A letter from Venezuela

Just some more video of the Venezuelan opposition making shit up as they go along, with the ever-complicit local corporate media along for the ride. Nothing to see here, folks.

While browsing Aporrea this morning, I came upon this open letter in the opinion section. The author, Leopoldo Alberto Cook Antonorsi, addresses it “to a foreign friend”, whom he does not name. I think it’s worth translating in its entirety, as it sets straight the very crooked picture the media have painted of Venezuela in the last week or so. Here it is, complete and unabridged:

You are concerned about Venezuela, and I understand the sincerity of your position. The short time in which we have exchanged [messages] has allowed me to know you, to see your inner light. But I think you have formed an opinion on the basis of erroneous information, or at least incomplete.

You say that in Venezuela, violence rules, corruption, repression. That is what the international media show. I propose that you verify each piece of information that you see. There is a simple procedure, in the case of photographs:

1. Save the image.
2. Using Google, select Images.
3. Once there, click the icon of the camera on the search bar.
4. Insert the image you saved earlier, search for it, and you will see similar images with their sources.

In these past few days we have seen, as if it were here and now, images of past repression (the Caracas Metropolitan Police, which has not existed for years), or from other places (Egypt, for example). There are laboratories dedicated to this dirty war. They are divulging a lot of false information, presented in a manner well studied by specialists in human comportment, to hook people into their [political] sentiments.

I tell you, yes, there are opposition protests, which began as peaceful ones, and there are many well-meaning people there. But the acts of violence which have taken place, have come from the opposition, from the most fascist group, have caused serious damage in the millions of dollars, and about a hundred of them have been identified and detained. The opposition say that they are infiltrating vandals. So now the big question: Why do the opposition demand that we free them, if they are infiltrators?

Leopoldo López, with a large putschist budget, called the people to the streets in a tone of violence, with the consequences of recent disorder and three deaths. Why do Álvaro Uribe and the US government defend him?

Now I ask you, knowing that your are progressive and sincere:

Have you investigated the levels of nutrition and health in the people of Venezuela, how they have improved in the last 15 years? Have you observed the growth in primary healthcare services?

Have you investigated the indices of education, how illiteracy has been eradicated, how there are fewer school drop-outs, how millions of adults have completed their high school diplomas and are now at university? Have you seen how the people are now more awake, more alert?

Have you investigated how they are resolving the housing deficit in our country, with the construction of new homes and the remodeling of entire neighborhoods?

Have you investigated the level of political participation, how in 15 years we have had 19 elections (of which the Revolution has won 18), with an electoral system which has been internationally praised as one of the best in the world? How many elections have their been during this period in the country where you live and in other “developed” ones?

Have you investigated the antecedents of the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition? I’ll give you some facts: Investigate the fascist organization “Tradition, Family and Property”. Investigate the political history of Venezuela from 1960 to 1998. Have you investigated the financing which opposition political organizations in Venezuela receive, in dollars from the US government and its institutions?

On top of all this, what is the fundamental contradiction? What is it that bothers the US about the Venezuelan revolution? (Because that is the opposition principle, which directs the entire campaign against Venezuela.) Have you asked yourself that? Yesterday, a US congressman said it very clearly: “We have to send troops to Venezuela to guarantee the flow of oil.” The part about the supposed repression, freedoms, etc., etc., is pure pantomime. Their interest is our natural resources, but Latin America is not their backyard, like before.

It’s true that there is an asymmetry with respect to the international “market”. In Venezuela, basic products and services are accessible to the majority, the price indices are well below the international levels. This generates a pressure toward the contraband of extraction. Anti-patriotic sectors illegally hoard tonnes of products of first necessity to sell them out of country. For that reason there is a scarcity of goods, because insensible persons think more of themselves and not of others, and prefer to send products abroad.

Also, the US is investing millions of dollars to cause an imbalance in our economic system. It is fueling speculation, hoarding, financing the “businessmen” with dollars so that they have an income even though they aren’t selling anything.

On the other hand, the Bolivarian government has seen the greatest growth in earnings. Have you investigated what are the indices of acceptable earnings where you live? Because in Venezuela, it has risen 30%, which is excessive in any other country. But did you know that here, there are gains in earnings of 100%, 1,000%, even 10,000%? That is immoral.

As for insecurity, I sincerely believe it has been exaggerated. I don’t deny it, and we are working to bring it down. But it is not worse than in Mexico or Colombia, or El Salvador, or even some parts of the US. But the media influence opinion a great deal. In particular, I go out at night a lot, to workers’ meetings, the movies, on walks, etc., and I can tell you that insecurity has been “maximized”. But there is a real element of insecurity, a part stemming from materialist mentality, which has inculcated capitalism in us, another part artificially financed by the US. They are financing armed gangs, of “thugs” and demobilized paramilitaries, to cause fear, insecurity, in such a way as to raise the statistics of insecurity.

Yes, there is corruption, and we don’t like it. But have you analyzed the actions of the opposition? Their leaders? They are the most corrupt. It’s no consolation to choose the lesser evil, but human nature is like that. We have to fight continually against corruption, there is no perfect government. I don’t ask you to support the revolution because it is “less” corrupt. I ask you to look at the big picture. Inside the process, we have many criticisms, but we are clear on the general direction, which is the option that benefits the majority. We have to work for that and not let others decide for us.

Persecution and torture? We don’t have those (except for a few, which we reject). Investigate the 100 “students” recently detained (there are another 75 estimated to be roaming free). Which of them alleges he was tortured? I saw a video on your Facebook wall in which a demonstrator is talking to some police. Did they repress her? No, in Venezuela we even respect insolence. I don’t know if you saw the video of a demonstrator spitting in the face of a National Guard officer, and the guard remained impassive. Those are the orders: patience, respect even if there is disrespect on the part of the other. Political persecutions? Wrong. In Venezuela, there is freedom of political organization. What is going on is that those sectors, being right-wing, and some even fascist, have no people, and are seeking power through the violent route. It’s true that there are “political” prisoners, on the part of the Revolution as well as the opposition, for corruption or common crimes. But those are not political prisoners, they are politicians in prison.

Finally, there is much information on the Internet, much of it prepared by ill-intentioned laboratories, whose objective is the toppling of a legitimate government which reflects the interests of large groups of power, which has favored the great majority of the Venezuelan people.

For that reason, I ask you to verify very closely the information you receive, and don’t propagate it unless you are sure of its veracity. If you do that, then hopefully in the near future we will see you in the ranks of those who, from an objective position, support us (with due criticisms, but from the people), in a process of the elevation of the human conscience, with its right and wrong answers, so that our political actions are in line with our spiritual thinking.

A sincere hug.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

As you can see, the writer doesn’t paint a too rosy picture of his homeland, but he isn’t willing to stand idly by and let foreigners besmirch it, either. Especially not foreigners with imperialistic interests at stake — or worse, locals who identify with those foreign imperial interests at the expense of their own fellow Venezuelans.

And better still, he advises all those who have been swayed by horror stories from Venezuela to verify the things they’ve seen. Something it would behoove us all to keep in mind the next time we see some sensational trash being flung through the air, whether from up here or from down there. After all, the Mighty Wurlitzer never sleeps…and neither should we who strive to hold it accountable.

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One Response to A letter from Venezuela

  1. Lil Owl says:

    catching up on my reading here — I think this is one of your most important translation posts ever, deserves an expansion re the doctored photographs, and then a permanent link to be placed below the Miller quote.

    CNN recently posted a picture of an unfortunate 4 year old Syrian refugee boy, wandering alone in the desert. Picture had been cropped because CNN had not the space to show the small crowd of other people about 10 paces away.

    Must conserve pixels!

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