Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smearing Hugo Chavez- the Red 'dictator'


In today's Daily Telegraph, a certain 'Vanessa Neumann', puts the boot in big time on Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Red 'dictator'- you know the 'dictator' who keeps winning free elections and has a penchant for holding referendums (unlike the wonderfully democratic British government).

I'd never heard of Vanessa Neumann before, so I did some research.
Here's Nation Master.Com:

Vanessa Neumann Donnelly (born on 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela) Vanessa Neumann Donnelly is a Venezuelan well-known socialite, entrepeneur and occasional model. The heiress of Hans Neumann (who died in 2001), a Venezuelan millionaire, entrepreneur and former owner of Corporacion Industrial Montana. Vanessa grew up in the wealthy eastern side of Caracas practicing ballet and enjoying the Venezuelan high-society life.

So there we have it. A wealthy Venezuelan heiress- who naturally is going to be hostile to the redistributive socialist policies of the Chavez government- writes an opinion piece for a British national newspaper attacking her country's government-and the newspaper in question doesn't think that information regarding her background is worth revealing to its readers.

You can read more on Ms Neumann, and her marriage into a Tory dynasty here.

UPDATE: Some of the anti-Chavez comments on the Daily Telegraph website are truly disgusting and say so much about the anti-democratic mindset of those who oppose him. More than one commenter has called for Chavez to be killed:

he is murderous to the Venezuelans who don't support him...An inexpensive bullet would solve this problem.

Why do people allow this thieving socialist animal to live?
Posted by Charles on November 19, 2008 6:39 PM

Chavez deserves to die for supporting FARC...If he wins, I will blow his head off.
Posted by Andre on November 19, 2008 5:49 PM

Stupid little runts support scum like Chavez, Brown, and Obama becuase they are parasites...You want to steal from me? I will beat you down before I allow you to steal my property.

Posted by Lisa on November 19, 2008 5:06 PM

Aren't 'Charles', 'Andre' and 'Lisa' such charming individuals?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes Neil, Chavez is regularly smeared as a red dictator...when he is neither...But then you also smear Cuba and Castro...Both are red, neither are dictatorial. And im still waiting for evidence of Cubas poor human rights record.

What ive seen is cubas defence of human rights..if Cuba was so bad, why did it fight south africa/US in angola? Castro is close friends with Mandela...maybe you had better write to Mandela to tell him hes friends with a human rights monster...
http://cubajournal.blogspot.com/2008/07/fidel-castro-hails-mandela-at-90-as.html

Brian

Anonymous said...

I believe comments like those in the Telegraph calling for the murder of a head of state in a public venue are illegal. The paper can be charged over them, and the persons who sent them, can be charged as well: calling for murder is a capital offence.

You may like to point this out to the Telegraph editors.

Brian

Charlie Marks said...

Some dictator that accepts a defeat - last years referendum was narrowly defeated. The result was accepted and respected.

Nicholas said...

Brian, on Cuba and human rights, it is easy...

http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba/report-2008

Not the world's worst offender but still an offender...

As to Nelson Mandela friendship with Castro that is a result of the assistance that Cuba gave to the ANC. It is not an endorsement of Cuba's internal politics.

If only Cuba enjoyed the liberal constitution of South Africa and South Africa enjoyed the social and health standards of Cuba...

Matthew said...

You missed out on Kelly's comments
""Socialism" is just a sugar-coated word murdering parasites use instead of the word "theft". Chavez does not deserve to live like any murdering parasite."
As you say some democrats. If the left win elections, we will just kill them is their message.

Anonymous said...

Nicholas....Dont use amnesty or HRW as sources for anything. Both are private organsations with links to the US govt.

Mandela does endorse Cuba...inlcuding its internal politics.

The liberal constitution south africa? You must be living in a cave...or are u unaware of the grievances of black south africans still living in ghettos and where unlike Zimbabwe (another state on the western hate list) land issues are hardly addressed...

Brian

Nicholas said...

Brian,

Amnesty does not have any links with the U.S. government. Trotting out that unjustified smear is not an argument against their evidence on Cuba. Their criticism of US human abuses have been equally relentless.

Nelson Mandela, good man that he is, has a blind spot when it comes to critical distance from countries that were key to assisting the ANC during the struggle against apartheid: Libya and Zimbabwe are two other examples. It is a 'failing' he has admitted to. Gratitude for their past support cannot be seen as an endorsement of their system.

I may be in a cave but you cannot read. I refered to a blend of South Africa's liberal constitution and Cuba's social progress. These should not be tradable. Many people, you included I expect, think that we can sacrifice political/human rights for social progress. Apologists for Cuba often do this: I do not happen to agree with you!

SA has many problems (as does Cuba) but I think the best solutions emerge out of free citizens, collectively arriving at solutions so we can all aspire to the (relatively) happy state of Nordic social democracies:)

Anonymous said...

Nicholas: Evidence on cubas huamn rights? I notice you dont post any.
Why does it seme to me you are acting the patsy for the US govt and the miami ex-cubans..???

Yes, Zimbabwe was a bullwark of anti-apartheid support..Zimbabwe ha also been unde attack by the same people who attack Cuba...for the same fallacious reasons.

Nicholas said...

Dear Anonymous,

I refer to AI 2008 on Cuba (see above post). I notice you offer no counter evidence.

Zimbabwe required no undermining from without, it has been 'successfully' misruled from within. It is always sensible for any organised system of rule to allow for fixed terms of office - leaders have a strong tendency to deteriorate in office: Mugabe being no exception.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, AMNESTY...You seem to regard them as honesty and integrous... Unfortunately, not everyone shares your view. The people of Nicaragua dont, nor does international lawyer and former AI member Francis Boyle:

'It has often been said that Amnesty International's agenda tends to fit nicely with the political needs of the United States and Great Britain. Around the world, supporters of the Nicaraguan people's struggle for self-determination were outraged by the timing of a 1986 Amnesty report critical of the Sandinista government, which helped Reagan push another Contra Aid appropriation through a reluctant congress, at exactly the moment when the anti-Contra movement was beginning to get serious political traction.

With regard to South Africa's apartheid regime, AI was critical of the human rights record of the South African government. However, as you will see below, AI never condemned apartheid per se. By the time Amnesty endorsed the Hill & Knowlton nursery tale concerning Kuwaiti infants pulled from incubators by Iraqi soldiers, many otherwise sympathetic observers of Amnesty's work became increasingly alarmed.
...
'So again, on Israel, I could give you twenty years of what they've done to try to sabotage, interfere with, prevent, cover up on Israel. Of course the worst instance is well known, and that's the Kuwaiti dead babies report. I was on the Amnesty International USA board at that time, it was the late Fall of 1990 and, as you know, we were on the verge of going to war. There was going to be a debate coming up in the United States Congress, and a vote. And at the end of November or so, mid-November, since I was a board member, I got a pre-publication copy of the Amnesty report on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. So I immediately read through this report and it was sloppy, it was inaccurate even its statement of applicable law. It did not seem to me that it had gone through the normal quality control process.

As for the allegation about the Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and putting them on the floor of the hospital where they did, I didn't know if that was true or not, but it certainly sounded very sensationalist to me. And as a result of that, I made an effort to hold that report back for further review, on those grounds that I gave to you. And indeed I also enlisted a fellow board member for the same reason, and he and I both tried, and I made the point, even if this story about the dead babies is true, it's completely sensationalist, and it is simply going to be used in the United States to monger for war, and could turn the tide in favor of war. And so you know, we really need to pull back on this, further review, more study.

They wouldn't do it'
etc
http://www.doublestandards.org/boyle1.html

Amnesty serves american interests...and americans interest is to dmeonise Cuba and destroy the Revolution, which is also your goal.

Anonymous said...

On Zimbabwe, yoru are just another credulous person who believes what ever the western press write. I suggest you go read this:

'Negative Image: Robert Mugabe through the Lens of Western Propaganda
By Stephen Gowans

Leaders who have committed offenses against democracy, human rights and international law on a level far graver than the offenses Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been accused of committing, are rarely, if ever, vilified by Western government officials, the media and left intellectuals. By contrast, Robert Mugabe has been subjected to a sustained barrage of criticism, often bordering on the hysterical, for crimes that, laying aide whether they’ve been committed or not, are minor in comparison. I’ll show that an inconsistency in the treatment of Mugabe does indeed exist, and explore the reasons why. I’ll also show that there are compelling reasons to be skeptical of the case against Mugabe.'
etc

http://gowans.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/negative-image-robert-mugabe-through-the-lens-of-western-propaganda/


Mugabe has never 'deteriorated in office'..YOU seem to be deteriorating in your own home.

So, NO Zimbabwe has not bee misuled from withing...thats just 'white mans burden' talk.
President Mugabes crime is to have be a leader independent of the West, not a lickspittle, such as the UK/US favour

Brian

Anonymous said...

Philip Greenspan on AI and Yugoslavia....

'While browsing my mail, Monday, May 21, my attention was drawn to an item on page 1 of Amnesty International's periodical amnesty now. A highlighting red circle enclosed an appeal for members to support the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Only five days before, convinced of the unjust treatment he had been subjected to, I had added my name to a petition -- endorsed by many people from countries all over the world -- to free him. I was shocked and disheartened to discover the position taken by Amnesty International (AI). Accordingly, I e-mailed them the following:

"For several years I have been a member of AI; and was very proud of its human and civil rights positions. However, I was deeply disappointed when I opened the current edition of 'amnesty now' to see a circled request for members to urge the transfer of Slobodan Milosevic to the International Criminal Tribunal.

An organization that fights so hard on behalf of those unjustly punished should not be an instigator of just such an injustice. The exaggerated claims of atrocities have subsequently been shown to be completely false. Additionally, the International Criminal Tribunal as a court of justice is as shocking as those false atrocity charges.

So many articles have been published by reliable sources, on both the court and the atrocities (if you are unaware of them, I will provide you with some) that it should have, at least, caused hesitancy.

I may be mistaken to assume you are much too knowledgeable and intelligent to be duped by the lies of governments and their subservient media. It is extremely disheartening to find that a worldwide human rights organization of your stature taking such a reprehensible action.

Sincerely,

Philip Greenspan" '
etc


http://www.swans.com/library/art7/zig066.html

Nicholas said...

Dear Brian,

If AI criticises the human rights record of a regime that the US opposes, this does not mean that it is serving the interests of the United States. It is perfectly possible to be a regime opposed by the US and be in violation of human rights.

You should know that AI holds regimes to account for their breaches of human rights. Its place is not to criticise the regime's guiding ideology whether that be apartheid, communism or free market capitalism.

Nor do I demonise Cuba. You continue to be incapable of reading what I say. There is much to admire in Cuba: sustainable agriculture, basic education and health care, to name three. But its record on basic political/ human rights is not one of them.

As to Ziumbabwe, it is a country I know exceptionally well. Its economic mismanagement, social disintegration and kleptocracy is not the responsibility of the United States but of its regime. A regime held in power by an elite backed by force, and the suasion of the past anti-colonial struggle. It is a complete and utter betrayal of that struggle and genuine socialism is not served by defending it. Or do you believe that all socialist leaders ought to exercise the privilege of shopping in Harvey Nics whilst their country fails to enact genuine land reform, for example?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Nick but Cubas record on Human rights speaks for itself.It doesnt need AI to interpret.
And AI, if you read my posts DOES allign itself with real HR criminals. notably Israel...Thats because of the members!

Cuba has a right to defend itself against attack and subversion...this gets interpreted by AI as HR violation.

EG the 'librarians' who aid the US.

Anonymous said...

'As to Ziumbabwe, it is a country I know exceptionally well. Its economic mismanagement, social disintegration and kleptocracy is not the responsibility of the United States but of its regime.'

No Nick, you dont know Zimbabwe at all. You seem unaware of the sanctions leveled against it....You may recall similar sanctions against Iraq killed 1,5 million people. That it hasnt had the same effect on Zimbabwe is a testimony to the govt.

Since your knowledge of Zimbabwe is based on the western media, its no surprise you are so misinformed.

Read Stephe Gowans articles for more:
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/negative-image-robert-mugabe-through-the-lens-of-western-propaganda/

'A regime held in power by an elite backed by force'

Zimbabwe actually has elections....But the opposition which you must favour, the MDC DOES use force, and is funded by YOUR govt

'The establishment of a new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in September 1999, found instant support from Western leaders. Significant funding from Western sources enabled the party to rapidly grow to the point where it won 57 out of 120 seats in the June 24-25 2000 parliamentary election, less than one year after its creation. Ostensibly based in the labor movement, the program of MDC reads like a call for a return to ESAP. A policy paper issued by the party spelled out its plans for privatization. Upon taking power, the party plans to appoint a "fund manager to dispose of government-owned shares in publicly quoted companies." '
etc
http://www.swans.com/library/art8/elich004.html
Brian

Nicholas said...

Dear Brian,

My knowledge of Zimbabwe is not conditional on the western media but is based on more than fifteen years of engagement with the country in rural development, health care and microfinance. Work with ordinary Zimbabweans, that has been systematically undermined to the detriment of ordinary Zimbabweans by Zanu PF's policies. This is why so many of them now exist as economic refugees in Botswana and South Africa. But there is no point arguing with you further as you obviously have an ideological axe to grind that sadly has nothing to do with building a just and democratic society.

Nicholas said...

P.S. You obviously know nothing about the difference between the sanctions regime imposed on Zimbabwe, primarily targeted at members of the regime, and those targeted at Iraq, much more comprehensive both in their scope and mismanagement. On the whole, I disapprove of sanctions as they usually entrench regimes rather than dislodge them; and, in Iraq had disastrous, criminal consequences.

You probably have also never observed an election in Zimbabwe, as I have, not a pretty sight...

You, also, keep imagining that because I criticise aspects of the regimes in Cuba and Zimbabwe, I am a 'Western' stooge - this betrays your ideological bias - but not mine. On the whole, I think I am a boring Nordic social democrat but would rather society had more colour - and like social, co-operative forms of ownership and personal freedom of expression.

Anonymous said...

'that has been systematically undermined to the detriment of ordinary Zimbabweans by Zanu PF's policies.'

really nick? And what policies were those? The policies to return land stolen from them by white settlers?
Your knowledge if Zimbabwe is shown by you avoidance of The MDC -UK govt link, and the fact the MDC called for sanctions against their own people.

I do have an ax to grind...its about preventing another countrys govt falling to neocolonial greed and ambition. You on the other hand are all to ready to aid the US/UK axis of evil. Like them you see Mugabe as the source of all problems. Whereas i see you and your cultivated ignorance as the problem

Brian

Anonymous said...

'P.S. You obviously know nothing about the difference between the sanctions regime imposed on Zimbabwe, primarily targeted at members of the regime, and those targeted at Iraq, much more comprehensive both in their scope and mismanagement. On the whole, I disapprove of sanctions as they usually entrench regimes rather than dislodge them; and, in Iraq had disastrous, criminal consequences'

Well, Nick, so you hate sanctions because they entrench govts you hate. Youve just shown your contempt for democracy. Because elections in Zimbabwe reported to be free and fair by observers, (unlike in US)

'THE head of the Electoral Commission Forum of Southern African Development Countries' observer mission to Zimbabwe, Victor Tonchi, has given his blessing to that country's elections, declaring them free and fair.'
etc
http://www.namibian.com.na/2005/April/national/05A5C48A88.html

There is also no such thing as targeted sanctions, anymore than there are precision strikes (another evil empire fraud).

Yes, you are at best a western stooge...as are most of the western media: your source of info.

Brian

Nicholas said...

Brian,

My knowledge of Zimbabwe is based on 15 years of experience working with, and in, the country, as I have said before.

Let me take one policy: land reform. The government of Zimbabwe was repeatedly offered assistance by key donors (the Nordics, the UK, the Netherlands) to structure a viable land reform programme that would have enabled thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans to acquire tenure to land, access to inputs & training to cultivate it, as well as programmes to facilitate market access, establish producer & credit co-operatives etc. This would also have compensated existing owners of land, many white but not only whites, ZANU PF minsiters and generals for example, who have major holdings.

The Zanu PF government stalled on the necessary legislation, and the implementing any such programme.

So, we ended up with a process of land seizure that was (a) illegal (b) in parts brutal; (c)chaotic and (d) deeply unequal. Result: profound agricultural disruption, a breakdown of resilience in the system, and a country that could feed itself reduced to dependency on food aid.

The last election was fairer than its immediate predecessors (but was still highly manipulated). The SADC monitoring is not free of flaws. And the MDC won that election...where does that leave your point.

And even if the MDC did receive money from the West, this did not outweigh the resources available to Zanu PF - tv, media, manipulation of food aid and the security forces.

I care about ordinary Zimbabweans -many of whom are friends, one family of whom are economic migrants and live in my SA house while I work in Moscow.

You seem to care only about ideological point scoring because Mugabe and his ilk are not western neo-imperialists does not make them either democratic or competent leaders...

Anonymous said...

nick:
' The government of Zimbabwe was repeatedly offered assistance by key donors (the Nordics, the UK, the Netherlands) to structure a viable land reform programme that would have enabled thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans to acquire tenure to land, access to inputs & training to cultivate it, as well as programmes to facilitate market access, establish producer & credit co-operatives etc'

Is this the same UK (under a labor govt...Clare Short, remember)that reneged on its promise to help the people acquire land?

Oh THAT UK!

'The last election was fairer than its immediate predecessors (but was still highly manipulated). The SADC monitoring is not free of flaws. And the MDC won that election...where does that leave your point.'

Elections in Zimbabwe are far fairer than those in the US. MDC has neverwon a free and fair election because the sanctions skew the electorate in favor of anything that will rid them of the punitive sanctions...or is that too difficult for you to grasp?
The MDC is favoured by a minority of urban middle class and white zimbabweans. The rest understand its a fifth column run by YOUR govt.

'I care about ordinary Zimbabweans -many of whom are friends, one family of whom are economic migrants and live in my SA house while I work in Moscow. '

You mean middle class urban zimbabweans.

'The Zanu PF government stalled on the necessary legislation, and the implementing any such programme.

So, we ended up with a process of land seizure that was (a) illegal (b) in parts brutal; (c)chaotic and (d) deeply unequal. Result: profound agricultural disruption, a breakdown of resilience in the system, and a country that could feed itself reduced to dependency on food aid.'

Blaming the victim is a common current strategm by the evil empire and its adherents.

Agricultural disruption? You mean the white cash crop farmers? The same farmers whose forebears stole the land they farm.

'You seem to care only about ideological point scoring because Mugabe and his ilk are not western neo-imperialists does not make them either democratic or competent leaders...'

Youve finally grasped the issue...western neo-imperialism...which cant bear to appear publically under that label.
Mugae is a very competent leader...he ahs to be to survive the sort of bellicose assaults his country has been subject to by the same crowd who gave africa the Belgian Congo!

Nicholas said...

Dear Brian,

You obviously live in an alternate universe.

Clare Short did not renege on a commitment to support land reform in Zimbabwe. The offer was withdrawn when the government of Zimbabwe failed to agree meaningful terms to that reform that would have safeguarded the rights of rural, poor Zimbabweans accessing land, and the means to make effective use of it.

An effective deal would have required people within Zanu PF - including government ministers - and memebers of the security forces justifying their own major land holdings - something they were not prepared to do. So, they promoted their own form of land reform and acquired, through that process, more holdings!

The occupants my flat in SA are not middle class, they are economic refugees from the countryside: one used to work as a bookeeper in a rural credit co-op, destroyed by inflation; and, his wife, who used to cook at the local school. They both now work in a restaurant in Jo'burg!

The only victims I see here are ordinary Zimbabweans; and, I am not blaming them. I will happily blame both colonial rule, followed by Zanu PF rule: neither of which has done Zimbabwe any favours in the long run. I await the happy day when ordinary Zimbaweans can effectively govern themselves in a democratic system that is not manipulated by crooks...

I still look forward to your explanation as to why travel/financial restrictions a small cross section of the Zanu PF elite translate into economic and social chaos. I mean they cramp Mrs Mugabe's shopping trips but not much else...

Alfredo said...

Yea fair and even handed guy that Chavez. That must be why he has taken control of the media in Venezuela. To make sure that only his benevolence is broadcast around the world for all the socialist lemmings to tout. It's just plain comedy when people ask for proof of things happening under a dictatorship. Like these tyrants really want the UN and other human rights watch groups snooping around.

Anonymous said...

Vanessa Neumann - or 'Dr' as she likes to be called these days was also on BBC's Newsnight last night,amazingly enough, talking petulant rubbish and was referred to simply as being from 'Diplomat' magazine. Ex- amour of Mick Jagger and second wife to right-wing euro-sceptic William Cash's son would be nearer the mark.

Compayee said...

Latest Ms. Neumann piece as published in the right-wing 'Standpoint' magazine:

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/chavezs-secret-fan-club-january-09