The Good Fight
IJ Net had an excellent piece by Venezuelan journalist, Dariela Sosa on the importance of journalism under authoritarian regimes. She says that today, journalists and their funders need to widen their understanding of the impacts of journalism, and the non-traditional channels through which quality, independent reporting effects change. She cited many examples of great work around the world but my two favorites (we are all about Venezuela here at TFT) were both from the same group of Venezuelan journalists, Armando.info. FYI, we have previously credited them regarding this work but let’s revisit…
First we have the documenting of Human Rights violations. Armando.info found many irregularities in the exercise of justice in Venezuela between 2000 – 2019 (under Chavismo) after reviewing a database with information on approximately 6,000 judges in the country. They found (what is common knowledge today, thanks to their work) a total lack of independence and rampant corruption throughout the judiciary and issued a comprehensive report.
This report was used as a reference by the Human Rights Council – FFM (fact finding mission) and the Inter – American Commission on Human Rights. The subsequent information was included in UNHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), Michele Bachelet’s report and the report by the OAS (Organization of American States) which, when combined with the preliminary investigation by the ICC (International Criminal Court), slow-walked by Fatou Bensouda, a Maduro apologist and former head of the ICC,was so overwhelming the current ICC Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, almost immediately upon taking office, opened an official investigation into Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime.
The second example of the great work by Armando.info was the series of articles they published in 2017 about the irregularities in food imports for the Maduro regime’s fraudulent CLAP food program implicating corrupt businessman, Alex Saab, and exposing his ties to Nocolas Maduro. Saab sued for defamation and several investigative journalists went into exile to avoid attacks and incarceration.
Thanks in large part to the evidence gathered by Armando.info the US-DOJ (United States Department of Justice) filed charges against Alex Saab and he was arrested during a fuel stop in Cape Verde, Africa and subsequently extradited to the US where he is incarcerated and awaiting trial.
I have nothing but admiration for the work of journalists like those of Armando.info (currently, we believe, in Colombia), Dariela Sosa (currently in Argentina), who did this piece, and all those fighting the good fight and bringing to light the nightmare that is the Maduro regime and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Having done thousands of hours of research, both for TFT and previously for Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole, I know how hard they work. We can only hope they, and others like them, keep it up…I sure hope the “Bus TV” gang is still around. (Remember them? The guys holding up a cardboard cut-out of a TV and doing the news for bus riders, many of which have no access to news other than regime propaganda)
Then we have a little good news (at least for now) from Rio Times. The VOF , or is it OVF ? (Venezuela Observatory of Finance) reports Venezuela economic activity was up 12.3% for the first half of 2022.
Then we have Caracas Chronicles telling us that Chavismo is obsessed with changing Venezuela’s history and symbols. (Remember, one of the first things Hugo Chavez did, after taking power, was remove and replace all the school books with “Chavismo friendly” versions.) On the day of the 455th anniversary of Caracas the Municipal Council (Chavista) didn’t celebrate the founding of Caracas but “the day of Caracas resistance” and awarded the “Waraira Repano” decoration to Fundapatrimonio president, Maria Elisa Dominguez, who spoke at length about the Caribe Indigenous tribes while the murder of four indigenous citizens remains unsolved.
The Chavistas also imposed a new coat of arms, anthem, and flag for the city of Caracas. (Remember, another one of Chavez’s first moves was to change Venezuela’s flag by adding a star.) We also had authorities at UCV (Venezuela Central University) questioning a monument to honor Nicolas Maduro’s Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, (exactly what her accomplishments are I have no idea), rather than focusing on, Diego Losado, who founded Caracas in 1567.
Then we have VOF telling us that Venezuela oil production has stabilized around 700,000 bpd (barrels per day).
And we have the news that BCV (Venezuela Central Bank) has increased the number of dollars to buy bolivares by 26% to slow the increase in the bolivar/dollar exchange rate.
And we have Colombia police saying there have been 13 illegal operations over the last 5 years to export Venezuela oil using Ecopetrol (Colombia oil company) infrastructure.
Then we have Diosdado Cabello (You know, the number two, possibly number one, most powerful man in Venezuela) asking PSUV (Chavista political party) to denounce corruption since he disagrees with retaliation against those who speak out (despite Chavismo’s imprisonment of those who investigate corruption)…And to show he’s onboard with Diosdado, Guatire mayor,Raziel Rodriguez (no relation to Delcy and Jorge), says PSUV will attack anyone who uses their position to abuse anyone. I guess we can expect more anti-corruption and anti-retaliation stunts from the Chavistas in the coming days, before they go back to their standard MO of corruption and retaliation.
And we have Centro para Los Defensores y la Justicia reporting there have been 214 attacks and safety incidents against Human Rights activists in the first half of 2022, which is down 43% from 2021, but explained that the government has perfected it’s criminalization policies. The Prosecutor General says their making progress in terms of justice and Human Rights and are working on improving service for vulnerable populations. (Then where are the convictions and why are there still no arrests in the murder of four indigenous citizens by the military in a dispute over a WiFi pass code?)
That will do it for this week. As usual, we’ll be back Monday with more third world dispatches as Venezuelans continue to starve, die, and flee under the oppression of Nicolas Maduro and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism. Until then…Have A Great Weekend Everybody!!!!
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