[Toni Solo takes a critical look at a piece in yesterday's 'Observer' by John Carlin entitled "Revealed: Chávez role in cocaine trail to Europe". The BoRev.net blog also criticises Carlin's piece. Click here to read the BoRev post. To see Carlin's 'Observer' piece click here.]
The Observer Exclusive: Hugo Chavez is President of Venezuela
February 3rd 2008, by toni solo
Majority world opinion was not stunned on February 3rd when the UK Observer’s web site reported a fact about Venezuela. Perhaps it should have been. After extensive investigative research with my own insecure image in the mirror, I can reveal that this undiplomatic low-level unintelligent source commented, “well, chop me off at the knees and call me tripod….” Fact : Hugo Chavez is the Venezuelan President.
John Carlin’s anti-Chavez propaganda piece, datelined the February 3rd, really does contain just that single item of substance, buried deep inside yet another fact-impoverished Observer report on Venezuela. It is the only relevant substantive fact in the article. The rest of Carlin’s piece consists almost entirely of allegations plucked from thin air and quotations from Colombian government patsies or from unidentified “high-level security, intelligence and diplomatic sources”.
Carlin’s main allegations are that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) depend heavily on Venezuelan support and that the Venezuelan civil and military authorities facilitate FARC narcotics dealing on a large scale as a matter of policy. He alleges, “Thirty per cent of the 600 tons of cocaine smuggled from Colombia each year goes through Venezuela.” But he offers no fact-based argument to support that claim. It seems to be based on a US State Department report which Carlin does not acknowledge.
Then he portentously asserts “In the end Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro made a public pronouncement in Uruguay in which he said, without addressing the substance of the allegations, that they were part of a ‘racist’ and ‘colonialist’ campaign against Venezuela by the centre-left Spanish newspaper El País, where I originally wrote about Farc and the Venezuelan connection.” Why should the Venezuelan authorities respond to allegations that have, in fact, no substance?
Carlin as US propaganda shill : drugs and terror
Before looking a bit more closely at Carlin’s self-evidently dishonest and insincere reporting, it needs placing in relation to the current campaign by the Bush regime and its allies in the European Union to discredit the government of Hugo Chavez. Recently US Drug Enforcement Agency official and US Southern Command military officers have accused the Chavez administration of failing to act forcefully to prevent narcotics trafficking and of being a destabilizing influence in the region. Carlin’s piece is likely to be recycled endlessly in mainstream media as “proof” of Venezuelan government links to narcotics and “terror”.
Recent US government accusations against Venezuela follow Venezuela’s own decision to cut links with the DEA because the Venezuelan authorities believed the DEA was itself trafficking drugs. In a January 22nd press conference this year, Nestor Reverol of Venezuela’s National Anti-Drugs Office said, “It is interesting that the US authorities say that, by third year in a row, Venezuela does not collaborate in the fight against drugs and that at the same time, the UN World Drug Report 2007 certifies that, also by the third year in a row, Venezuela is the third country with the largest seizures of drugs worldwide. It appears on pages 78 and 79 of that report…”
(click here to view entire article)