There is a confluence taking place today between Theology and Quantum Physics. ACIM will give you the theological answers you need to really make sense of it all.

    Here is the abbreviated answer: Our Minds are indistinguishable from the Mind that created all that is and we forgot. Friend and foe, we are all One.

    Love is.

  6. Que asco de persona es HRA. Y pensar que por un tiempo le di el beneficio de la duda a pesar de ser adeco. Con razón los chavistas no lo tocan ni con el pétalo de una rosa.

  7. Bravo for Juan, Alek, and Thor!! HRA is well-known for what he is for some time now, and, yes, unfortunately, he will survive (in the cracks).

  8. Que vaina tan buena esta! La traducción buena pero la original is a real keeper. As we say here–le dieron a Ramos hasta con el tobo, debajo de la lengua, detrás de las orejas, y en el blanco de los ojos! But who is Halvorssen and why haven’t I read about him before? He has a lengthy Wikipedia page and seems to write in a lot of different outlets but I’m only now realizing he sued Derwick. Why has this lawsuit not had the relevance given the paragraph Setty mentions? The allegations are believable. And the accuser appears to have clean hands. What’s with the media blackout? Surely the Bolichicos don’t have that much power, no? And why do people think Boyd is gay and that he is Halvorssen’s partner? I has no idea that Gonzalo Barrios was gay. But Halvorssen’s subtlety obviously wasn’t clear enough for some…. This whole thing is like an improved version of a soap opera. Victor Vargas?! Nobody messes with him. This is gutsy

    • Remember his father was an influential guy in both of CAPs governments. Thor Halvorssen Sr was also acussed (framed) for the famous sobre bomba affair

      • Pedro, am I lost in time? I thought the one involved with Ramiro Helmeyer in the bombing at the CCCT parking lot was young Halvorssen. I know Halvorssen Sr. at one time was CEO of CANTV when it was a private company.

        • Edmundo: The Halvorsen officially accused of participating in the Helmeyer bombing was the elderly Mr. Halvorsen who at another time had been CANTV President during CAP’s administration , Also involved in another unsavory incident was a different son of the elderly Mr Halvorsen who was indicted for his involvement in the famous Petrospy case in Pdvsa . Helmeyer was also accused of killing a person by throwing him to the sea from a flying helicopter. Much scandal has been attached to the Halverson family name in the past in this and in other cases , giving rise to legal muddles where the people were accused of things which later got forgotten or the Venezuelan tribunals ended up by filing or dropping .

          • Bill, for the record and for the avoidance of doubt: at no time was my father ever charged with any crime whatsoever. And in the CCCT car-bomb case how could they? It was impossible given the lack of any evidence. He was arrested by the PTJ, sent to the Reten de Catia, and in violation of the law kept under arrest for almost three months until the stench of the case was such (including involvement by Amnesty International, a handful of other human rights groups, and numerous international law enforcement figues of unimpeachable standing) that the incoming government of Rafael Caldera did not want to be tarred with that brush.

            No formal charges were ever presented by any prosecutor. Ever. The only judicial paperwork in that case involved a pre-trial detention order paid for by Orlando Castro and Gustavo Gomez-Lopez. Saying any different with regard to the legal matters in that case gives the impression that perhaps, maybe, who knows, it’s possible… and that there might be some truth to the accusations. No charges. Ever. Got it? Do you know the context of his arrest? Before posting such things you should do a little fact-checking.

            As for my brother, you are categorically mistaken regarding any criminal charge against him for PDVSA on any “petrospy” case. Again, do a little research. As for your comment “much scandal has been attached to the Halverson [sic] family name in the past in this and in other cases.” If you are going to tell whoppers like those above expect to be challenged. There is no doubt that my father was maligned, twenty years ago, by a group of bankers and money launderers. But let’s separate facts from opinions and stop regurgitating whatever you found online in a cursory 5-minute google search, shall we? As for me, yes, I am oft-maligned, ususally by paid PR agents of shady “businessmen” like those at Derwick Associates or by apologists allied with dictatorships in faraway places that use the same silly tools they used against my father: “he’s a CIA agent, he’s got hidden motives, he is related to Leopoldo Lopez, and so on.” Good luck with that.

          • Dear Mr Holverson , please accept my apologies regarding your father , I evidently was misinformed , I know enough of the Venezuelan Justice System to understand that being indicted or accused or let free has nothing to do with the truth of the matter . Our penal system is very corrupt and contrary to what is the case in the US ultimately being indicted or condemned or let go is proof of nothing .

            Regarding your brother , there was a lot of information gathered by Pdvsa’s own investigation team that maybe found or didnt find its way to the tribunals , from people who did have access to that information and whom I personally trust I have it that there were grounds to believe that your brother was involved in the case, Our criminal system being what it is , that might or might not have translated into a formal indictment . There was no reason for people doing the investigation from Pdvsa to name your brother if he had nothing to do with the case. Being your brother of course means that your are naturally inclined to support him in his legal difficulties . which is of course the noble thing to do.!! I accept you suggestion that we maintain an open mind on the matter.

            Be it as it may whatever the truth or falsehood of what has been said about your father and brother in the past ,it has no bearing on the truth and correctness of you brave posture as a defender of the human rights of Venezuelans and our condemnation of the persecution which has been made against you by people close to the regime for bravely exposing their misdeeds. In this regard you deserve nothing but our sympathy. We wish you well on your ongoing litigation .

            Do note that in my past note I made no accusations , I simply repeated thing which I remembered hearing or reading from others in the past and which in the circle of my acquaintances was actively commented. In doing so I have helped you address these issues with your own view of them before others unsympatetic to you could use them to attempt fraudently to discredit your current efforts .

          • Mr Halverson : One again my apologies , in my previous note when I referred to your brother the presumed petrospy I was really referring to your uncle Olaf . the brother of your deceased father .!!

          • That’s very interesting about Olaf. I hope more information comes out on that subject. Too late for that? I hope not.
            Justice for everyone.
            Thanks for your input, Bill.

          • I see you take great care of your public image, with shiny photos and a slightly over-the-top profile in Wikipedia, yet, please allow me to tell you, you don’t come out as a human rights hero.

            I would advise you change your PR operation. You should contact the Yousafzai family, they are rather better at looking the part than you are.

            And what happended to Helmeyer anyway? Was he found guilty in the end? Anyone knows?

          • Thor, with all due respect, shut the fuck up. You don’t want others spilling the beans do you? You are very effective and I respect you but you are no angel and your past is well known.

          • Thor, why are you so concerned with defending all of these supposedly shallow accusations? I mean, Henry Ramos Allup writes an essay about how your entire family is composed of homosexuals and you can’t restrain yourself. Even Bill here doesn’t get spared and he’s just a random internet person.

  9. @AlekBoyd tiene una cruzada desde hace años contra la corrupcion dentro del high class caraqueño. Desde los tiempos de mi bisabuelo esa cruzada ha sido imposible de llevar a cabo. Demasiada plata y demasiado poder… Aqui TODOS (me refiero a class alta y a oposicion) tienen las manos sucias de guiso! No se salva nadie…

  10. “Ultimately, what matters about all of this is that the opposition needs to come clean about its relationship with the bolibourgoisie. There are serious concerns about the commitment of certain people inside the opposition to what should be the common cause. These need to be discussed out in the open.

    Let’s hope at some point Mr. Ramos Allup responds to these incredibly damaging allegations.)”

    Rather than poke and wait for HRA to respond, why not push for the MUD to excommunicate him and Medina? How can the MUD expect to be taken seriously when having one of their main figures so far in bed with bolichicos?

    • “How can the MUD expect to be taken seriously when having one of their main figures so far in bed with bolichicos?”

      Wait what?! Does this mean that LL/VP is the only decent answer?

      Thank you CC for forming my political views. 🙂

      I feel so free I might just ironically wear a burka.

  11. On Halvorssen the Elder I found this:
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/obituaries/article1976519.html

    On Halvorssen the Younger I found this:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/is-this-the-face-of-a-new-global-human-rights-movement?s=mobile

    I read these two narratives of father and son with their intrigue and high-level relationships and lofty ideals (humanitarianism for days, in both cases) and I have to laugh at the idea of this young guy Thor who is sitting down with the world’s top dissidents writing an open letter to a swamp creature like Ramos Allup. Does anyone here remember the Wikileaks comments about Ramos? He was portrayed as a repellent insect. It doesn’t surprise me that he married into the D’Agostino clan (in my house we called them “Langostino” given what bottom-feeding critters they all are…been stealing from Venezuela since the 1970s!).

    Has “Dear Henry” responded?

  12. Here you have an interesting video where the Halvorssen family speaks to a Norwegian journalist.
    You can also see Carlos Andrés Pérez in his last days.

    The documentary is in Norwegian

    but you can hear a little bit of English here and there

    Thanks to Stig for sharing this.

      • Well, that was rubbish, but there were some details about some of the topics discussed above on the bankers and such, only that mixed between Norwegian and English. T. Senior gave some details about who – according to him – got him in prison etc

      • And yes, the Spears thing was really really terrible. But then Venezuelans in Florida do have a hang for those things, don’t they? Miami ain’t Athens in its Golden Age (Kepler running for cover)

      • Agree, ErneX. While CC inhibits links from displaying in their original format, I was surprised that the YouTube feature with that hey-look-at-me-aren’t-I-hip Alex Rosén was relatively recent (2011). I would have thought that Thor Halvorssen, who grew up surrounded by a heady mix of business and politics, would have known not to use a shotgun approach to his marketing tie-in. Meaning, I thought TH would have had the savvy to narrow his focus to a media personality with at least one byte demonstrating an awareness of human rights, however phoney and self-serving that awareness might be. Maybe Madonna was already booked, and all that was left was Ooops-I-did-it-again.

        Still, you can’t fault TH for trying. I just wish there was a way for TH to build on his admirable efforts without so much drawing of attention towards him and his need for retribution in order to heal his family’s surname. Maybe the efforts need more time to marinate. I wish him well — and his mother, Hilda.

        • Alex Rosén has one of the most viewed and interesting shows on NRK (our state broadcaster). Not showing for him would be like turning down an invitation to be at the top of Norwegian media establishment. Alex Rosén is a clown and everyone knows it and that is why we love him but you’re missing a lot and being unfair here. This young man has done a remarkably important jobber in Norway of bringing human rights to the attention of peoples young and old. More than anyone before him he has done this for years with the Freedoms Forum. and this has shaped foreign policy of current Right government and impacting hard the Labor government. Especially on matters of your country Venezuela that most Norwegians were happy to support Chaviztas. Then Halvorssens has brought Leopoldo Lopez, Humberto Pradi, Marcel Granier, Diego Scharifker, Diego Arria, Julio Borges, to speak to norway and give us different views. and that’s just from venezuela not to be included are more than 100 human rights defenders from others. I can see why your country suffers so–you all lack solidarity and wants to attack someone who is sacrificing and trying to do good while also being attacked. what have you done? the comments here in this blog are nasty and cruel. is this what venezuela is like? no wonder Halvorssens come to Norway.

          • I think I’m beginning to get it. In that Norway has the biggest Britney Spears fan club in Europe (and BS finally made it to Norway in 2014 to promote her lingerie line), Halvorssen was perhaps soliciting BS in 2011, as the entertainment to a presentation of Human Rights through his foundation. I guess (young) Norwegians need a spoonful of saccharine with their education on Human Rights.

            se me cayó la cédula.

        • Sverre, since you have directed your defense of Alex Rosén and Thor Halvorssen to me, I will try to reply. First, you misunderstood my comment on CC not displaying the link of Alex Rosén’s interview in its original youtube format. For when I went to the original source, I came across the year the interview was made. And that surprised me. For in 2011, I expected Halvorssen to have more savvy than to tie in the marketing of Human Rigihts, using Britney Spears. Doing so, and the fallout was embarrassing, as noted by a few others, which you have preferred not to notice.

          Unlike young, rose-petalled Norwegians who live in an ideal world, or so it would seem, I prefer to view human nature with a more jaded eye. That optic includes those who enter or are on the fringes of politics (and let’s face it, selling human rights is part of that). I also maintain a healthy skepticism of those who seek the limelight, no matter how lofty may be their goals, especially those who can’t stop talking about themselves, rather than focusing on the work. You see, my young Sveree, I am not as idealistic as you are or millions of Norwegians. And rather than close my eyes because the world is just too nasty and cruel, I prefer to expand my sights and reading material. That includes the recent rebuttal from the politician Henry Ramos Allup to Thor Halvorseen, to whom you can give my regards.

  13. Years ago as a youth I heard the Cuban broadcast of the public trials held against the participants in the Bay of Pigs incident . One of the accused was a young man who cleanly admitted he did participate in the invasion to free his country and would do it again. The ‘judges’ not being able to embarras him in any other way then mentioned maliciously that he was married to so and so , the daughter of a filthy rich counter revolutionary , to which the young man responded ‘Do I stand here accused of being part of the invasion or for being the husband of my wife’ to which of course they had no answer.

    When reading Mr Halversons letter against Mr Ramos Allup and Mr Halberstons spirited defense of his familys reputation . I was reminded of that old episode . because when you come down to it . The basic accusation against Mr Ramos is that he is married to a lady whose brother is said to be ‘in cahoots’ with some unsavory characters linked to the regime . At the same time Mr Halverston felt that whatever had been said or rumoured in the remote past about his father an uncle was an attack on his personal actions in attempting to denounce the corruption of people linked economically to the regime. In both cases , it is not appropiate for Mr Ramos or Young Mr Halversson to be pilloried for deeds which may have been attributed to their relatives but which have nothing to do with them . They are both in the same situation of the young man on trial for joining the Bay of Pigs invasion. .

    • Bill, that Bay of Pigs comment is a good story. But I don’t think the analogy holds. The man standing trial in the Bay of Pigs invasion is being tarred with a “you are related to son-and-so” brush: The accusation against Ramos (he is a diputado, in the government of Venezuela, isn’t he?) is not being used to put him in prison but to point out his hypocrisy and mendacity.
      The letter says he participated in the creation and promotion of a pamphlet attacking the critics of Derwick Associates, a contractor accused of bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and more. Diputado Ramos’s close relative is one of the owners of that company. Moreover, Diputado Ramos allegedly takes “colitas” on Derwick’s private plane. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask him, as a member of the Venezuelan legislature, why he is engaged in the creation and promotion of a pamphlet falsely attacking the perceived critics of his brother-in-law.
      I have now read several of the documents at http://www.scribd.com/tomaslander it is not unreasonable to ask Ramos why he has yet to make a statement regarding this major corruption case that Setty and Alek Boyd have covered repeatedly and which has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, Miami Herald–and when it first started, in Ultimas Noticias, El Nacional, El Universal. I don’t believe Ramos is being pilloried for whom he married but for being the beneficiary of a fraud, a participant in its cover-up, and behaving like a hypocrite with regard to his spoken commitment to fight corruption.

      • Sorry Gumersindo I stand corrected , my impression was that the big point was Ramos Allup’s wife having a relative connected to the Derwick scandal which to me seemed totally irrelevant , now I understand he stands accussed of helping prepare a pamphlet against those who criticize Derwick Associates and taking private plane rides on Derwick controlled flights , these are serious allegations and he owes the public a response clarifying his position . You are also correct in taking him to task for not being among those who denounce the Derwick scandals as other Oppo figures have done. I however would not rush to judgment on declaring him guilty of what he is accused of without being heard. To many he is not a likeable fellow but for that very reason we must give him a chance to clear himself. Im specially concerned of what the govt skunk works might be doing to create divisions among the members of the oppo leadership, they are very scrupulous and both Ramos Allup and Mr Halverssen have mentioned that much of the information against Mr Ramos Allup come from recognized regime sources .

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