Back in the second half of 2002 just getting to the vice-president’s office was an ordeal for journalists in Venezuela. Polarization had reached such an extreme that downtown Caracas was a kind of continuous riot, with pro-government and anti-government groups clashing day after day and weary cops doing what they could to pull them apart.

One especially tough day, I remember, my colleague Valentina Lares rushed through clouds of tear gas to get to the vice-president’s office. Not going wasn’t an option: José Vicente Rangel had become the main spokesperson for the government, and if she couldn’t make his press conferences she couldn’t cover the government’s version of events.

The government lied with total abandon, and its lies could not be ignored.

Once inside, her lungs still burning, Lares listened in astonishment as Rangel denounced the media for fabricating the stories of a riot outside, accusing them of using tall tales to destabilize the government.

Valentina struggled to take down notes about how she hadn’t just been tear-gassed since, you know, it’s hard to take notes when you’ve just been tear gassed.

“Thinking back on it now, it still makes me just as mad as it did then,” she tells me as I reach out all these years later. Rangel, she recalls, “said it with complete sang-froid. With a smile, even: his affability was disconcerting.”

It’s a memory that came flooding back this weekend as the day-old Trump administration turned to the same kind of gaslighting tactics I experienced first-hand back home all those years ago.

I heard Valentina’s anecdote at “Los Del Medio”, the NGO we’d joined to push back both against government aggression toward the media and against the alarming polarization and hysteria in our own ranks. Each Wednesday, about fifteen of us would gather at Laura Weffer’s little apartment in La Campiña, sprawl out on beanbags, and passionately discuss the week’s events.

The problem was clear: the government lied with total abandon. Worse its lies could not be ignored. “The narrative was clear: ‘this is our version, and since it’s official, you have no choice but to run it,’” Lares recalls.

And we recognized the danger. Rangel’s offensive and the media’s reaction to it were stifling even the possibility of objective truth in the Venezuelan public sphere. We knew that, as journalists from a cross-section of Venezuelan media, we were ideally placed to raise our voices against this danger. So we came together, we organized, we wrote our manifestos and published our open letters and organized our workshops.

And still we failed.

I’ve spent much of the last few days in a fetal crouch, checking and rechecking Twitter in a silent panic, not so much reading the news from Washington as remembering it.

Maybe it’s not that surprising that we failed. Because much as you want to wax poetic about the need to sidestep polarization, but it’s just not that simple.

As a journalist, when a government spokesperson tells you that you haven’t seen what you’ve just seen, your primary responsibility is to stand up for the truth. You may not want the truth to become a political football, hustled over by hucksters with an ulterior motive, but it’s not like that’s your choice to make: the government can force your hand, just by doubling down on falsehood.

And now you have a problem: if you stand up for the truth —which is your job— you antagonize a government openly at war with it, feeding into the polarization dynamics you understand you need to disarm. But if you prioritize fighting polarization, then you end up tacitly endorsing the edifice of lies power is building up around itself.

Either way, you lose.

Which is why I’ve spent much of the last few days in a fetal crouch, checking and rechecking Twitter in a silent panic, not so much reading the news from Washington as remembering it.

I wish that I had a reassuring answer for people who ask me how our experience can inform the struggle they now face. I don’t.

Fifteen years ago, I witnessed the essential powerlessness of the truth against a government willing to weaponize its cynical contempt for it.

Today, as I see the U.S. take the first step along a road I know all too well, I keep having to remind myself that there are no inevitabilities here. That the traditions of press freedom and constitutional rule are much older and deeper in the U.S. than they ever were in Venezuela.

None of it deadens the shock of recognition as I think about Valentina’s press conference 15 years ago, and replay Sean Spicer’s briefing again and again and again.

Because, in Venezuela, destroying the entire conceptual category of facts-that-we-all-agree-are-facts was the first step. It was the necessary precursor to all that came next: the slow-motion dismantling of the free press; the judicial persecution of dissident media; the creeping self-censorship that slowly, ever so slowly over a decade and a half, turned into outright censorship; the complete collapse of transparency and accountability and, in the end, of democracy too.

128 COMMENTS

  1. But… but.. Socialism bad! Capitalism good! No other axis of thought matters. Never mind that SIBCI has been writing love letters to the Trump campaign/administration for some time now.

  2. After all the posts I read here about Trump, I feel the author is in search of a new enemy now, after 15 years fighting without any rewards. I just can’t even start to fantasise that “the U.S. take the first step along a road [as Venezuela]”

    Trump can be a clown and his policies plain wrong, but please…

    • Him being a ‘clown’ or his policies wrong is not the issue. Nor will Trump ever be a dictator, or be be able to muzzle the press, etc in the USA. But the damage he can do to faith in our insinuations, to fact based debates, to discourse in general, and to long term democratic health of the republic are serious and grave. That is the concern.

      • Where were you during the 8 years of the Obama administration? Obama politicized all our institutions, including even the IRS and Justice Department.

        New Black Panther party militants stood in front of a Philadelphia voting station, wielding clubs and dressed in paramilitary uniforms. They yelled at people entering that they better not be voting against Obama. This was reported, the police were called, video was taken. The Obama DOJ decided not to prosecute this slam dunk case of voter intimidation because they weren’t there to prosecute black people. Several people resigned from the DOJ over this scandal, although it was not much covered by our leftist media.

        When Trump allows the KKK to get dressed up and wield weapons in front of voting centers, when the IRS targets “progressive” non-profits, then he will be on Obama’s level when it comes to destroying faith in our institutions and political discourse.

          • This is the wrong place to be espousing these views. Benjamin is right about a lot of things but what does it have to do with Venezuela vis a vis the United Statrs. FT is in his own world

          • wrong place?

            yet we have a lengthy post about Trump, when no one here wrote about Obama’s executive overreach and politicization of the DOJ and the IRS, there were many similitude between Chavez and Obama and yet this went largely ignored by many here.

            But whatever, this is a blog about Venezuela, and I understand why it Obama’s executive overreach wasn’t even discussed, yet we see this sort of ridiculous comparison between Trump and Chavez, when there is obviously none, one can only conclude that this is an overly partisan piece of garbage from an author that lacks intellectual integrity.

    • I just can’t even start to fantasise that “the U.S. take the first step along a road [as Venezuela]”

      Finally an answer to that age old question: ¿Cómo se dice “no vale yo no creo” en inglés?

      • You are right on point kico… Trump’s method are the same as our TropiDictator, however your pessimism is not taking into account the sheer size of the “resistance/reaction” from the population. There is no honeymoon period, Trump is not getting a blanque cheque to redraw the constitution and people are already lining up for the next elections in 2018 to retake congress.

        JB

        • “people are already lining up for the next elections in 2018 to retake congress.”

          You guys really need to get out of your own bubble once in a while. The races of 2018 are not exactly looking like an opportunity to take back congress.

          If you guys were saying all along that Obama’s and Clinton’s lies were a threat to our very republic, I could take you seriously.

          • Please watch this video, Benjamin (and Francisco). Particularly 3:12 – 8:00 “Even if they lie, politicians’ lies are based on fact”. Not so Donald Trump, or Chavez.

          • Loroferoz, I watched the video. I see it as a false narrative. Trump’s way of lying is not any different than than that of other politicians. Just because a comedian who seems to have a very poor understanding of everything he spoke about here (for example, actual military history as opposed to the Revolutionary War tropes they teach in grade school) says so, that doesn’t make it true.

            Take Hillary Clinton for example. When she was running for the Dem nomination against Barrack Obama, she was telling why she was so much more qualified. She told a story of how as first lady she landed at Sarajevo airport. The airport (in her fantasy version) was under sniper fire and mortar fire. The plane had to make a corkscrew landing and she had to rush to a waiting armored car.

            The press actually fact checked this (probably because she was running against Obama). The video showed that none of what she claimed was true. She leisurely got off the plane, her only child next to her at all times, smiling and waving. She met a little girl on the runway, accepting a gift. She shook hands with some American soldiers and local dignitaries. There were people all over the runway. No one was taking cover, there was no signs of any danger whatsoever. She got into a regular SUV.

            They showed Hillary this video. Did she say, ‘Sorry, I must not have remembered correctly”. No, right away she started with new lies, as any pathological liar would. In the new version, they warned her of the sniper fire on the plane but they also told her that there was a little girl who had traveled a long distance to greet her and bestow a gift. Well Hillary Clinton was not about to disappoint a little girl, sniper fire be damned! Now this story is ridiculous on its face – totally ridiculous. If they had really told her about sniper and mortar fire and the little girl standing on the runway waiting for her to land, any normal person would have screamed at them to get the girl to safety. Understand, this is all on video. Not just the actual plane landing and following ceremony, but her incredible and evolving lies about it. Trump, in his entire life, has never told a whopper like this and never will.

            Why hasn’t the press obsessed over Hillary, who is quite clearly a pathological liar? Why didn’t this mark her as a future dictator? The only difference I see between the lies of Trump and the lies of other politicians is that Trump is relentlessly hounded while people like Clinton are given a free pass.

            If I am to understand the current controversy, the claim is that Trump is lying about the size of his inauguration crowd. It all started with a bit of fake news from renowned fake news source the New York Times. They tweeted an intentionally misleading photo comparison of the crowds at Obama’s and Trump’s inaugurations. The tweet has since thoroughly been debunked and it was clearly intentional misinformation (in other words, propaganda).

            From there Trump started making wild claims about having the biggest crowd ever or whatever. Who cares? Why is this so important? Because Hugo Chavez was full of shit too? That is a bit of a stretch.

            The media lied about the size of Obama’s first inauguration crowd back in 2009, according to the same style of analysis now being used against Trump. This analysis was done back in 2009 and at least one scientist went on record saying the numbers cited were clearly false. They inflated the numbers for effect. There is nothing even remotely new about this. Why anyone would trust the numbers cited by media for any political crowd is beyond me. They have winged it for decades.

            The National Park Service refuses to give their estimates for gatherings on The Mall because when they gave their estimate of attendance for the highly touted “Million Man March” (400,000), it resulted in a lawsuit being filed against them. The Million Man March was a liberal cause celebre so there was no talk of a new paradigm of post fact whatever. Now the NPS refuses to estimate crowds. There is a science to crowd counting which is as much art as science. The media will only talk about this kind of thing if it is attacking Trump though. Otherwise, who cares?

            I’d like to cite another example of lies Hillary was involved in, a much more recent example. CNN was hosting a “Town Hall”, where the two Dem nominees would ostensibly speak in front of a crowd of regular people, spontaneously answering their questions. Nothing was supposed to be pre-scripted. The reality is that the participants were hand picked, who would ask questions was decided before hand and their questions were known verbatim. Donna Brazile, now the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was working for CNN at the time. She was not supposed to have access to the questions but someone else at CNN leaked it to her and she emailed the verbatim question to the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign thanked her.

            Think about this. You have a television network putting on a fake “Town Hall”. You have their employees giving the questions ahead of time to one of the nominees, in an obvious attempt to cheat and to trick the viewers into thinking that this person is more competent than they actually are. You have the Clinton campaign accepting this information, using it and never letting anyone know that this occurred. We only know that this happened due to wikileaks.

            Isn’t this behavior worse than lying about the size of an inauguration crowd? Is this not worthy of intense coverage by the press? This is why Trump supporters don’t want to hear it. No matter what a leftist politician does, no matter how incredibly dishonest and immoral they are, no matter how clearly they show their contempt for an honest and fair democratic process, they will never be criticized the way Trump is being criticized.

          • Loro, another thing that I forgot to mention about this idiot comedian’s video is that Muslims did in fact celebrate in Jersey City during the 9/11 attacks. He cites that as an example of Trump being “post facts” and all that nonsense but it happened, despite the media denials.

            I know someone who was living in Jersey City at the time. The guy is a liberal, a stoner, despised GW Bush, etc. He saw it with is own eyes. His Muslim neighbors were celebrating.

            But don’t take my word for it, some brave police officers have spoken up:

            http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/12/exclusive_jersey_city_cop_residents_say_some_musli.html

            Yes, a “post facts” world indeed.

        • Today, as I see the U.S. take the first step along a road I know all too well, I keep having to remind myself that there are no inevitabilities here. That the traditions of press freedom and constitutional rule are much older and deeper in the U.S. than they ever were in Venezuela.

          None of it deadens the shock of recognition as I think about Valentina’s press conference 15 years ago, and replay Sean Spicer’s briefing again and again and again.

          • If lies trigger you so, you should avoid watching any spokesperson speak at any time. You’ll spend less time in the fetal position. How you’ve gotten through life never running into this problem before is a mystery.

            Or it could be that you are in the fetal position because you hate Trump’s politics.

          • If lies trigger you so, you should avoid watching any spokesperson speak at any time.

            OK, go back and re-read the original post now. The point of what José Vicente Rangel did 15 years ago was *precisely* this: to convince people to give up on the concept of truth in the political realm.

            I don’t think you’re ill-intentioned, Benjamin, but I do think you’re a walking example of the deeply corrosive mindset my post was initially designed to call attention to.

          • I am trying to respond to this but there is no reply button so I am hoping this wind up in right spot:

            “OK, go back and re-read the original post now. The point of what José Vicente Rangel did 15 years ago was *precisely* this: to convince people to give up on the concept of truth in the political realm.

            I don’t think you’re ill-intentioned, Benjamin, but I do think you’re a walking example of the deeply corrosive mindset my post was initially designed to call attention to.”

            Fair enough, but where we would still disagree is in WHO destroyed the press’ credibility. I don’t care what Trump’s spokesman said or didn’t say about the press. I already know they are largely a bunch of ideologues who will stoop to any level to malign Trump and his supporters. I know this from their actions. I have witnessed this for months on end and see no reason to come running every time they now “cry wolf”.

            They are not trusted by tens of millions of Americans. Who destroyed their credibility? They did. Crying about it now and blaming Trump or his spokesman is useless. Not a single word Trump has said on the matter has influenced my opinion. Back when he was still trying to play their game I knew it was pointless.

            I have to say that there is also something deeper here, something endemic to human nature and not at all new. I see your news sources as “fake news” as well. This narrative that Trump has issued in a “post facts world” seems silly to me. It has always been this way. The ubiquitousness of the internet may make it seem new, but I think that is as far as it goes. People don’t disagree on “facts” because of Trump nor Chavez nor any other charismatic political leader. We have always disagreed on “facts”. I cannot believe some of the things American leftists state as “fact”. I don’t think it is because Obama has charisma, likes to lie and has fundamentally changed our culture – I think this is just the way it has always been. It seems cheap and intellectually dishonest to act like Trump is such a danger that he has fundamentally damaged our culture. It’s a huge stretch to put it mildly.

  3. As the saying goes ‘once struck , twice shy’…….Franciscos concerns may be justified or not , My home was once robbed , for months I lived in extreme fear that we would be robbed again, it didnt happen , but my fear was not absurd in that I had become very sensitized by the experience to fear that it might be robbed again, as might well have happened !!

    In the US, congress is not controlled by Trump fanatics, but by a party which just made a marriage of convenience (not of love) with the guy , Trumps acts are actively and critically scrutinized by a very independen media , by people from the party that supports him (but not unconditionally) , and by an idependent judiciary , politically he hasnt got any where close to the level of Chavez popularity when he begun his frist presidential term ……..so maybe the caution is justified but not a panicky fear that he will become another Chavez even if temperamentally he does resemble in many ways Chavez narcicistic bully persona …

    • This doesn’t hold water. He has never attacked the Obama administration nor the Clinton campaign, despite far worse behavior. He lacks intellectual honesty. There is really no further explanation required, but he also seems to be very proud of writing for the Washington Post. The Washington Post has been involved in printing anti-Trump fake news to such an extent that even the ultra-liberal New Yorker had to call them out on it.

      • Reading what you write makes me feel a deja vu:

        2017: Someone says something about Trump, then Trump supporters say “hey, what about Obama and Hillary? They are far worse!”

        1999: Some says something about Chavez, then Chavistas say, “hey, what about the adecos and copeyanos? They are far worse!”

        Actually, that last one is still going on today, so it’s more like a “deja vois”.

      • Repeat after me. It is fake, it ain’t news. Fake news is the mantra of those who see the news as inconvenient to them. It’s been part of the Trump’s playbook since day 1. But worse, Trump does not care much for teasing out who in the media is printing “fake news” about him. He just simply declares the media (the media, the whole enchilada) as dishonest. His spokepeople (Spicer and Conway) blatantly lie and misrepresent, and when confronted with the facts threaten and intimidate, and offer “alternative facts.”

        No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver.

        • You haven’t had any problems with how the media has covered Trump? That says a lot about you.

          Have you been here decrying the lies of Obama and Clinton’s spokespersons? Why not? Are we supposed to believe you are a righteous person who is just concerned with truth and fairness?

      • Ben: this is not a blog about US politics , but about Venezuela´s ongoing tragedy , even if we had many questions and reservations about Obama´s politics the fact of the matter is that in this blog they are not of primary importance except to the extent they are likely to affect Venezuela ………, please don’t assume that every one in this blog is a die hard admirer of Obamas politics or an enemy of all alternative views from the other side of US political fence ……one thing however we cant help observe ( and which many keen and reputed observers of US political life also have noticed ) is the uncanny resemblance between the temper and personality of Mr Trump as evidenced by his speech and deeds and that of someone we Venezuelans know quite well our own President Chavez .

        They both show the personality of blowhard boastful narcissist bullies who are more interested in hugging the limelight and humiliating their enemies than of dealing with the substantial issues that concern more balanced statesmen …….!! Not saying that the US will allow president Trump to convert the US into the ruin that is Venezuela , just that having that kind of personality can spell trouble for any country that has it as its head of state…….!!

        His proposed policies may be grounded on some legitimate grievances but the solutions he proposes are primitive, histrionically drastic, superficial and oversimplistic in the extreme …just as likely to cause great harm to US interests and institutional values as to help perhaps heal some problems if reworked extensively by more knowledgeable and responsible people in his team . Some of the Secretaries appear to be men of great talent so maybe this is an opportunity for the US to tackle some problems which the political stalemate caused by the polarization of traditional political agents have made intractable . But the basic fear on the noxiousness of Mr Trumps narcissistic personality is one which any one , in Venezuela or the US can recognize , even people who have little sympathy for Mr Obama or Mrs Hilton.!!

        This is a legitimate honest concern , quite beside the issue of whether Mr Obama and Mrs Hilton deserve or not criticism for their performance in US political life.

        • What’s confusing is that Venezuela has been hard done by literally dozens of foreign leaders and hundreds of foreign politicians. I have never seen this kind of loathing directed at any of them. Sure I have seen the likes of Christina Fernandez criticized here, but nothing like this. Trump has not harmed Venezuela in any way and has not talked of harming Venezuela. Meanwhile, your enslavement was aided and abetted by the likes of China, Russia, Iran, basically the entirety of Latin America and the Caribbean, the OAS, the UN… you get the idea.

          You say Trump is a thin skinned, narcissistic, swaggering bully and liar who reminds you of Hugo Chavez. OK, we get it – duly noted. Can we expect another 5 articles obsessing about Trump? I thought you said this blog was about Venezuela? If you want to bash foreign leaders, you have literally dozens to choose from who have screwed you over, hard.

          Your country is a shambles. Your childrens’ futures have been wrecked. You are not a free people. Instead of bashing the culprits like Dilma or Christina or the Chinese communists you are obsessing on a guy who hasn’t even been in office a week.

          • Its false that the US only matters to americans , the US model of democracy matters to all of us ……much more than any other country beside our own, your culture , your economy are fundamental in shaping the fate of the world ……no one can be indifferent to its future , the whole of the world has a stake in what happens in the US.

            A purely nativist vision is a betrayal of what the US is all about , their is a sense of Greatness ,Order, Liberty and Justice which is represented by the US and which makes all of us vicarious Americans even if the doors are being closed to people wanting to live there…!!

            No other country matters to the world like the US ….

            Dilma or Christina have had their comeuppance , they exploited their relations with our munificent great wanna be world leader for their own benefit to the hilt …but the wrecking of Venezuela was an inside job , not sure the Chinese are quite in the same league , they would have done the same business with a Venezuela controlled by Chavez as with a Venezuela controlled by more balanced leaders .

            The Cubans are different , but again it wasn’t them that received anything more than what our crazed leaders wanted to give them …
            In past blogs all these foreign leaders and their regimes have been the subject of tough condemnation ……

            I share quite of few of your reservations about past US govt policies and decisions at the world stage , but not your poisoned hatred of Mr Trumps opponents …….that’s the main difference.

            Your posture reminds me of the way Mr Chavez was hailed as the savior of Venezuela because there was so much hatred of his predecessors …now we known that he was much worse than any other prior regime , inpart because our institutional and political weaknesses but also because he was the narcicsitic megalomaniacal snake charmer that he was !!

          • It looks like you’ve fallen victim to propaganda and the Orwellian word games of the Anti-Facts Left. There is no reason to assume that people who are against ruinous, unrestrained ILLEGAL immigration are anti-immigration or “purely nativist”. I am wildly pro-immigration.

            As far as I know, unrestrained illegal immigration, including of people from totally alien cultures, and without demanding assimilation, has never been anything but disastrous for a nation. At the very least, this a debate worth having but shouting down people who want to discuss it is the current status quo.

            Of course your problems are mostly of your own making, which is why I would expect this blog to be mostly about Venezuela. As far as covering foreign affairs, I think the focus is in the wrong place. Sure, the USA is the world’s most powerful and influential nation but we don’t run the world. China has way more sway over Venezuela than we do. Without them, none of this would have been possible. Ditto for the rest of Latin America.

          • And I should add that it is the anti-American nature of your government that has attracted so many of these “friends” to lend a hand to the revolution. There is a lesson there that doesn’t seem to have been learned by Venezuelans.

          • Ben you seem to find sadistic pleasure in underscoring our tragedies , and how we all are to blame for what OUR leaders ( actually our victimizers) have done to destroy our country ……just so you can criticize Fracisco for pointing out the resemblance between Mr Trump and our Chavez megalomaniacal and divisive style and how that does not bode well for the US future…..

            For you if Francisco had spent all that time criticizing President Obama and Mrs Clinton then it would have been all right !! because the lying that matters or flaws that matter are only the latter ……., again Obama and Clinton whatever their flaws and mistakes, were not in any way similar in temper and character to Chavez someone whose peculiarities of speech and thinking we know all too well , we know how destructive and toxic those personality disorders which Mr Trump and Chavez shared are so we are naturally concerned at the harm that haivn such president in the country which leads the world with a message of hope and freedom …..

            Now Mr Trump appears bent on starting a set of policies which entail a withdrawal of the US from its leadership position in the World , withdrawal from Nato, sponsoring the break up of a United Europe , harrying and bullying companies to stop investing in other countries and concentrating all their investments in the US , encouraging Putin ( a partner to Iran and its Sirian puppet Hassan) in its efforts to destroy the west so as to take over Ukraine and maybe the Baltic republics…..he is in fact , behind the jingoisitic rethoric , endorsing policies which spell the end of US as the bulwark of freedom in the World ………., and clearing the way for China , the economically very succesful China to begin its rise as the worlds preeminent Power…!!

            Its paradoxical that the man who most loudly protests his commitment to making america great again is actually the one which appears to be pushing harder to bring about the US downfall.

            Fortunately there are men of integrity and talent among the members of his gabinet and the congressional leadership which will hopefully stop this loose megalomaniacal cannon from destroying the country we so admire…!!

      • Yes. I always thought that Chavez’s solid base was about 30% of the population. The true believers. I figure Trump’s is probably a little higher than that- closer to 40%. You can cause a lot of havoc with that level of dedicated support, including the ability to convince a lot of people to stay out of your way.

      • In the 1998 election Chavez got close to 57% of the vote while his main opponent got 39% , almost a 20 % difference……no where near the difference between the Clinton and the Trump vote where Mrs Clinton got 2.8 million more votes than Mr Trump .

    • I have high hopes in the Republicans, not in the Tea Party and other creatures (such as the racists, creationists and various crackpots) that Trump brought along. They might side with the Democrats in impeaching Trump if something scandalous enough surfaces. And with the guy appointing family, not divesting himself and having shady business connections, it is inevitable.

  4. There is an infinite supply of bullshit in the world. You are focusing on the supply side. What matters is the demand side.

    The thing to worry about isn’t whether Trump, Spicer, Rangel or Chavez are liars. Of course they are. So was Obama (all men of fighting age on what we declare to be a “battlefield” are “combatants”). So are millions of others, and some are even worse than them. The question is why a significant chunk of their countries’ populations are happy to be lied to, so brazenly, and how to change that.

    I don’t know the answer. I do know that religious fundamentalists often fall for demagogues, and I think it’s because they are trained to suspend disbelief. Similarly, people who come from a father-knows-best family where they are told to do things “because I say so” are accustomed to capricious, arbitrary authority that can get away with saying counterintuitive things (I am hitting you because I love you). People raised in schools that teach “creation science” have also got some training in the difficult mental task of disbelieving the obvious. These are all things that can change, but require a change that’s deeper than just adding an evolution segment to the curriculum.

    Read George Lakoff’s work on how political metaphors affect our political behavior. People see the polis as a family, and there is a fundamental clash between strong-father and nurturing-mother paradigms. Trump is the apotheosis of the strong-father paradigm, even more than a relatively sweet and gracious strongman like Chavez. It’s a good way to get out of foetal position, at least.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/01/15/dont-think-of-a-rampaging-elephant-linguist-george-lakoff-explains-how-the-democrats-helped-elect-trump/#.WHx0IhDzwik.facebook

    https://georgelakoff.com/category/political/

    • “… religious fundamentalists often fall for demagogues, and I think it’s because they are trained to suspend disbelief…”

      Bingo!

      By the way, one question off topic (although maybe not so off topic considering how religious the guy is), what happened with Juan Cristobal Nagel? It’s been a while since last time I saw an article of him around here.

      • So Getashrink… you’ve got it all wrapped up. Religious people are trained to be dumb.

        Juan Carlos Nagel is religious ergo he is dumb?

        Dude, you seem to be indulging in the last socially acceptable bias. It’s funny how intolerant the ‘tolerants’ are.

        • could you please try to read things assuming the writer means well, rather than trying to dominate people?

          he didn’t say any of that, and neither did i. and juan cristobal is religious and is a brilliant critical thinker.

        • I didn’t use the word “dumb”, so please stop putting words in my mouth.

          As a matter of fact, I think that religious people are very intelligent in general. That is, if we define intelligence as “the capacity to solve problems”. The thing is that not everybody is trying to solve the same problem. Some people want to know the truth about things, and how to do that is the problem they want to solve. Scientists are an example of this, and they are very good at finding solutions to that problem. Religious people (or at least many of them), on the other hand, want to solve a different problem. The problem they want to solve is “how do I keep believing this?”, and they are very good at it. You need to be very smart to solve that problem, maybe even smarter than the best scientists.

          • You write:

            Religious people (or at least many of them), on the other hand, want to solve a different problem. The problem they want to solve is “how do I keep believing this?”

            The religious people apply the same standard of reason to most aspects of life. They are not trying to hold on to things for the sake of it. They believe what they believe in the according to the truth that reason will convey to the premise.

            Traditional Christianity sees reason as an attribute of God, hence the corpus of Philosophy and Theology.

          • “The religious people apply the same standard of reason to most aspects of life. They are not trying to hold on to things for the sake of it. They believe what they believe in the according to the truth that reason will convey to the premise.”

            Maybe some religious people do that, but… have you talked to a creationist (I’m assuming you are not one of them)?

            The thing is that some people value certain beliefs dearly for whatever reason, and they are willing to go through whatever mental contortions it takes to keep those beliefs, even when faced with overwhelming contrary evidence. This certainly applies to beliefs other than religious ones, but if you’ve been doing these contortions since you are a child because of your religious upbringing, by the time you are an adult you are probably very proficient at it.

          • I am not a ‘young world creationist’. I find fault in their understanding of science and how it relates to God. Moreover, St. Augustine in the 4th century already interpreted Genesis allegorically.

            I gravitate toward St. Anselm’s motto: Faith seeking understanding. Even Pope Benedict covered this much in 2006 at Regensburg with “Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections”:

            I quote from the address:

            “not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature”

  5. Jesus! I thought BDS(Bush Derangement Syndrome) was bad but it seems that TDS(Trump Derangement Syndrome) pales in comparison. Enough already!

  6. “Which is why I’ve spent much of the last few days in a fetal crouch, checking and rechecking Twitter in a silent panic”

    You should have been like that when Trudeau (a fan of Castro and Chavez) became your PM.

    Meanwhile all US economic projections improve with Trump, all the ones from Canada are going to hell. Your descendants will probably emigrate to Trump’s America seeking jobs. That’s what shoud make you lie awake at night, Mr. Toro.

    http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/canadas-gdp-growth-to-stall-at-two-per-cent-for-more-than-a-decade-report-says

  7. You folks need to worry about your own country, and if we get to worried about ours we will start a “Washington Chronicles” website. Seriously, quit worrying about the USA, we will be fine, concentrate on your problems.

  8. USA is not Venezuela (Coincidentally Venezuela was not Cuba).
    Trump is not Chavez because Trump is not socialist.
    Trump is a clown (Coincidentally Chavez used to be a clown).

    No vale yo no creo.

  9. You cannot have a country where lies are broadly accepted as fact, and robust institutions. Institutional players, including the media, which refuse to accept lies under such conditions are easily branded as elitist + (capitalists, socialist, pick your label) and delegitimized.

    People who think the USA is different because it has robust institutions and high levels of education should consider that many many people in the USA (as in other countries including my own) now broadly accept crazy things as truth. Or they are at best, indifferent to liars if their lies conform with their prejudices.

    Chomsky, among others, managed to convince large numbers of people on the far left that the New York Times was indistinguishable from Pravda. Now we have that sentiment become mainstream belief under a populist nationalist government, and we have a White House Press Secretary worthy of a banana republic. Except that, it is not only banana republics that fall prey to this mentality, this disease of willfully accepting lies..

    • As a Trudeau supporter, how do you still have the chutzpah to come here and write this stuff? It’s like leftists are devoid of self awareness and intellectual honesty as a matter of course. Trudeau is an unabashed sympathizer with socialist dictatorships. You are a Canadian writing on a Venezuelan opposition website who rants about Trump and makes excuses for Trudeau.

        • I don’t think you understand the concept of whataboutism. Here I am comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. There are many debate techniques which are effective because they are logical and reasonable. Pointing out obvious hypocrisy is one of them.

          I don’t know if you read what you linked but it says that an appropriate response to even propaganda style whataboutism is to engage in more self criticism. I guess you didn’t read that part because self criticism doesn’t seem to be a strong suit.

          Your arguments, however, do fall into the logical fallacy camp because it is OK for Obama and his press secretary to bullshit every day for 8 years but on day 1 of the Trump administration you are in the fetal position and the Republic is about to fall. This is silly. It’s a silly post and not worth further dissection. You can’t just write nonsense and expect people to take it seriously.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_and_the_Beam

          These are not difficult concepts and have been around for millennia.

      • Benjamin, I cop to “elitist”- I studied at universities, I speak another language passably, and I read The Atlantic- and I even cop to your definition of “socialist”- even though your average Californian, New Yorker or Oregonian would call me a “liberal”… but “Trudeau supporter”?…that’s just too far man…

        • My definition of a socialist is someone who believes that government should control the means of production. I doubt you fit my definition and certainly most “liberal” Americans do not either. Even Bernie Sanders doesn’t fit my definition, although he refers to himself as a socialist. Or maybe Bernie does have plans for taking over the means of production but just didn’t mention it during his campaign. I don’t know.

          We seem to have different definitions of elitism too. I don’t remember calling you that. I consider myself a bit of an elitist anyway.

          I have read here your defense of Trudeau’s lionization of Castro. He is his father’s son, all that. He is a piece of garbage is what he is. He is much more like Chavez than Trump could ever be. I am not too worried for you though. Canada is not going to turn into Venezuela. You will always be “America’s Hat”, which is a very privileged position apparently.

          • Well if I am America’s Hat, you are America’s soiled undergarment, and my position is indeed privileged. But seriously. I’m glad you read my comments. I just wish you would read them more carefully. You confuse an explanation of the Trudeau history with Castro, which some may not know, with a defense of Trudeau’s comments about Castro.

            A lot of people, me included, raised a stink when Trudeau was talking about Castro after his death. I went a little bit nuts over it, not because I am a “Liberal supporter” mind you, but because my prime minister was casually saying some things that were as we say here, FUBAR.

            Trudeau apparently listened. I won’t flatter myself that he listened to me personally, but he listened, and to my great relief, did not go to the funeral. And you know what, I respect that. But that does not make me a “Trudeau supporter”….

          • I apologize for saying you are a Trudeau supporter. It was an assumption I made that had no basis in fact.

            It still seems weird to me that you would be here savaging Trump (and America) to a much greater degree than Trudeau, given the focus of this blog. These people live in a dictatorship largely thanks to Castro and the fools looked up to him.

    • Actually that’s a quote from famed Baltimore Journalist Mecken …….although its within the spirit of much of what the brilliant pen of Joseph de Maistre had to say….!!

  10. Why didn’t this website attack Trudeau for lionizing Fidel Castro, a dictator who has had a direct hand in destroying your country?

    You have barely spent any time attacking the dozens of foreign leaders and USA Democrats who have supported Chavismo. Yes, definitely a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  11. This is one of your most pathetic posts yet, Francisco.

    – You keep comparing Venezuela with the U.S. I thought that you would be the blog adult and stop that crap.

    – Your account of being part of an NGO called “Los del Medio” explains a few things. It sounds like a bunch of politically correct left-of-center sifrinos that won’t actually dare to stand up for what is right or wrong. In Brazil we call it “encimadomurismo” (from Encima do Muro), people that will just stand tall above the wall and everybody else, not taking sides and not hurting anyone’s feelings. You should claim the naming rights for those safe spaces we hear about nowadays. That cute NGO aimed to tackle the oppo’s hysteria? You mean the fear that Venezuela would some day become Cuba, where people would be denied their most basic rights and would have to queue for hours just to get food? Looks like the hysteria back then was well funded, huh?

    – You claim that as a journo you gotta stand up for the truth. Really? Is crying bloody murder on a day-old administration “standing up for the truth”? No me jodas, vale. Where were you when the Democrat candidate blamed a terrorist attack on a YouTube video? And when Barry said we could keep our doctors and plans? Where were you when four blacks beat the crap out of a mentally disabled white kid on Facebook, yelling “fuck Trump”, and CNN said it wasn’t racism?

    – You claim (on your twitter) that Veneco.Gov media reads like Breitbart bacause they (rightfully) say the #WomensMarch was actually #SorosMarch. This is a fact, and just because chavistas rebotan an article from the NYT on it doesn’t make it a lie. Where’s your cry for truth about the DC march organizer promoting Sharia Law as the best thing for women since sliced bread? Talk about being for women’s rights. Chavistas copy/pasted it because they hold a grudge against Obama (who is on their political side). For some reason, chavistas think Obama is right-wing and Trump is left-wing. Whatever. These are the same people that claim inflation is caused by comerciantes especuladores. As soon as Trump pays a little attention to Venezuela and opines on it, they’ll say Trump “se les volteó”.

    Your side, the left, has a problem with facts. If facts are politically incorrect, they’re not facts. If facts contradict your vision of the world, they’re not facts. If facts make people vote for a guy that you find despicable, then “people -who were a bunch of racists to begin with- were tricked by a populist Nazi”. If the left calls a brand new President a Nazi when he hasn’t done shit yet, what are you going to call him when he makes a mistake?

    Gimme a fucking break.

    • On point. Also, I am still waiting for some sort of recognition about the DISASTER of ENORMOUS proportions that happened in the Middle East which was triggered by Bush after the invasion of Afghanistan and Irak and left to fester by Obama’s administration (including, of course, Hillary). While we are at it, any mention of Saudi Barbaria (key US ally) anywhere by the way???? I don’t see anyone complaining about the constant threat and abuse of women in Saudi Barbaria? Yet, Women’s March and bla bla takes all the headlines now. Hmmmm…

  12. Quico, I understand, almost everything has been said about Venezuela and Trump’s personality is very similar to Chavez and Martinelli… but come on buddy!

  13. I love it that those who are the most vitriolic here do not argue the points of the post. Rather they attack the writer or others here because: 1) They should concentrate on their own problems, not those of the USA. 2) They have not criticized others (on the left), or even the former President Obama (not putting Obama on the left purposely here since there is no left in the USA, in my view). 3) The analogy in the post is false.

    So, let me rephrase the question for you folks: Do you disagree that Trump’s campaign and now the presidency (starting with the inaugural speech) has been characterized by demonstrable falsehoods and exaggerations? And do you disagree that the President, the President’s spokesperson (Spicer) and advisor (Conway) have accused the media of dishonesty? Do you disagree that Spicer was demonstrably caught saying falsehoods in his first press conference, and that when confronted about that Conway said that Spicer had simply provided “alternative facts”?

    If you disagree, I guess we could have a debate, but attacking the writer for other reasons is one of the oldest tricks in the book when one has no argument.

    • I’m trying to understand your argument and point of view. Are you saying that if a Presidential spokesperson is full of shit, then our Republic is about to fall? How long have you been saying this?

      • Oh dear, reading comprehension issues…let’s try it again:

        There are no inevitabilities here. The traditions of press freedom and constitutional rule are much older and deeper in the U.S. than they ever were in Venezuela.

        None of it deadens the shock of recognition as I think about Valentina’s press conference 15 years ago, and replay Sean Spicer’s briefing again and again and again.”

        • Oh dear, reading comprehension issues.. someone doesn’t understand the simple concept of hyperbole. Did you think it was meant to be taken literally that the Republic was about to fall? Oh dear…

          Listen, if he wrote similar posts about the lies of Obama or Clinton and their various mouthpieces, then this could have made some sense. But he hasn’t and he won’t. He didn’t have to say use qualifiers like “there are no inevitabilities here” regarding Clinton’s assault on truth because he just didn’t care.

  14. Clearly my point is not that journalist should not tell ‘the truth’ (whatever that may be) for fear of ‘antagonizing the government’. The focus is in not antagonizing its electoral base. Which, I agree, is difficult. Very difficult.

    Still, there are some general lines in what I said that might still apply to journalists: first, to not fall on the polarization trap by supporting oppo leaders for the sake of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ (the Venezuelan press main failure throughout chavismo — with some notable exclusions, including yours) and second, to not write contempteously about Trump’s electoral base if the tone for such allows (thats where the main difficulty lies, and alas, Oppo journalism also failed at that point and still does)

    Fact-checking is more important than ever now. Would have never meant anything in any way contrary to that.

    Sds

    • I guess what I’m saying is that polarization is not one of those things where “it takes two to tango.” Just one side can polarize, especially if that side is in power.

      You can easily imagine a situation where 99% of the media sticks doggedly by the AMRA System for Disarming Polarization ™. But in a free society, you can’t enforce 100% adherence. Someone somewhere is going to go off. And that’s all a sufficiently dishonest government needs to sustain a polarizing dynamic, because if your priority is to sustain a sense of grievance, you’re not going to be fair.

      • Im very uncomfortbable with it being called a method or a system. It is not. Specially less so if you mean to apply it to the media. I have a profound skepticism for dogma…

        I was addressing the general public of disheartened liberals (the Staburcks armada as it were) who are confused with what might result from taking the most intuitive road (injured, all-out denunciation) and might benefit from a more meta view on the subject. I would have written something different were I to address journalists directly, or if my advice was to be seen as all-applicable.

        It is no commandment, just advice for a perhaps healthy habit which, like all habits, must be flexible to quotidian living.

        Also, I wouldnt be so fatalistic about the whole matter. If indeed you can bring the mainstream out and away from the polarization trap (taking sides gratis, showing contempt) –which is a heraculean task– then that fringe 1% wont matter. The alt-right recent rise is a case in point: it only got center stage by riding the mainstream media’s appetite for Trump clickbait, otherwise it would have remained in the fringe.

        Maybe a post about the role of the media in a populist environment might be of interest? Your call, boss 😉

      • It looks to me like all this yackey-yack about polarization is not well placed. Polarized politics in the US won’t help or hurt Venezuela. It seems to me that you guys are wallowing in the most profound and extreme political polarization imaginable, and have taken your eye off the ball. I want to know why the so-called feckless “opposition” cannot abandon this MUD business and get behind MCM or someone who at least appears to be measured and courageous enough to lead IF PEOPLE WOULD JUST LEAVE THEIR PETTY POLARIZED POSITIONS BEHIND LONG ENOUGH TO GET SOMETHING DONE!

        • ” I want to know why the so-called feckless “opposition” cannot abandon this MUD business and get behind MCM or someone who at least appears to be measured and courageous enough to lead”

          Because too much people in Venezuela still are so naive to believe the chavista scum will have shame and leave the power after an election as the mountain of lies that’s been spoonfed during decades, the first one being that the “peaceful demonstrations ousted dictatorships by themselves and nothing more”

    • I mean, think of what happened to CNN when they got the Christopher Steele/Pee Pee memo.

      They were super careful. AMRA Method through and through. They lawyered the story to bits. Checked and rechecked. Broadcast a thoroughly researched segment that was scrupulous, fastidious about leaving out any details that couldn’t be verified, and certainly anything tawdry.

      Impecable. Great work.

      But hell, there’s always Buzzfeed out there, and just watch how easy it is for Conway to lump the two together.

      http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/12/kellyanne-conway-blasts-cnn-buzzfeed/

      • You are beyond redemption.

        “BREAKING NEWS, WE HAVE INFORMATION THAT TRUMP WAS BEING BLACKMAILED BY THE RUSSIANS AND HE IS COMPROMISED PERSONALLY!!!!!!!! We can’t go into the details though, that would be wrong”

        Yeah, nothing wrong with that approach. And then the underlying information turns out to be easily disprovable lies.

        Comparing the media’s treatment of the fake dossier and their protection of Bill Clinton from allegations of violent rape by 3 separate women is very telling.

          • Maybe you just don’t understand enough about the American system to understand what happened with CNN regarding the dossier. I will lay it all out for you.

            1. During the primary and presidential campaigns, Trump’s political opponents paid former intelligence agents to dig up dirt on Trump. This is standard. One of the hired agencies used a former MI6 agent who appears to be incompetent or maybe just money hungry and immoral. He produced a laughable report on Trump, full of easily disprovable lies and even simple spelling and grammatical errors. None of this stuff was ever used by the various rival campaigns because it ranged from unverifiable (a friendly Russian agent told me such and such) to easily disprovable.

            2. This “dossier” was shopped around to all of the media outlets but no one would print it for the above mentioned reasons. Rumors were flying though. There was talk of an “intelligence dossier” which had proof that Trump was being blackmailed by those evil Russians.

            3. The American intelligence services, who are embroiled in a struggle with Trump, saw an opportunity to damage his legitimacy. They used their willing lackeys in the media.

            4. Obama was briefed by American intelligence officials. They told him that there was a dossier (not an intelligence dossier, just a report made by some paid political hack who used to work for MI6) which said a Russian had told a former MI6 agent that Trump was compromised by Russian agents.

            5. Immediately after this briefing, word of the briefing was leaked to CNN. This is of course a crime, but no one will be prosecuted for this corruption. You cannot report the contents of confidential presidential security briefings to the press, even if you happen to work for the CIA or the President. But this allowed CNN to announce BREAKING NEWS, BOTH OBAMA AND TRUMP (they lied about that second part it seems) HAVE BEEN BRIEFED ABOUT THE RUSSIANS BLACKMAILING TRUMP. And TRUMP IS COMPROMISED BY RUSSIANS, ACCORDING TO INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING. This was all a very ham-handed and obvious setup. The underlying ‘dossier” is a joke. CNN announcing as breaking news that Trump is compromised by Russia, knowing full well the true nature of the underlying dossier is outlandish.

            6. Buzzfeed then said “CNN is reporting such and such…” and then “we now need to print the full dossier, we can’t verify any of it but we would be remiss to not let you know about this since CNN is reporting that Obama was briefed on Trump being compromised by Russia, this is the source used in the briefing”

            Any idiot can see that the ones damaging the reputation of the intelligence services, of our institutions and of our pale imitation of a fourth estate are not “Trumpistas”.

            More reading for you about how the American left has gone off the deep end:

            https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

            All of the articles I linked are written by people who hate Trump.

    • BTW, I’m not disagreeing with you, exactly. I think you’re right and your advice is worth following. Should be followed and ought to be followed.

      I’m just saying it’s not realistic as a solution, which *sucks*.

  15. 1) Who cares if CC hasn’t made this comparison with other presidents ? Trump is here, Trump is now, and they wanted to talk about it. Stop deflecting and attacking the writer just because you don’t agree.
    2) We thought we had strong institutions, but populism, fear mongering and flat out lies (all traits of Trump) managed to render them completely useless in time. Yes, the USA is not Venezuela, but can’t you see the similarities? Venezuela isn’t Cuba… do you see us now? blindness to what is in front of you is what’s going to wreck you (hopefully I’m wrong and you won’t become Cuba, but Trump is really going to damage your country)
    3) Kellyanne Conway THREATENED the press when she was put on the spot on the topic of the alternative facts from the press secretary.
    4) The press secretary flat out lied on his first public appearance.
    5) Trump picked up a childish fight with the media on his first press conference.
    6) Trump insults anyone that is against him, even polls, saying that they are fake… so all news is fake unless it’s good for him.
    7) He can’t keep his temper and lashes out at anyone that criticizing him
    8) He has completely gone back on MOST of his campaign promises, even before he was actually inaugurated. (again with the lies)

    Do you know who was very similar? Chavez…. Can you not see it? please argue with me! deny anything from this post.

    • 1. The idea is that the real reason he is in the fetal position is because he hates small government, fiscal conservatism and his candidate lost. It is obvious because he just now seems to have discovered that politicians and their spokespeople do lie and because his comparison of Trump to Chavez is such an incredible stretch.

      2. I do agree that democracy is fragile and at risk even in a place like the USA. Just look at the Eurozone. Those people have given up their true citizenship in order to be subjects of a wannabe empire. I would not consider those countries to be true republics anymore. They are subject to the diktats of way too many unelected leaders, not to mention an outside court system.

      But comparing Venezuela to the USA? Come on, get real. Let’s not be silly.

      3. The media has been totally biased against Trump and has thoroughly disgraced themselves (Toro’s employer, the Washington Post, is an excellent case in point). I am glad there is pushback. I want them to fight. This is why we elected Trump, to fight the corrupt status quo powers and the lackeys who serve them.

      4. I don’t know, I didn’t watch. The idea that it is shocking that a presidential press secretary lied and we should be in the fetal position over it is really silly to me.

      5. I’m not sue if you have followed the campaign but this war has been raging for months. There will be many more battles. The press seems to be frustrated that millions of Americans can no longer take them seriously. It’s like that old story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Maybe this time they are finally telling some truth but I stopped paying attention. Once in a while I look into their claims but unfortunately they have always been lying when I have done so.

      6. Trump is thin skinned for sure but he has toned it down a bit since winning. His attacks on the press are well warranted and hopefully will continue, as I have stated.

      If the polls were real, how did he win? I don’t understand what you mean on that point. The media had the motive and means to rig the polls, they have shown themselves to have zero integrity and the polls were off by orders of magnitude. When I see their polls of Obama’s approval rating and Trump’s approval rating, I do assume it is rigged in the sense that it is a poll done with an intentionally corrupted sample. Do I bother to look into it thoroughly? Nah – again, the press has been exposed by wikileaks and by their own incompetence. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation but one day to destroy it. They have been at it for years now.

      7. I think this is a repeat of #6. Yeah, the guy is a baby. Same could be said of Obama, who is a thin skinned narcissist as well. Who the hell thinks it is a good idea to write an autobiography before they have actually accomplished anything?

      8. I don’t see it this way. When compared to past presidents, such as Obama, he seems to be way more trustworthy as far as carrying out campaign promises is concerned.

      No, I don’t see the Chavez comparisons. There are superficial comparisons. You can make more compelling comparisons to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton IMO. Would that be worthwhile? Not really, but if you like that kind of thing…

      Now I have to run away so I can get some work done.

  16. Vamos a ver si Trump es tan igual a Chávez, sólo por poner un ejemplo, la próxima vez que ocurra un desastre natural que acabe con una ciudad norteamericana, veamos cuántos muertos quedan en el momento, si el gobierno es capaz de rechazar de plano la ayuda ofrecida para salvar vidas, y cuántos años pasan para que se reconstruya lo que quedó dañado (Ojo, que si no son 18 no se vale), porque el resultado de la acción chavista en algo llamado los deslaves de Vargas, pues es para tirarlo por una poceta.

    Veamos si Trump es taaaaannnn igual a Chávez, entonces debería hacer exactamente las mismas estupideces que hizo el podrido, que por cierto, ya se les va cayendo la tesis, porque empezando Trump no ha instigado al crimen durante su discurso de toma de posesión (Chávez sí, con su infame “si tengo hambre puedo robar”), ni tampoco dijo “Juro sobre esta constitución moribunda” diciendo que va a demoler el estado actual, como lo hizo el podrido.

    De nuevo, quedan en el tapete las dos preguntas que validarían que Trump = Chávez:

    1) ¿Trump aliará su gobierno con toda la mierda criminal para mantener acosada a la gente con decenas de miles de asesinatos anuales por sus tropas de choque paramilitares?

    2) ¿Trump liquidará la economía de EEUU para asegurar poder económico y político al punto de que todo el país quede como está Venezuela hoy en día? Señores, por lo que he visto, acá no han mencionado casi nada de lo que hizo Bush, que en retrospectiva ha sido muchísimo peor de lo que pueda esperarse de Trump.

    • Eso, se llama un hombre de paja. Un espantapajaros. Nada de lo que Ud. dice va a pasar en los Estados Unidos porque Trump no controla el gobierno estadounidense de la manera en la que Chavez controlaba el gobierno venezolano. Lo que preocupa al articulista es la relacion enferma que ambos lideres (Presidentes, bueh, llamarlos tales supone que se comportaron como tales) tienen con: A) La prensa y los que tienen por trabajo difundir noticia B) Los hechos y la manera en lo que estos se corroboran.

  17. What is so pathetic is not that Spicer lied, but that it was so childish. If the incoming administration concentrate on this type of trivia over the next four years, they won’t need enemies to eviscerate their country.

    • Right! That’s the whole point of the post! Spicer lied the way José Vicente used to lie. The point was not to convince us that the lie was true. The point was to blow up the whole concept of truth as anything separate from what power wishes it to be.

      This. Isn’t. Normal.

      • First off, the incoming administration is not focusing on this trivia. The international media is. Spicer mentioned two bits of fake news from the American corporate media.

        1. Trump has removed the bust of MLK from the white house. This was just something they were tweeting about, without asking for any verification from the Trump admin. They took the word of one of their fellow incompetents. It was all a total lie, the bust was right there but the idiot hadn’t noticed it. This aspect of Spicer’s “fake news” comments is never mentioned because it is a slam dunk

        2. The NYT propaganda where they showed a picture of the empty-ish Mall earlier in the day next to the height of the 2009 Obama inauguration crowd.

        Spicer was just addressing fake news. Trump is busy doing other things while the media is obsessing over this complete non-issue.

        Now to the assertion that this kind of lying is totally abnormal in American politics. Do you follow American politics? This is completely normal. The Dem approved slogan of “hands up, don’t shoot” is 100% a vile lie, proven so even by an investigation by Obama’s politicized DOJ.

        How about the current Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile. Her emails to the Clinton Campaign were leaked by wikileaks. She had sent the Clinton campaign verbatim copies of questions before the debates. The entire thing was so shameful. CNN had a fake town hall. Hillary cheated. None of it matters to the liberal press.

        Brazile made the mistake of going on Fox News. They asked her about this scandal. She said:

        1. she is a Christian and will not accept being persecuted (huh?)

        2. The Russians have doctored some emails

        Notice she doesn’t confirm nor deny what she did. Notice that she doesn’t confirm nor deny that she sent those emails. instead she just refers to emails being doctored in general. In fact, there has not been one single case of anyone claiming that one of their released emails was edited. Notice she won’t answer the question in any meaningful way, instead falling back on silly, dishonest talking points used by all of the Clinton allies when asked about their misdeeds exposed by wikileaks, This is not some loon off the street, this is the current head of the Democratic National Committee.

        So what is it that you like about this type of lying? Is it a more nuanced, sophisticated lying that you prefer? This is what you can respect? Help me to understand how you think that any of this is new, help me to understand how you have fallen for this silly “post-facts” propaganda narrative.

      • I’m interested in hearing more about this paradigm shift into a post facts culture. How about Bill Clinton? Surely you’ve heard of the former president, the most popular living Democrat? He’s the guy who said that he didn’t lie about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky because she touched him but he didn’t touch her. She had sexual relations with him but he didn’t have sexual relations with her. This was the only way he could avoid admitting to perjury, given the semen stain evidence.

        He also famously said, under oath, “it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”. They had asked him if he had lied to his top advisers and he really did say, under oath, “it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”, and he was defended at every turn by the leftist media.

        Imagine if you asked a business partner a direct question like “are you stealing from me?” and he told you “no”. Then later when you have proof he had been continuously stealing from you all along, he says ‘I didn’t lie to you, at the exact moment you asked me that question I was not stealing from you, I was sitting in a chair talking with you. You see, it depends on what your definition of “are” is”.

        This kind of lying is the good kind, right? You must be some come kind of connoisseur of high brow lying. Regular people are all confused about this new earth shaking post facts world though. Tell me more about this paradigm shift, this new world we are living in, it’s interesting stuff.

  18. Francisco: “Even if they lie, politicians’ lies are based on facts”. Trevor Noah, nailed it admirably in his show “Adapting to Donald Trump’s lies”. Obama, Bill Clinton, Reagan, Bush senior, Bush junior, name any one of them, they lie based on facts. Not so Donald Trump and Chavez. They expect a cultist (or telepreacher) like suspension of disbelief, and an equally fanatical defense of whatever they say. Something you’d associate with Jim Jones and David Koresh. I am optimistic, though, that Trump won’t be given the opportunity to create a proper cult before the inevitable scandals occupy, paralyze and ultimately end his administration. The cult is not that big yet. There’s the Democrats, and a good chunk of the Republican Party who didn’t support him. Let’s hope they feel compelled to act when facts become too obvious to temporize or excuse.

    • This is the best summary I’ve seen so far. ALL politicians lie to some extent. However, they have some measure to their lies. For example, for the sake of argument, if Obama said “you can keep your doctors” and people were not able to, the lie is still within the realm of argumentativeness. Did ALL people lose their doctors? Did SOME people keep their doctors? It then becomes either a half-lie or a half-truth or an obfuscation.

      However, lying about thousands of Muslims celebrating on 9/11 jumps into the realm of alternate reality. It’s like lying about whether it’s day or night outside or whether 2+2=5. It’s a lie that is so insanely bold and runs so counter to what is empirically observable that it essentially disables any notion of the truth. The point isn’t the truth, it’s communicating the lie to the base while keeping your opposition off balance. If it weren’t so damned corrosive to good governance it would be almost commendable.

  19. These comparisons to Trump seem to be metastasizing and I think you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Not only are you comparing apples to oranges, the two countries are very different woth different problems. Do you do this to to gin up some controversy on slow news days. Trump has been president for less than a week. Do you think this is a valid sample.just how long have the Chavistas ruled? Do you do this to burnish your credentials as a liberal/progessive in the akward situation of opposing an avowedly leftist government. And have you given any thougjht o the effect of your musings about Trump. Obama didnt do spit for you folks ; is it your stategy to poison the well with him and his supporters. I find this all, foolish, unnecessary and counterproductive. Having said this my views on Venezuela have not changed. I wish that you gain your country back from the abyss.

  20. When I want to read about Venezuela, I come to this site. When I want to read about the US, I go to some few American sites. I do that because I believe locals write better about their countries than foreigners do. While I think that Toro is really great when writing about Venezuela, and I even have some of his texts saved in my browser’s bookmark, I don’t really think that he can write about American society without escaping the usual clichés nor I believe that he can grasp American society’s peculiarities that well. I don’t either, but I go to sites that do and try to learn with them, one of them being the great Commentary Magazine, for example.

    And this last wave of articles on America’s politics here can only represent what Emiliana has already put in words in her last text. They are tired of MUD, they are tired of Maduro, they are tired of protests, they are tired of Capriles, they are tired of mass murder, torture and injustice.

    Simply put, they are tired of Venezuela.

    And I don’t blame you, since you have been very brave for more than a decade, fighting the good fight year after year, but if you don’t have the will to focus on Venezuela anymore, just close this site in a honourable way and relaunch a new one on US/Canada politics, and what else more are you current interests. There’s no shame in doing that. We can only be thankful for what you guys have already done.

  21. hey Toro, didn’t know you were a shameless democrat.

    Did you wrote a piece about the lies of the Obama administration? How about Crooked Killary?
    #YouCanKeepYourDoctor #IRS #Benghazi

    you seem a brainwashed fool by following the script of the corrupt mainstream media.

    Just focus on reporting about that hellhole where you guys are living. We already saved ourselves from Obama’s socialist policies.

  22. don’t think Quico has ever met a narcopath like Trump. I have worked for a few. In America you can find them running successful companies. The personality disorder does not relegate them to failure as you can see with your own eyes. They may fail in may areas but some of them know their shit and Trump is on to something. I look back on the Obama era and realize the crock of shit that I took from democrats and lefty types over my views on Iran. My views not radical when compared to the views of the new secretary of defense and the new national security advisor. The new press secretary is an idiot that time will sort out. Understand this crew has no political experience and is very top down. El jefe tambien tiene que aprender.

    Regarding the comments by Benjamin, he is correct, the dossier is fake. The same group went after Boyd, Alek Boyd: Fusion GPS. Boyd even had those fuckers over for dinner while they where stabbing him in the back on behalf of the Derwick boys. Regarding “The Intercept” that Benjamin cites, that rag is red, redder. They work with the Golingers and Wilperts of the disinformation world and publish crap on Venezuela.

    Marc, I’m with you. Total lack of serious discourse in CC about the US and Venezuela. This is just like the false dialogue in Venezuela. Why does CC write in English? Who is CC target audience? American decision and policy makers? American media? American think-tanks? American corporations? CC does peddle a product.

    Quico, get it in your head that the US-Venezuela relation is important. Why did Chavez spend his tenure detaching Venezuela from the US then prophesizing about invasions? I would be paying a little more attention to what is going on because it seems you are clueless. You do know people in the know so there’s no excuse.

    I think the Russians are calling the shots in Venezuela. I know there are American hostages in Venezuela. I know TRex and Igor Sechin are pals. I know Rosneft owns Citgo and soon PDVSA. I think the future of Venezuela is being decided by external powers!

  23. Follow up: I know Quico thinks the US is important by his frequent opinion pieces in Wapo and others. I have a lot of respect for Quico and am proud of him. You obviously want America to do something. I saw how excited you got over the AP food corruption piece that you even wrote about it in Wapo. I assume you want American law enforcement to look into this but you gotta aim higher cause you’re missing the big picture.

  24. Quico, do you know what Eve Winifre aka Eva Golinger does now? She works full time for the Russians against Trump. She’s done working for Venezuela and Ecuador. She’s an anti-Trump activist at the service of Vladimir Putin.

    Quico, you are doing what she does instead of discussing the current state of US-Venezuela relations. Your foreign minister just spent 3 days in DC during the inaguaration charting out the future of your country. The Russian foreign ministry’s Venezuela policy is being dictated by Igor Sechin (not Lavrov) and is being coordinated with Delcy. President Trump has a decision to make on the American hostage. Lots of things happening!

    • ” She’s an anti-Trump activist at the service of Vladimir Putin.”

      Which is kinda stupid and absurd, given the fact that Trump wants to improve the relations between Russia and USA.

      But again, eva golilla is just hysterically stupid, so there’s that.

  25. This is a great blog. I recommend it to my friends. As an outsider and as best as I can determine, his analysis and prescriptions for Venezuela are absolutely correct and his admonitions about Trump have merit, although he is premature in his predictions.

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