Nick Casey, who blocked me on Twitter last year even though I barely interacted with him, wrote an article that ran with the headline, “Venezuela’s New Leaders Begin Their March Toward Total Control.”
He wrote, "In a contentious election on Sunday, Mr. (Nicolas) Maduro instructed Venezuelans to choose delegates from a list of allies in the governing party. Voters were not given the option of rejecting the plan."
The opposition boycotted the vote! He never mentions it in the article. Amazing. The opposition was not barred from running. President Maduro has also committed to a referendum on the work of the National Constituent Assembly. Readers will also not learn that the convening of a Constitutional Assembly, and its broad powers, are provided for under Venezuela’s 1999 Constitution which was ratified in a referendum.
The debate over its constitutional validity hinges on whether an initiating referendum is required. The relevant articles (347, 348) are far from explicit or clear that either an initiating or final referendum on its proposed revisions to the constitution is required. The indirect constitutional arguments for a final referendum, for obvious reasons, are much stronger, but Maduro has committed to one. Also, the opposition did not just boycott the vote: its supporters perpetrated lethal acts of violence to prevent people from voting.
Maduro has also very emphatically committed to the constitutionally required presidential election in 2018. Casey may well respond that he doesn’t believe Maduro will follow through, but how believable is a reporter who doesn’t even report these two extremely important commitments, and who totally misleads readers about the ANC?
I wouldn’t blame casual readers for assuming, based on Casey’s article and the deluge of attacks on Maduro in corporate media around the world, that the ANC is something Maduro just dreamed up and that the opposition was barred from participation.
Casey cites a death toll from the protests (125) but ignores how it breaks down.
Casey also mentioned, "Diosdado Cabello, a powerful former military chief who participated in a coup in the 1990s with Mr. (Hugo) Chavez."
Chavez' coup attempt in 1992 – and it was an “attempt” he never did seize power and he served two years in jail for it – was considered relevant background by Casey, but not the briefly successful military coup in April of 2002 perpetrated by the core opposition leaders of today that was openly applauded by the editorial voice of Casey’s newspaper.
Casey quotes Maria Corina Machado uncritically. Machado signed the infamous Carmona Decree in April of 2002 that annulled the 1999 Constitution, dismissed the Supreme Court, and dismissed the National Assembly under the short-lived dictatorship of Pedro Carmona. About 60 Chavistas were killed while Carmona was in power.
Machado, Leopoldo Lopez and others avoided prison thanks to (in my opinion) an unwise amnesty that Chavez granted them in 2007. Henrique Capriles served only six months in jail for kidnapping a government official during the coup. Lopez also participated in that kidnapping.
Updated Aug. 19, 2017
Nick Casey sent me a “private” email in response to this blog post the other day and I replied to him.
He said he blocked me on Twitter because I had threatened him, that I have insinuated he wrote the infamous 2002 New York Times editorial backing the coup when in fact he was only 16 years old at the time, that he respects my point of view, and that if I were less angry I would get more readers.
I replied as follows:
"Hi Nick, I was threatening? What an outrageous allegation to make. Here is a link of the only Twitter exchange we ever had.
Your side of the exchange isn’t visible because you blocked me, but if you log out and go to the link you’ll see your side. In part of the exchange I was responding to somebody with the handle @latergregomundo who jumped in to defend your reporting. You were also tagged in that part of the thread. That account has been suspended for some reason, so that side isn’t visible either, so I will fill in some context that isn’t visible.
That person started asking me how much teleSUR paid me to write for them and saying it was “easy” for me to write from Canada. I replied by saying he/she should ask you how much you make and where you live in Venezuela and see what you’d tell him or her (the insinuation being you’d, rightly, tell him/her to go to hell). It’s indicative of the way you work that you throw out a serious allegation and leave to me to dig up the facts.
Saying that I somehow suggested or insinuated that you had a hand in writing the infamous 2002 editorial is utter nonsense.
I don’t your respect your work, your newspaper or your “point of view." We have fundamentally different values and objectives."
Venezuela Solidarity March In Brazil
I have gone back and forth over the years on my position on the ethics of releasing private correspondence with corporate journalists. In this particular case, the incredible arrogance of a reporter who sends me an unsolicited email making really dumb allegations combined (bizarrely) with patronizing advice on how to get more readers, made this an easy call.
Also, despite how fashionable and useful it is for liberal elites to dump on their white supremacist president, liberal outlets like the New York Times paved the way for him to occupy the White House. Note that liberals can only raise tactical objections to Trump’s military threat against Venezuela. The preferred liberal approach is indirect economic sanctions, propaganda cover for murderous racists inside Venezuela, and the use of corrupt regional allies like Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay and Brazil.
Please read the piece FAIR just did on another example of the continuous stream of empire-serving lies that Casey produces for the Times.
First published in ZBlog on Aug. 6, 2017.