Friday, January 11, 2008

He who shall not be named

Thankfully, the two hostages in Colombia have been released. A few weeks ago I noted that the U.S. government was trying to pretend it wasn’t happening because Hugo Chávez might end up looking good. Now, however, this is big news so the Bush administration could not ignore it anymore.

The State Department addressed the issue, and you really need to read the transcript. To their credit, the reporters pushed the spokesperson really hard on it, and you can tell that he tried as hard as possible not to say Chávez’s name and not even to insinuate that he played a positive role. [I discussed a similar thing about a year ago]. Here's how the tortured press conference ended:

QUESTION: Can I also ask you just by your choice of words earlier, you said you appreciate the leadership of President Uribe. Can you say that you also appreciate the assistance that President Chavez --

MR. CASEY: I said that we've welcomed --

QUESTION: I'm just wondering --

MR. CASEY: -- the good offices of anybody here. No, Matt, I'll leave it where I left it. Thanks.


QUESTION: Are you a little reluctant to give him credit for something?

MR. CASEY: Sue, look, I think I'll leave it to other people to add to this. I think I've said enough on this one already.


Anonymous,  8:23 AM  

The questions are good. It's nice to see journos cornering spin doctors. These PR tactics can be ridiculous.

Tambopaxi 11:24 AM  

What's the difference between Chavez and the State Department in the childish pequeneces department? Nada.

Greg Weeks 2:24 PM  

Well, one difference is that Chavez says what he is thinking (though often in bizarre ways) whereas this is just evasive and squirmy.

Anonymous,  3:21 PM  

Well Chavez also lies a lot. He is just careless

Justin Delacour 5:51 PM  

This is indeed quite funny.

Justin Delacour 6:00 PM  

Well Chavez also lies a lot.

I don't agree with that. Chavez says what's on his mind. Sometimes he gets his facts wrong and he is certainly prone to exaggeration, but to lie is to make claims that one knows not to be true. I haven't seen that from Chavez.

Anonymous,  6:01 PM  

Chavez is advocating that the FARC should be pulled off the list of terrorist organizations. Therefore, I applaud the State Department refusing to officially give credit to Chavez. What benefit would be derived from giving him credit? Some things are best left unsaid.

Greg Weeks 6:07 PM  

1) When has he lied?

2) Where is the link to the statement about the FARC? The FARC is 100% terrorist, so deserves to be on anyone's list.

Anonymous,  7:24 PM  

Of course Delacour. He didn't lie when he ran for office and said that Castro was a dictator and that he would never try to run for reelection.

Anonymous,  7:31 PM  

The list of lies is so long is embarassing. A few for your reference:

-"Voy a respetar los contratos de PDVSA"

-"Voy a regalarle la Guzmania a los pobres. Un presidente no debería tener una casa de veraneo tan lujosa".

-"Convertiré a Miraflores en la universidad más grande de Latinoamérica"

- "Bajo mi gobierno no habrá devaluación"

- "Me cambio el nombre si al primer año de gobierno siguen existiendo niños de la calle"

- "Ya autoricé convertir la Carlota en un fantástico parque temático, con olas artificiales..."

- "Mi gobierno no necesita policías políticas y la DISIP desaparecerá como órgano represor"

- "Sembraré con plantas de frutas y vegetales cada zona verde de la ciudad: plazas, parques, islas viales, cualquier lado"

- "El Río Guaire será limpiado bajo mi gobierno y los caraqueños podrán navegar en el"

-"Yo no necesito lujoso aviones"

- "Los jóvenes de Fuerte Mara solo tienen leves quemaduras, todo ese escándalo es una mentira mediática"

-"Se construirá en Venezuela una base de lanzamiento de naves espaciales"

- "No hay dudas de que la oposición no recogió las firmas"

- "En mi primer año de gobierno acabaré con el desempleo y por eso creé el Plan Bolívar"

- "Después de mi primer viaje a Europa les puedo asegurar que hay colas de inversionistas extranjeros"

- "Crearé una red de comedores populares para los indigentes"

- "Meteré preso a cualquier corrupto, en mi gobierno no habrá impunidad"

- "Los Círculos Bolivarianos son organizaciones pacificas y nadie podrá demostrar lo contrario"

- "CADIVI pasará a la historia como la institución de control cambiario mejor manejada"

- "En la nueva PDVSA se acabó la corrupción"

- "Con la Ley de Tierras seremos autosuficientes en menos de un año"

Anonymous,  7:55 PM  

"I will never nationalize any company"
"I will never nationalize absolutely anything"
"We want private capital."
"I will give back power after fiver years. Even before perhaps"
"Yes, there is a dictatorship in Cuba"

Here the interview:

Anonymous,  7:56 PM  

Lie: an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker.

Webster dictionary.

Greg Weeks 8:39 PM  

Good lord, you are putting me in the position of defending Chavez? He never says he will give up power--he says he would if the situation warranted it. And saying there is a dictatorship in Cuba isn't a lie. It's the truth, but like a politician he goes on to say he refuses to judge it. He also wants foreign capital and it continues to come. The only lie is that he won't privatize anything, so I'll give you that.

But if you want to convince me, use better arguments! My first impression was to think the reporter was a moron.

Anonymous,  9:11 PM  

How about:
-Building a university in the presidential palace.
-Giving the presidential summer house to the poor.
-Building a theme park in the national airport.
-Respecting PDVSA contracts.
-Having proof of a planed US invasion to Venezuela.
-Not to need a presidential airplane.
-Lie about the health state of the Mara victims.

The point I am trying to make is that CHavez doesn't think twice to manipulate public opinion and if needed he resorts to misleading claims, which I consider lies.

Anonymous,  11:16 PM  

and yes, the reporter is not good

Greg Weeks 8:12 AM  

I guess I was looking for real whoppers, like Carlos Menem or something like that. In general, though, I think it is still fair to say that people dislike Chavez not because he lies, but because they don't like what he says and does.

Justin Delacour 8:31 PM  

In general, though, I think it is still fair to say that people dislike Chavez not because he lies, but because they don't like what he says and does.

Yeah, I think Greg is right about that. It's also true that some people --including most Venezuelans-- support much of what Chavez says and does.

Anonymous,  12:49 PM  

Your last statement was proven wrong in the last referendum

Justin Delacour 5:55 PM  

Your last statement was proven wrong in the last referendum

Oh really? Well, as far I recall, that was a referendum on Chavez's proposed constitutional reforms, not his presidency.

Some years ago, Uribe's proposed constitutional reforms were defeated at the polls as well, but nobody ever pointed to that as so-called evidence that he was an unpopular president.

Anonymous,  8:08 PM  

"most Venezuelans-- support much of what Chavez says and does"
The referendum was proposed by Chavez. Therefore most Venezuelans don't support what he says and does.

Anonymous,  8:08 PM  

"El que vote contra la propuesta vota contra Chavez"

Anonymous,  2:44 PM  

“No apoyo ni he apoyado jamás, ni apoyaré jamás a la guerrilla colombiana, ni a movimiento subversivo alguno contra gobierno democrático alguno, de ninguna manera”. Chavez, 2004

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