Who is Charles Bentley? A short investigation

Hey! Remember when I wrote about Maricori’s little friend from the US Embassy, the one who appeared in this video, taken the day she was charged with conspiring against the Venezuelan government?

Well, guess what. Maricori’s little friend has a lot of big friends. Some of them with names you might recognize…

Charles Bentley, the US diplomat who “accompanied” María Corina Machado on December 3 when she was indicted for conspiracy by a Venezuelan prosecutor, is an “expert” in social media networks and is closely linked to Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

The functionary, who uses a photo of Caracas on his Twitter profile, is a regular collaborator on Bill and Melinda Gates’s official blog, www.impatientoptimists.org, where he has published more than a dozen entries promoting the use of the Web and social networks to mobilize users in so-called “global causes” and the common good.

Bentley, who was caught on video during Machado’s appearance before the Public Ministry, is the founder and editor of Armchair Advocates, dedicated to sharing, connecting and analyzing the tendencies of the “social good” in an ever more digitized age.

Before coming to Venezuela, Bentley worked for USAID, according to his LinkedIn profile. USAID is known for financing plans against legitimately elected governments, especially in regions such as Latin America. He has worked there from May 2009 to October of this year. He was also a member of the political section of the US State Department.

This is not the first time that Bentley has appeared in public openly supporting opposition groups in Venezuela. On September 30, he turned up alongside Lilian Tintori Parra in a judicial hearing against her spouse, Leopoldo López, director of the “Voluntad Popular” opposition party, who was accused of promoting street violence in February.

Translation mine. Links added.

Just like so many other US State Dept. and USAID functionaries, Charles Bentley really gets around…at least where the disloyal opposition is concerned. Remember Bolivia? Yup, that happened. Nice to see the State Dept. and USAID up to their same old tricks, and nicer still to see those same old tricks exposed and failing in the predictable epic way.

Here’s a picture of Bentley with Leo’s wife, Lilian:


Bentley’s the suit, Lilian Tintori is the gloomy-looking blonde.

And in case you’re wondering just how much our charming young Charlie actually gets around, here’s a rather amusing look at how he tried to winkle his way into the confidences of one ardent Chavista, who writes for a well-known Venezuelan socialist website:

Diario VEA informed of Bentley’s interest in this year’s PSUV party congress:

“Cordial greetings. My name is Charles Bentley, functionary of the political section of the US Embassy. I just read your article today (“Venezuela: Aristóbulo smoked crack* at the PSUV Congress”) — super interesting! I don’t know if you’re interested, but I would love to meet for a chat and talk more about your perspectives and point of view…especially your opinions over 2014, the political panorama in Venezuela, and the PSUV Congress”, he wrote in an e-mail to Arturo Ramos, who writes articles for the website Aporrea.

The message was forwarded to this newspaper by Ramos, with the following message: “Dear friends of VEA: The attached e-mails were sent to me by Charles Bentley, a functionary of the US Embassy. They are a clear interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela. You are the first ones to see them in a public manner. Please explain, if you decide to publish them, that I did not give any information to the Embassy.”

Arturo Ramos responded to Bentley with the following message: “Thank you for your interest in my article. For reasons of time and work, it would be very complicated for me to take up your kind invitation at this moment. However, if you wish, we could exchange impressions this way.”

Days later, the US functionary replied: “I understand completely that it is a very busy/complicated time of the year. Nothing will happen.” He added: “I would like to know your perspectives on the United Socialist Party of Venezuela during this year. What do you think are the objectives of the party for 2014? What are your impressions of the PSUV Congress and the Great Patriotic Pole, which are to take place this year? I imagine it will be super interesting and important for the party and the Bolivarian Revolution.”

Translation mine; linkage added.

Isn’t it funny (peculiar AND ha-ha) how a US embassy functionary’s presence could be catnip to the opposition, but poison to a loyal PSUV member, even when the latter wrote a critical article about a long-time government minister and the bad footing on which the last PSUV party congress got off? Guess young Master Bentley was hoping to exert a little behind-the-scenes influence on a local opinion shaper. Unfortunately for him, Arturo Ramos is a loyal Venezuelan, and a loyal PSUV member. Be it here noted that the PSUV, far from being monolithic (as it is often portrayed in the commie-mad US media), is quite tolerant of dissenting opinions from within the ranks; in fact, it’s rife with them. And what’s more, within Venezuela (and the PSUV in particular, at least), there is a strong climate of informational and journalistic openness. So that means that when one opinion columnist gets wise to a US diplomat’s attempts to poke his nose in, the entire country will hear the sniffing.

And in this case, it’s chuckling once more at the transparent ineptitude of the gringo rube.

*The Venezuelan expression fumarse una lumpia was used. It figuratively means that someone is delusional or out of their mind. To me, it suggests drug-induced hallucinations, so I used “smoked crack”, in the colloquial sense, in my translation. As far as I know, however, Aristóbulo Istúriz is not a drug abuser, and there is no intent on my part or that of Arturo Ramos to imply that he actually smoked anything during the PSUV congress. But I’ll bet that Charles Bentley doesn’t realize that, which may be why he found Ramos’s article so “super interesting”!

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