#TropaTelesur under siege

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WyssImagine what would happen to your business if you discriminated among your employees based on nationality alone, and they knew about it. What would your workers do if they found out that some of their colleagues earn 100 *times* their salary by virtue of simply being foreign?

Well, could you blame them if they took the story to someone you really dislike?

After a prior post on what goes on at Telesur English, the English-language all-news channel funded by the Venezuelan government, I thought that would be the end of that. Turns out it wasn’t, as I was contacted by several more of its employees.

Being the recipient of these stories is surprising to me, and I have made efforts to check the veracity of the claims. After hearing from several sources, I am ready to go forward with the second part.

The previous story was about how shoddy the operation at Telesur English is – hack work, poor pay, mistreated employees, labor laws ignored. This one is about the recent fiasco of the media campaign that used the picture of reporter Jim Wyss, how it was handled, and what it says about the toxic working environment inside the channel.

As you will recall, a few weeks ago a mini-scandal broke out when Telesur was caught using a picture of a US journalist, Jim Wyss, arriving home in Miami after being detained in Venezuela. The problem was two-fold: the picture was being used without permission, and it was for a campaign about how much Venezuela loves its foreigners.

Wyss himself took the whole thing in stride, and Telesur English was – once again – left to wipe the egg off its face.

My source tells me about how the whole deal played out inside the channel.

The ad had to be seen by Helga Malave and Yoalbis Gourmetts, both of them local employees who earn wages in BsFs. They alerted the higher-ups about how inconvenient it was to use the picture, but they were ignored, and final approval came from Alejandra del Palacio (a Mexican) and Yeimy Ramírez Ávila (a Venezuelan).

Del Palacio earns 4000 dollars a month, which Telesur pays in dollars … which it obtains from the central government at the unattainable rate of 6.3 BsF per dollar. Yeimy earns $6,000 per month, in spite of the fact that she is Venezuelan and the rules forbid Venezuelan employees from charging their salaries in dollars.

How do my sources know what everyone makes? Well, Greg Wilpert sent an email to the entire staff – by mistake – with everyone’s salaries. All hell broke loose when people found out. Some people earn BsF 10,000 per month. Yeimy’s salary at black market rates is roughly BsF1,500,000.

Ultimately, Del Palacio and Yeimy personally approved the Wyss picture that was used. People tried to dissuade them, but del Palacio in particular is apparently a piece of work, frequently chewing people out, and difficult to work with.

When the scandal broke just like the employees had warned, del Palacio ordered the staff to make up some other ads … as if to say this was a campaign. But it was not – it was always supposed to be the one-ad thing. Management was livid, and del Palacio and Ávila decided to blame the kid who handles social media, who was summarily fired.

The lowly Venezuelan employee took the fall. This has fuelled further resentment inside the company.

I tell one of my sources how baffling it is to be getting this information. He/she says that the previous emails caused a stir inside the channel, and that they are tired of the poor working conditions, abuse, and “ideological persecution” inside Telesur English.

Whoa – “ideological persecution”? No offense, source, but … aren’t you guys all committed chavistas?

“Whomever thinks Venezuelans working inside Telesur are chavistas is ignorant of reality,” source says. “We are all workers, just like other Venezuelans, and we are all trying to do our job. Foreigners are also trying to cash in, joining the channel in search for an opportunity to advance their career.”

Source continues telling me about the harassment of employees inside the channel. Private Facebook accounts are monitored. PCs are scanned. Skype conversations are listened into. Several top-level management types support their lovers with money from the channel, while sugar for employees’ coffee is rationed.

In spite of all the persecution, my sources tell me many inside Telesur’s top echelon harbor serious doubts about Maduro’s ability to steer the Revolution, and they fear Diosdado Cabello would be worse.

Ultimately, what this story tells me is that chavista bureaucracy is not monolithic. If this happens in Telesur, what can we expect of workers inside the Prosecutor’s office? Inside the Armed Forces? Inside ministries and embassies? Who says targeted sanctions against a few of these bureaucrats can’t/won’t work?

The ship is leaking, chavistas. How are you going to stem the tide?

Note: If anyone from Telesur wishes to respond to these leaks, I’d be more than happy to accommodate you.

1 COMMENT

  1. Wilpert sent a. Email with everyone’s salaries? How has that email not leaked?
    It would be a good spotlight for venezolanos to see how our money is beeing throw away

    • Many typos from my cell – sorry

      Wilpert sent an Email with everyone’s salaries? How has that email not leaked?
      It would be a good spotlight for venezolanos to see how our money is being thrown away

      • Just so. More people than positions and the pool of jobs isn’t exactly expanding.

        The hard part for people trying to get in is that if you have little or no experience and no connections, you are SOL. There are enough “experienced” folks fighting for entry level jobs that it has to be really frustrating for newly minted grads.

        Imagine if you had zero job prospects in your chosen field…at what point do you say to help with it and take a job in a foreign country with an ideological slant different than your own just to at least get some experience?

        It isn’t just journalism, either…finance faces some of the same entry hurdles.

        • They aren’t talking about foreigners, they are talking about venezuelans who aren’t chavistas, i can see the being desperate for a job, good thing i didn’t have that problem.

      • By the way Steve, what an incredible article you have out on El Mundo and money laundering at Banco Madrid. Breathtaking stuff. You are to be congratulated. Well done.

    • You would think the same about PDVSA, but, believe me, I know dozens and dozens of people working in PDVSA under the disguise of being chavistas just to make a living. I used to work for an int’l oil services company and I had to deal with PDVSA staff everyday, inside their facilities, so I know this for a fact. Moreover, I’d venture to say that true, hardcore chavistas are a minority inside PDVSA.

  2. Purely aside from the rest of the mismanagement and incompetence, what struck me was that the Chavista government is dollarizing salaries. Yes, I know… Telesur is an independent news organization. Right. Somehow, I don’t think that PDVSA and Corpolec employees are going to see it that way.

    • But that’s got to be hidden from all those other workers who earn pathetic salaries in bolivars, otherwise they might think they’re getting exploited under the infallible socialism!

  3. In Canada, a single journalist has set up a website dedicated to publishing the scandals hushed-up at our national broadcaster, the CBC. He does great business.

    So, if a CBC programme has a softball interview of Banker X by journalist Y, we find out the next day that they are actually having an affair, meet up in warm foreign climes for recreation, and so on. This places the report in True Perspective.

    Caracas Chronicles could do this work!

    Granted, Telesur will have a counter-intelligence agency, Latino-SMERSH, dedicated to preventing leaks. But I am confident that careful tradecraft will allow Telesurvivors to give us the actual news about their organization. They do, after all, admire Edward Snowden.

    • CBC is a venerable institution, respected throughout the world.

      Telesur is a joke that churns out un-watchable, shameless propaganda. Viewers of its english language channel number in the dozens, judging by their youtube videos.

      My question is: Does anyone actually care about Telesur? What kind of viewership does it get across South America?

      • “CBC is a venerable institution, respected throughout the world.”

        I wouldn’t go that far. Yes, respected throughout Canada. But the world?
        Certainly the BBC has had a very long history of being listened to around the world. But the CBC???

        • Maybe it doesn’t get much play around the world, I don’t know. What I meant was that people around the world who know anything about it know it is a serious news organization with standards and integrity, unlike Telesur.

          • Rory, please let me know where I can go and verify the number of listeners of radio stations around the world, so that I can disprove my perception: that the CBC is not well known outside of Canada.

            Otherwise, I would agree with you, outside recent episodes brought to light, Ghomeshi/Q being one of them. The CBC is a serious news organization with standards and integrity, beyond the flim-flam Telesur.

      • TeleSur tends to dominate news search results, which does pollute the quality of information foreigners receive about Venezuela. This is something many established and respectable news organizations fail to grasp; if you’re not on top of Google, any two bit trollop with a modest budget can quickly outmaneuver you for mindshare.

        • Good point. For the non-discriminating browser, TeleSur’s sheer volume assures that their version of the “truth” gets promulgated faster than the actual facts.

          I wonder if Google would be amenable to adding an optional filter to eliminate non-serious news sources. How politically charged would that be?

    • How does Jesse Brown/Canadaland do “great business”? Inquiring minds would like to gain some idea of the business plan..

  4. Of course the good old arbitrage of the Venezuelan currency exchange rates is partially responsible for this. Otherwise, it is not news.

    Usually when a multinational corporation e.g. transfers a US manager for say a 3 – 5 year assignment, that person’s salary continues to be paid in $$ and according to the US pay-scale. A local employee of similar rank will be paid in local currency according to that subsidiary’s pay-scale. In terms of purchasing power, the local subsidiary employee should have approx. the same in his / her country, as the US transferee has in the US.

    Of course the purchasing power of the $$ salary of the transferee in the “foreign” country will typically be much higher and on top, often there are all kinds of perks attached to the transferee’s contract. And if the local currency devalues, specially if it is say by a factor of 2x or more overnight (rather than gradually and slowly), the transferee’s purchasing power increases by a substantial rate overnight.

    BTW Juan, which is the 2 Telesur’s “base” country of the $$ paid employees, i.e. where they live and from which they operate?

  5. These “inside sources” narrations are resembling Aleks Boyd’s style. You both have a talent for appearing legit to your audiences.

    • We’re hooked right into Gypsy central man. Totally.

      OT: If you ordered something from Amazon to ship to Venezuela and want it quicker, I can have one of the Marines bring it to you, de pana y todo.

    • Sort of like the identity protected “informants” and “patriotic agents” Maduro swears he has that let him know of opposition coup attempts or murder plots against HCR, Lopez, et al., no es asi?

  6. “Several top-level management types support their lovers with money from the channel, while sugar for employees’ coffee is rationed.”

    Come on, dude, sugar is a dirty capitalist burgeoise sifrino fag luxury, while the barragana’s new tits are socialist as rosinés’s photos with Justin Bieber and Madonna.

    We ALL must make sacrifices for the revolution! And remodeling the b*****s is top priority for the most compromised of revolutionaries! :V

    • Having a surgically enhanced model mistress is a very important fashion accessory for the well-connected Chavista official. It is just as important as having an excessive number of body guards. How else are they supposed to let everyone know how important they are? All of these obligations are expensive. You don’t really expect these important men to pay for them by them with their own kickbacks and bribes, now do you?

  7. “Whomever thinks Venezuelans working inside Telesur are chavistas is ignorant of reality,” source says. “We are all workers, just like other Venezuelans, and we are all trying to do our job. Foreigners are also trying to cash in, joining the channel in search for an opportunity to advance their career.”

    He who lies with dogs, arises with fleas, buddy. Just saying.

  8. I am fully aware you don’t need to be a “Chavista” to be in Telesur.
    You just need to have no bloody ethics.
    Yes, I write that from the comfortable position of an expat, but I have a huge amount of relatives and friends who are in Venezuela, who could have got one of those jobs and decided, in spite of the difficulties, to reject the positions.

    • I was thinking the same thing.
      I can understand if you’re from anywhere else in South America, but a Venezuelan Telesur employee that has even the slightest concern for what is happening in the country seriously needs to re-evaluate their life choices.
      Because how the hell can someone not grasp the hypocrisy of working for the regime’s international propaganda machine while not being aligned with the regime?

    • Yeah, shoving the idiocy down everybody’s throat, they just come and start shouting every stupid brainwashing lie to torture everybody else at every time of the day.

      That’s the commie’s wet dream, that they can control even the thoughts of others. Would love to shout to that idiot “Hey, look, you’re talking shit about YOUR country and you’re still free in the street, you hypocrite!” so I could watch her squirm and foam from her mouth.

  9. Hey Juan Cristobal Nagel, Im working @ tlStv Caracas and I wanna talk bout the data in this article.

    Thank you for publish this

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