Editorial Commentary / Opinion
VenEconomy :Sneaky tactics
One of the tactics employed by the Chávez administration’s propaganda machine is to “inform” the foreign press while deliberately excluding the independent national press.
This tactic would seem to be based on the supposition that the foreign press accredited in Venezuela is less familiar with the country’s domestic affairs than the local press and that, consequently, foreign journalists will be less of a “nuisance” and less prone to put “embarrassing” questions. Besides, foreign correspondents find it very difficult to challenge the half truths and twisting of the facts the Venezuelan Government is wont to orchestrate so ably.
A case in point was this Wednesday’s press conference (August 5) called by the President of the Republic to give his version of the affair of the Venezuelan AT-4 rocket launchers, made in Sweden and seized by the Álvaro Uribe administration from the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
At this press conference, Chávez stated that the AT-4s found in the FARC’s possession belonged to a batch of weapons stolen by the murderers responsible for the attack on Cararabo Navy Base in 1995. This is a somewhat feeble version of the facts, which contradicts the Venezuelan Government’s original version that these weapons had been forged and the serial numbers altered and is just as weak. Not only that, the President’s explanations left many loose ends that were not picked up by the foreign correspondents. For example:
If these weapons disappeared in 1995, why is there no documentary record of this, given that the attack on Cararabo was an incident that rocked the country?
If the weapons were stolen in 1995, why did not the Chávez Government immediately say so when it learned of Colombia’s accusation? And why has it not responded to the Swedish Government’s request for an explanation, given that international rules condition the sale of weapons of war to an undertaking by the purchaser to not allow them to fall into terrorist hands?
If that were, indeed, true, why did the Chávez Government take two weeks to call the press conference to offer its explanation of the affair?
It should also have clarified how these weapons ended up in the hands of the FARC, particularly since the perpetrators of the Cararabo massacre belonged to the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia, the FARC’s archenemies. And what was an antitank weapon doing in a border area in the middle of the jungle such as Cararabo?
The President also needs to explain what the Venezuelan Navy (the branch of the armed forces responsible for Cararabo) was doing with rocket launchers belonging to the Venezuelan Army.
And if his government is in no way responsible for these incidents, why did it not settle the impasse by diplomatic means, and why has it gone to the extreme of suspending trade with its second largest trading partner?
Will the foreign correspondents be able to understand the human cost that this closing of the border ordered by Chávez will have? Will they understand that it will not be easy to substitute imports of essential goods that come from Colombia and that imports from Argentina or Brazil need six to eight months to reach Venezuela?
Will they realize that this decision by the Venezuelan Government is condemning the Venezuelan people to greater shortages and scarcity in these inflationary times.
VenEconomy has been a Venezuela's leading specialized publisher on financial, political and economic data since 1982. VenEconomy's Points of View on the issues of the day, as seen by VenEconomy during the last week. Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This commentary was originally published by VeneEconomy on 08/07/2009. Petroleumworld reprint this article in the interest of our readers .
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Petroleumworld News 08/10/09
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