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September 25, 2012

"Gringo journalist" unloads on La Razon after being misquoted on Venezuela

Prolific author and The New Yorker writer Jon Lee Anderson unloaded on Spain's La Razon newspaper over the weekend for misquoting him about the upcoming elections in Venezuela. The article in question has since been taken down, but Anderson says that the story, about potential fraud in the upcoming race, quotes him as saying that Chavez is too "delusional" to believe that he will lose the Oct. 7 vote.

On his Facebook page, Anderson says that  he did, in fact, say that Chavez cannot imagine losing the race, but that there's nothing "delusional" about it since he's "won every election and Plebiscite" he's faced. 

(Chavez did narrowly lose the 2007 push to change the constitution, but that's not the point.)

"This is what drives me nuts about this type of Spanish journalism: that they ask for an interview, you give it, and then they put words in your mouth," Anderson writes. "I will never give an interview to that sh**** paper again."

The interesting thing about this, to me at least, is that it's Venezuela's Ministry of Information and Communication that's been letting reporters know about the whole mess. Their headline: "They fabricated an anti-Chavez quote for a gringo journalist."  It seems like a strange use of government resources, but I suppose all is fair in election season. 

Here's Anderson's full post from his Facebook page:

Esto: Me saca de quicio este estirpe del periodismo espanol: Que te piden la entrevista; lo facilitas, y luego, te meten palabras en la boca. Lo que aca me "cita" el periodico La Razon simplemente no es cierto. Es decir: yo si dije que Chavez no se imaginaba perder las venideras elecciones jamas. Tal cual. Ni fa ni fu, ni mas ni menos. Pero nunca lo caracterize como un "delirio" de el. Porque seria delirio si siempre ha ganado todas las elecciones y plebescitos que ha propuesto? Pero el hecho que sea delirio o no, no es el lio. Es que no lo dije yo. Lo dijo La Razon. Poner esa caracterizacion en boca mia es burda, tabloidista, tendencioso y falso. En algunos paises, daria pie a una querella. No se si en Espana existen leyes ya, pero por si las moscas, nunca mas dare declaraciones ni entrevistas a ese diario de mierda.

Ecuador, Venezuela lead ranking of hemisphere's most popular leaders

Mexico's Consulta Mitofsky just put out their regional leadership list. The ranking is based on approval ratings so they're not strictly comparable nation-to-nation, but let's not let that get in the way of a good list.

Approval ratings are usually a good indicator of a candidate's election chances, so we'll have three opportunities in coming months to test that thesis. Hugo Chavez (ranked No. 4) is facing reelection Oct. 7, Rafael Correa (ranked No. 1!) faces reelection in February, and, of course, Barack Obama (ranked No. 10) has his chance Nov. 6. 

Without further ado: 

Top 5 Leaders in the Region based on approval ratings

#1 Ecuador - Rafael Correa 80%

#2 El Salvador - Mauricio Funes 72%

#3 Guatemala - Otto Perez 69%

#4 Venezuela - Hugo Chavez 64%

#5 Brazil - Dilma Rousseff 62%

...And the Bottom 5:

#16 Canada- Stephen Harper 37%

#17 Paraguay - Federico Franco 36%

#18 Chile - Sebastian Pinera 36%

#19 Honduras - Porfirio Lobo 14%

#20 Costa Rica - Laura Chinchilla 13%

To see the full list click here.

September 18, 2012

USAID gets the boot from Russia could Latin America follow suit?

So the US Department of State confirmed today that the US Agency for International Development is getting booted from Russia.

Here's Reuters take on it: Analysts said they believed the Russian decision partly reflected Moscow's hostility toward US-funded groups that seek to promote democracy and the rule of law in Russia.

What does this have to do with Latin America? Well, in theory, a few Latin American nations are mulling getting rid of USAID also. 

In June, the political council of the eight-nation ALBA bloc of countries, led by Venezuela, asked members to “immediately expel” USAID, accusing it of “destabilizing our legitimate governments.”

In July, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, who may run for re-election in February, warned supporters that USAID was fueling the opposition by pumping millions into “democracy strengthening” projects.

Correa said he’s writing up new rules for USAID.

“If they don’t want to follow them, then ‘So long,’” he said. “Go help some other country.”

So far, none of the nations have followed through on the threat and Ecuador has yet to announce its new guidelines. But it will be interesting to see if the Russian move is the begin of....

 Read the full story about the Latam fracas here.

And you can read the State Department's statement here.

September 17, 2012

Venezuela's dueling polls put your candidate in the lead

IMG_3680To outside observers, polls in Venezuela seem downright schizophrenic. Both camps bandy about figures that give them sizeable leads.

Today, two of those dueling surveys came out. First, the Ministry of Communications released a report by IVAD, which gives President Hugo Chavez 55 percent of the vote versus rival Henrique Capriles' 36 percent of the vote. IVAD is considered a serious pollster, but you would never know it from their online presence. Their website www.ivad.com.ve has been under construction for at least two years. 

Also today, an outfit with a fantastic name, Predicmatica, told Noticias24 that Capriles has a a five-point lead over Chavez at 48 percent to 43 percent. Predicmatica has had Capriles in the lead since January, making it one of the most opposition friendly pollsters.

Even so, the vast majority of polls still have Chavez in the lead and with approval ratings that would make most presidents envious - not bad for someone who has been in power for 14 years. 

Capriles isn't worried about the polls. I caught up with him on the campaign trail recently (read that story here), and he said he has his own polls that show him in the lead. (Read that interview here.)

For a very funny take on Venezuela's pollsters check out Caracas Chronicles here.  


jim wyss

Inside South America is written by Jim Wyss, the South America bureau chief for the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers.

Feel free to send a story suggestion. Read Jim's stories at MiamiHerald.com.

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