With 2017 ending as one of the worst years for press freedom in Venezuela, the official hegemony has decided to counter reality with their own narrative: The Bolivarian Republic is actually under attack by the Empire’s malicious press. What’s their evidence? A “listing” of “negative news”.

Nicolás Maduro spoke about it recently and the dictatorship’s international channel, Telesur, followed through with an error-laden and deliberately vague piece intended to present themselves as victims and avoid any real debate about Venezuela.

Of course, the actual count hasn’t been made available to the public. Maduro said Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza gave him a report. That’s all. No details about methodology or the reasoning to point out the U.S. of A. as the main culprit. Zero links to underlying data. The usual.

Accusing “media corporations from the U.S.” is strange. Many on the list aren’t exactly corporations, others aren’t from the U.S.: the Associated Press (AP) which is a non-profit cooperative involving a number of U.S. print and broadcast outlets (some represented in AP’s Board of Directors), and Agence France-Press (AFP) is, duh, French. And fully independent from their government.

But the discussion of what really is a corporation and their countries of origin is besides the point; this is about demonizing the media and avoiding responsibility. In the official narrative, private media is a mercenary cabal of evil, capitalist, imperialist U.S.A. and its domestic lackeys, all to create chaos in the peaceful chavista dream. Period.

The very same government that made it difficult (if not impossible) for foreign correspondents to cover the country, blocked international TV channels, shut down local radio stations, harrased journalists and let non-friendly newspapers die, wants to show itself as victim of a “media war”. But to do so they give us numbers that we can’t check on the basis of a methodology they don’t share. Because for them, news agencies should be focused in public relations. Like the hegemony’s AVN.

The icing on the cake: they’re also getting involved in the “fake news” trend.

Girish Gupta, the Reuters’ journalist who, sadly, is about to leave Venezuela, puts it best:

36 COMMENTS

    • What, exactly, is news that you (anyone) wants to hear? What is it that is important?

      The whole process of “news” is an editorial selection of what to cover and publish. As if that were not manipulation enough, this has come to be extended to how to characterize what is covered and published.

      Maybe the CC guys could define what news is, and what the process is, but I think it’s fairly well-known that keeping records of Honors graduates in high schools doesn’t make the cover of the NY Times. I think one aspect of “what is news?” is local. Hardly anyone in Maine cares much about surf conditions in Australia, and hardly anyone in Australia cares much about inches of snow in Maine – for example.

      But the major news chains have come around to hiding news, and slanting news. E.g. the characterization of a “defensive war” as opposed to an “aggression”. Or more in the U.S. national attention, “undocumented immigrants” as opposed to “illegal aliens”, or “dreamers” as opposed to “invaders”, or “peaceful” as opposed to “terrorists”. This is done to such an extent that would-be readers or would-be “believers” are left scratching their heads over where to find out what actually is going on, and how that affects them.

      The real importance of all this is as the article states, and it can be going on for a long time. The undercurrents of politics are not often reported on with any impact, nor is any indication given of how those “unknown” currents will affect the levels of the political ocean in years to come – as happened in Venezuela.

    • Jose…right-leaning, left-leaning, that’s all meaningless in this context. Anything besides Telesur or VTV is obviously a far right wing, imperialist, fascist organization hell bent on destruction of the Bolivarian utopia through information warfare.

    • “f… Reuters is not even gringa, it is British and rather left leaning in its coverage if you ask me.”
      You are ignoring the fact that any news in English, specially from a news agency with not enough vowels in its name, would be perceived by the “pueblo” as originated from the evil empire to the North. The government knows that and counts on it!

  1. “Maduro said Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza gave him a report. That’s all. No details about methodology or the reasoning to point out the U.S. of A. as the main culprit. Zero links to underlying data. The usual.”

    But why? is what few ask. It’s not sheer ignorance or clumsiness. Not even malicious maladroitness.

    It’s because of the massive under-education of their Target Audience.

    They don’t care about somewhat educated observers, people with a sens of critical analysis. Most of them, like 95% of the readers of these blogs, or the estimated 2.8 Million of people who left the country, or Girish Gupta here, about to leave, couldn’t possibly care less about international opinion or educated opinion.

    Estan claros: their target audience for these absurd, unsubstantiated “Guerra Economica” claims is a sadly ignorant, clueless populace, totally incapable of asking themselves about “methodologies”, incapable of any semblance of skeptical reasoning when faced with false statistics.

    That’s the Target Audience. And they know it very well. It’s like lying to small children: very easy.

    And yet, even smart, educated people like Girish here, or millions of international observers are constantly “amazed” – as he puts it – be these blunt, empty media campaigns:

    It’s the Chavista under-educated Target Audience Girish, not you. And as we’ve seen for 18 years now, apparently it works. They keep getting fooled over and over. So don’t under-estimate Cuban-Chavusta media strategies, they are carefully tailored for their ignorant consumers, thus quite effective.

    • Poeta spot on criticism as always! If you actually live in Venezuela, you know this is the honest truth. Until everyday Venezuelans start pointing the finger of blame at themselves, and want to change for the better, we will never get out of this mess.

      Personal antidote to illustrate this:

      I caught hell from the corrupt condominium association at the apartment building because I was hauling 5-6 botellones (18.9 liter plastic jugs) of water up the lift on a regular basis. They were claiming that I was responsible for lift running like most everything runs in Venezuela (chimbo) and it was because because of too much weight (and of course “my fault”). After several minutes of these miserable c*nts yelling and screaming at me, I decided that I would try to reason with these savages and try to fight fire with water by throwing some very basic science at them.

      1. Ok, I am a fat ass and weigh 100 kilos.

      2. 1 liter of water weights 1 kilo. BASIC SCIENCE!!!

      3. The lift is regulated for 350 kilos.

      I dont need to add this up for any of you. Furthermore, I even tried to explain this as if I was a grade school teacher trying to explain this to 3rd graders. Nevertheless, this was completely incomprehensible for these lot and it just infuriated them even more.

      By the end I was just shouting: 1 liter of water weighs 1 kilo!!!! 1 liter of water weights 1 kilo!!!! 1 liter of water weights 1 kilo!!!!

      To put a long story short: you cant reason with stupid.

      There is no “gloria bravo pueblo”. It is only “que lastima pueblo chimbo”.

  2. I think people both knowledgeable people and ordinary people pay absolutely no attention to this kind of regime propaganda , they dont because the regime long ago lost the last shred of any credibility it may have had , once , some months ago , in a queue full of mostly barrio dwellers waiting for some staple or other to be sold , I said out loudly ‘so this is the result of the economic war’ to which every one int he queue responded ‘you nuts …this is the result of the govts bosses corruption …dont be naive’……., the Regime media spokepersons are speaking to an imaginary audience which only exists in their fantasies ……. !! , ask a barrio dweller whether they have ever heard of AP, or Reuters or France Press , and they will look at you with total befuddlement …….

    The regime says these things just to hear themselves speak , to make believe to themselves that by saying these nonsensical things they are convincing people of their status as victims of the foreign meanies …..their thing is to make loud noises in a vain attempt to distract attention from the things that really matter and which are biting all venezuelans in the butt !!

    If you out of the kindness of your heart listened to what they were saying the first question which would have to be asked is why do you assumme that when negative news are reported they must be false , when every single hour of your day is spent living the negative things that happen in our suffering country.!!

    • “to which every one int he queue responded ‘you nuts …this is the result of the govts bosses corruption …dont be naive’””

      Yet we still have people show up at our bodega regularly, complain about the prices, and then comment that it’s because there are warehouses full of rice, sugar, pasta, and all sorts of other stuff that’s not being distributed to the pueblo until the prices are high enough…..that’s to say………AN ECONOMIC WAR.

      My response to them is always the same……………explain to me how there can be warehouses full of rice, sugar, pasta, whatever, that’s not being sold to the pueblo until prices reach a certain level when chavistas have had control of the government, the ports, the armed forces, the alcabalas, the dollars, and just about everything else in the country for almost 20 years? Are you telling me this government doesn’t know where the warehouses are? If they don’t know, then what kind of government do we have? If they do know and let them exist unmolested, then is there really an economic war in progress?

      Those questions are, of course, typically followed by blanks stares and crickets.

      In that regard, Venezuela is not unique. In the States, I heard the same sort of thing for years in rural areas (and some not so rural) when I was working the oilfields. Oldtimer: “XYZ oil company drilled a well just down the road from us last year. They say it was dry, but there’s oil there, they’re just not going to produce it until the price gets right, they’ve plugged the well even though it could produce thousands of barrels a day”.

      My personal experience was that ANY well that could be produced and cover the cost of production and make a profit for the company was brought on line as quickly as possible and produced at the highest rate possible without otherwise damaging the formation. Market prices at the moment were irrelevant. Only when lifting costs prevented profitable production due to low market prices for the product was a well “capped” or plugged.

      • Good riposte.
        For the PSF that propagate the myth, an additional riposte is to point out the reduced imports from 2013 to present.

        I heard the oil myth from a neighbor who was born and raised in the Permian Basin. Ironically, the Permian Basin is now a big wind energy and fracked oil source- though neither were being exploited when I first heard the myth.

        I first heard the oil myth in Paraguay from a long-time American resident who used to work for the World Bank. “Stroessner is waiting for the oil prices to rise before they get produced.” As if Big Al were the decision maker for the oil companies that had drilled the wells. I later saw some well reports for some of those Paraguayan gushers: “dry well.” Big Al wasn’t waiting for anything. (One historical irony is that a leading factor in the Boliva-Paraguay war in the 1930s was Paraguay wanting to get O&G resources in the Chaco. As it turned out, the part of the Chaco that remained with Bolivia was the part that produced O&G- mainly gas.)

        Another myth is the carburetor that the oil companies or the auto companies bought up- I have heard as early as the 1930s- which would have given tremendous miles per gallon.

      • The FAO is generally a black hole when it comes to Venezuela, as the FAO doesn’t have much data for Venezuela beyond 2013. Nonetheless, there are occasionally some gems that appear.

        Cereals,Total Area harvested ha
        2004 1,082,143
        2005 1,068,623
        2006 1,184,047
        2007 1,115,072
        2008 1,198,059
        2009 1,170,329
        2010 1,024,857
        2011 990,720
        2012 880,738
        2013 921,820
        2014 890,391
        2015 654,509
        2016 520,098

        Cereals,Total Production, metric tonnes
        2004 3,663,956
        2005 3,583,934
        2006 4,044,300
        2007 4,008,055
        2008 4,107,467
        2009 3,711,867
        2010 3,664,849
        2011 3,429,024
        2012 3,311,726
        2013 3,693,974
        2014 3,597,762
        2015 2,294,532
        2016 1,782,326

        We see that production was fairly consistent from 2004-2014, until it crashed in 2016. Production fell 50.5% from 2014 to 2016.. Similarly, the area harvested in 2016 fell some 42 % from the area harvested in 2014.

        So when a customer of your bodega complains about hoarding, you can point out that according to the UN’s FAO- an institution which has tended to be friendly to Chavismo ( Gustavo Coronel has the goods)- inform them that grain production dropped by 50% from 2014-2016.

        As you well know, but many of your customers apparently do not, if Polar had warehouses filled to the brim with corn for producing harina pan, Polar would produce it.

        FAO has a disclaimer: “Aggregate, may include official, semi-official, estimated or calculated data.”

        http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#country/236

        • 2014 890,391
          2015 654,509
          2016 520,098

          Thanks for the numbers Boludo Tex. Interesting to say the least.

          About the only grain produced in this area is corn. I’d bet grain sorghum wouldn’t even account for 1% of the total crop though it’s well-suited for this area, especially late plantings because it doesn’t require the rainfall that a successful corn crop requires.

          Based on my visual observations, I’d bet here locally that the hectars planted in corn in 2016 compared to 2015 was down by over 50%, and this last year’s crop was down about 80% from that of 2016! I’m not kidding.

          I can’t vouche for outside my immediate area though I’ve had producers from the neighboring state of Monagas tell me the same, that their hectars planted were way down this year over last and EVERYONE had the same story……that they eventually found seed to plant but urea and fertilizer were nowhere to be found. Of course, you can imagine how that impacted yields. So, low acreage planted, low yields, lost money, roaring inflation, no spare parts, etc etc etc.

          And here it is the 10th of January and two local owners of harvesters told me this morning that their machines are already parked at home with no work. Our grain harvest here normally kicks into high gear in late October and runs through mid Feb. This year I didn’t buy my first kilo of corn until the 21st of November and may have bought my last on the 27th of December. I’m trying to buy at least 5,000 kilos more from the last local bit to be harvested next week by a buddy, but buyers are now circling like buzzards. I’m afraid I might get stiffed.

          We’re going to be in a serious bind shortly.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. Chavismo is trying to fight an imaginary media war that they lost years ago.

      Even WITH closing down opposition media!

      They’re fighting by the standards of 50 years ago, totally ignorant that the calendar now reads 2018, with all of its technological/media advancements.

  3. Latest negative news from reuters , Bopec , the pdvsa owned tank farm and terminal in Bonaire , where venezuelan crude and crude and products from elsewhere are blended to load the oil that is sent to china to repay the loans they ve given the regime …..has been given a weeks notice by the Bonaire authorities that if they dont make the necessary repairs necessary for the run down installations to operate in safety Pdvsa operating license will be withdrawn forcing Pdvsa to shut the installation down ……!! The Chinese are not going to like that …maybe the pursuit of a forced fight with the antilles seeks to justify whats going to happen , the suspension of new deliveries of the oil sent China to pay for the huge pending debts of the regime with China …!!

    • A big nothing-burger. Just give the tank farm and terminal or whatever to the Chinese in exchange for more “loans”. Problem solved.

      • Easy on paper Gringo not so easy in fpractice , changing ownership requires to get a Chinese company to agree to accepting the transfer, agreeing on a price , on the contract terms , gettting the required approvals and then the licensing procedure is separate and would still require making the needed repairs which cost money and take time to carry out , meantime you would have to stop using the terminal and thus making the payments to China …….., all of this is moot however because where Pdvsa or the Govt is declared in default (as is happening right now) , creditors would be able to go for the money involved in the transaction and effectively block the operation altogether until they get paid or they might attach or seize any crude belonging to Pdvsa or the govt which is stored in the facility…remember the facility is subject to the jurisdiction of Bonaires courts which in turn operate under the Dutch court system , not venezuelan courts which the regime controls ……so what you have here is a poisoned burger if you like using metaphors .

        • Thank you for that explanation. Not that you didn’t get it, but for the record I was being sarcastic, with a not-so-veiled reference to the socialist leanings of one Hillary Clinton and facile solutions in general … but it is nice to know that the regime cannot continue to give away properties based outside the country, and if I read you correctly, the regime cannot continue to receive more “loans”, thanks partly to the Trump sanctions and mostly by the default which would allow creditors to go after those new loans. So the regime is really in a financial bind – one of their own making, and it has been a long time coming, an enormous waste of resources. Let me know if I got this wrong.

    • I am curious to see what happens with the Citgo assets now that the 2020 bonds are in a declared default.
      Rosneft is holding the paper guaranteed by 49,9% and the other bond holders that may well include Rosneft are holding 51.1%.
      The default allowed for the transfer of Citgo stock to the bond holders. Many other corporations with interests in being paid money owed by PDVSA or the government want a piece or want to be senior to the 2020 bondholders.
      The vultures are circling. The lawyers stand to make fortunes before this is settled. The amount and variety of claims are going to make this very complicated.

  4. The word “stupid” today is used to describe very different conditions. It can be used to describe anyone you disagree with politically. It can also mean ignorant, as in someone who doesn’t know something but is not otherwise impaired. Finally, it can mean lack of intelligence as in dumb. As an outsider, I notice this board frequently uses the word to describe Chavista supporters. What is the education divide in Venezuela between say high school graduates and those wirh more education. And it is a bit suprising that a socialist country after these many years would have an uneducated core as your posts suggest. Cuba for example is always touting education and healthcare achievements by its communist regime.

    • People do as they are taught. You speak English because you were taught that. Try learning the Chinese a billion people are fluent in. Now try teaching someone told to be a good socialist how to be a good capitalist, and you get the same blank stare you get if I were writing in Chinese or in isfdfgjkewrftl;wetruidzfutvvnbunadj. See?

      The missing ingredient is logic. You can stare at a chess puzzle for hours, and not see the solution which is clearly sitting right there in front of your face. You may even swear it’s a trick, and there is no solution there. Once you see the solution, it’s a piece of cake. A to B and B to C. Simple. It’s the same for someone who has never been exposed to supply and demand. They’ve been taught that the government supplies all demand. Anyone who says any different is stupid. Here’s your pernil.

    • Ok, to quantify or qualify “stupid” could literally be a phd dissertation. Nevertheless we all know what it means. And for the sake of not writing a novel, lets just call stupid, stupid.

      Venezuelans who go and live and study abroad are no different than Colombians, Argentinians or Gringos in terms of grades, test scores or whatever. So lets not try to make this a racial argument or whatever. It is not. That said, the best and brightest are the ones who go overseas and we are experiencing a severe crisis of brain drain here.

      But lets get to the bottom of this: try sending your kids to school here. They do nothing all day long. The teachers are completely demoralized because of the low pay. It seems like there are more days off than there are actual days in the classroom. Simon Bolivar ripped a fart on this day in 1801 and they get a day off of school (ok an exaggeration, but try being a parent who works full time here and dealing with days off almost every week). About the only thing they have to show for what they do in school are stupid projects they make with anime (Styrofoam) or some retarded project. Really I would rather homeschool if that were an option. The education system here is an absolute disaster. So that in a nutshells is just one example of how you make “stupid.”

      As for high school education, yes, there are some good private schools. Then you have a tier below that for the rapidly diminishing middle class. Please do not try to compare this to a US public school that most of the middle class goes to in El Imperio. It is nothing like it. It is more like a house in a residential neighborhood converted into a school with very few resources. Your kids even have to bring their own toilet paper and no school lunches because of the economic situation today (and that is in a so called good neighborhood and good school). And below that you have the public schools of the state, which are cesspools with a few desks and a chalkboard and no ac.

      As for the university system…well again, UDO is nothing compared to Ohio State. Yes, there are good students and of course your university education is what you make out of it if you are a good student. Nevertheless, the universities are crumbling apart and there are very few major fields of study to choose from. But hey, this is reflective of Venezuelan society writ large. Furthermore, a disproportional number (really it is absurd number) of students study “law”– which should really be titled “professional corruption”. But hey, you got to educate future generations of enchufados to thrive in KLEPTOZUELA.

    • There’s a great quote that Cuba is the most literate nation on earth, with nothing of any value to read.

      The country has produced no literary greats. Communism killed all that.

      By the very nature of the subject believers of Chavismo are stupid:

      Yes, you can hope and dream for a better life and more “stuff,” but if you think these policies are going to give that to you, you’re a gullible idiot.

  5. Outside Venezuela no one believes these allegations , inside Venezuela the great mayority of Venezuelans blame the govt for whats happening and think the whole economic war thing is a fable of the regime to fools the most gullible and stupid of their fanatics ……..some fanatized very dumb people might believe it but they would be people that will WANT to believe the govt no matter what it says!! As Borges one said the saddest thing about tyrannies is that they make people stupid …….!!

  6. Can anyone seriously dispute the laughable levels of Gullibility, the abysmal prevalence of Sheer Ignorance, or the tragic Under-Education of the vast majority of our beloved pueblo-people?

    Apparently, some can.

    And yet this is the fundamental cause for all of Kleptozuela’s ailments. The root of all Chavistoide Evils.

  7. It’s the Chavista under-educated Target Audience Girish, not you. And as we’ve seen for 18 years now, apparently it works.
    =========

    That’s the crime and pity of it all. Most of these arguments, however sage, fall on deaf ears. My sense of it is that the whole works have to totally melt down before any reconstruction is possible.

  8. Does the”chavista under educated target audience” have a similar disregard for more educated Venezuelans. Have the Chavistas simply capitalized on an event, the political emergence of the Venezuelan under class?

    • Indeed. After 4 decades of being disregarded themselves, the majority of Venezuela’s population remained rather poor, under-educated, clueless, but especially alienated from the mainstream economy. They deeply resented that, creating a deep chasm between the “haves and have-nots”, or the “pueblo” people and the “burguesitos, sifrinos” middle and upper classes. (2.8 Million of which already left the country).

      Chavez recognized this strong resentment, a deep division, and aptly capitalized on it, being a product of that alienated under class himself. (except quite a bit smarter, charismatic and better educated than most – which wasn’t hard..). Chavismo is to this day the result of decades of alienation of the popular classes, the majority of rather ignorant people who were tired of being left out.

      Therefore, to some extent, we, the former middle and upper classes controlling the economy, the previous MUD (AD, Copey, etc) are clearly to blame for the emergence of pissed-off Chavistas, left out for decades. Chavistas spoke their language, brainwashed them with Populist crap, with their own colloquial expressions, easy to understand, easy to lie to offering false promises for “el pueblo”. In a sense, Venezuela’s Indian Revolt against a dominating, alienating Bourgeoisie of sorts was brewing for decades.

      The next Cuban-style steps were easy: continue the brainwash, control the media, reinforce the division between “burguesitos” and the less educated populace, intimidate them with military force (by bribing ang purging the entire Military), impoverish them, make them more dependent on the ‘gobielno’, and force them to PARTICIPATE in the massive corruption, in countless, bogus “ministerios”, inflated payrolls to the tune of 4 Million Enchufados, so that almost every one left becomes corrupt or at least complicit in the pilferage of Kleptozuela, one way or another. This while expelling most of the educated middle and upper classes, almost 3 Million of us, pa’que no pataleen, pa’que no critiquen, y pa que manden dolares pa’tras..

      But yeah, the under-educated populace was never educated, actually since Simon Bolivar (a Burguesito Sifrino himself) and especially during the 4 decades after the oil boom. Had some of these average people been incorporated in the economic processes of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and better educated, Chavismo’s infectious Populism would not have percolated as much. Now the under educated “pueblo” is finally incorporated into the economic mess, ignorant, incompetent but above all complicit and corrupt. Kleptozuela is the disastrous result of this deep social dichotomy brewing for decades.

    • One piece not mentioned much. When the Venezuelan government announced in 1976 that the major oil companies would be nationalized and their managements transitioned out, the major stabilizing free market capitalist groups in the country began to leave. A lot of Venezuelans took off with them. The very evident in-progress formation of a true middle class in the major metro areas started grinding to a halt. `By the 1980’s, severe inflation had already taken hold. Venezuelans are not unlike “nationalistic” groups in that, sure they’ll do business with foreigners, but the foreigners are always foreigners, and will never make important decisions. It’s heritage of famous or infamous Spanish-bred arrogance, I guess. It’s not unlike people in Maine: if you are not native Maine, then you are “from away”, and nothing you can ever do will ever change that. Same as , “You’re not f-r-o-m Texas, are you?” – that’s not a question, it’s an observation. Which state you’re from becomes just a curiosity; you’re not from Maine, and you’re not from Texas, and that’s the important part. But those upper-classy Venezolanos made their decisions almost in contemptuous opposite of what the foreigners recommended. From there, I can only point to what everyone here without exception has pointed to: rampant corruption, guisos, power grabs, and billions of dollars of oil money that grew wings and flew away to foreign lands.

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