Saturday, September 21, 2013

Great Venezuelan Toilet Paper Conspiracy

This is not The Onion. It is the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, telling us that the government has temporarily seized a toilet paper factory in Aragua State, Venezuela. According to the government, the decision was made "al observar la vulneración del derecho en el acceso al rubro de papel higiénico."

Toilet paper conspiracies in Venezuela are not new. In 2007 the government accused the right of hoarding it to influence the constitutional referendum. Apparently that didn't work, but I guess the fascist toilet paper plotters have simply been biding their time. They know that, one day, Venezuelans will stand up and say that they're just not going to take this crap anymore.


Justin Delacour 12:14 PM  

Indeed, that conspiracy theory sounds about as ridiculous as the U.S. refusal to allow Venezuela's president to fly over Puerto Rico en route to China.

Justin Delacour 12:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Delacour 12:31 PM  

I should say initial refusal. The U.S. ultimately permitted Maduro's flight plan.

Adam S.,  11:41 PM  

Justin's comments are proof that both these stories are so ridiculous you'd have to be something of an idiot to take them seriously.

Justin Delacour 5:09 PM  

It's an established fact that the U.S. initially rejected Maduro's flight plan. That much has been reported in mainstream newswires. U.S. officials changed course after Maduro made an issue of it. Unfortunately, it's still a matter of speculation as to what caused them to initially reject the flight plan and then to change course. U.S. officials claimed it was because Maduro didn't give sufficient notice and wasn't flying a government plane. That's possible, but it sounds a little fishy. It's also possible that some forces in the State Department were looking to harass the Maduro government and were, in this case, overruled by cooler heads.

Adam S.,  8:34 PM  

Jaua accused the Americans of having briefly denied Maduro permission to use U.S. airspace. The Americans then rejected the accusation in its entirety. I know this is hard for you, Justin, but if you really work at it you should be able to understand that the rejection is in fact the precise opposite of what's meant by the phrase "established fact".

Justin Delacour 11:03 PM  

It's right there in the title of Reuters' report, Adam. It reads "U.S. settles flap over Venezuelan president's overflight." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there would be no "flap" to settle if the United States hadn't initially denied permission for the overflight.

Justin Delacour 11:24 PM  

Adam: "Jaua accused the Americans of having briefly denied Maduro permission to use U.S. airspace. The Americans then rejected the accusation in its entirety."

Learn to pick your battles, fella. The very first line in AP's September 20 report confirms that the United States initially denied permission for Maduro's overflight.

"U.S. officials said Friday that they had initially refused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro permission to fly over a segment of U.S. airspace on his way to China because his government made the request on short notice."

Adam S.,  2:00 AM  

It's astounding how bad you are at this. The first line of the AP story does seem to suggest that an unnamed U.S. source acknowledged there'd been a denial of permission. If you read further you'll see that the unnamed source is most likely one Gregory M. Adams, someone from the Caracas embassy who is quoted as "[saying] that while he didn't have the details, his impression was that U.S. officials were "caught short" and initially denied overflight permission."

But if you continue reading you'll see that there's nothing else in the AP story, or in the Reuters story, or in any of the State Department's many published comments so far on this issue that would support, much less confirm, thia Mr. Adams' "impression" that permission had actually been denied. Look, for instance, at what Marie Harf, a State Department spokesperson, is quoted as saying in the Reuters story you link to in your comment: "Washington told Venezuela late on Thursday that permission was granted even though the request had not been properly submitted". No denial.

If that's not clear enough for you, check out the New York Times for a comprehensive rejection of the claim that permission had ever been denied courtesy of Roberta S. Jacobson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs:

So we can take the parties at their word and conclude that the question of whether there was a denial of permission is still disputed, that is, not an "established fact", meaning that we should wait to see some evidence before coming down one way or another. Or we can rely on Justin Delacour's misunderstanding of the word "flap" and a tendentious misreading of a sloppily sourced AP lede that was written when the story was just coming to light and the details were still unclear.

Justin Delacour 10:03 AM  

"It's astounding how bad you are at this."

Whatever you say, fella.

Justin Delacour 10:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP