Archive for the ‘Raul Baduel’ Category

South of the Border’s lying lovefest

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I’ve posted that South of the Border tanked in Caracas, and will tank here. Well, if you read this review, you can understand why,
To Chavez, With Love
Oliver Stone’s mash note to the dictators of Latin America.

While the film’s major focus is on Mr. Chávez, it also covers Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Fidel Castro’s younger brother, Raul. By Mr. Stone’s lights, all of these heads of state should be celebrated for daring to take on our country, the imperialist giant. “It is the big story that hasn’t been told,” Mr. Stone said. “These leaders are being trashed as dictators because our leaders don’t like them.”

The film depicts the ups and downs of Mr. Chávez’s rise to power, including his failed 1992 coup. It recounts how he was saved from death by armed forces loyal to him, and was brought back to power in large part by Gen. Raul Baduel. The general is shown discussing the role he played in Mr. Chávez’s restoration.

A small detail Mr. Stone conveniently leaves out is that in 2009, Gen. Baduel, who Mr. Chávez had appointed as defense minister, was stripped of power, indicted for corruption, and imprisoned because he had opposed Mr. Chávez’s attempts to institute constitutional changes that would transform Venezuela into a formal dictatorship.

What Mr. Stone and his writers have presented is a standard far-left narrative that is part of a long line of propaganda films, a modern American version of the old agitprop. There are no dissenting voices in this film. Nor is there any mention of the fact that Mr. Chávez has closed down television and radio stations that disagree with him and arrested dissenting political figures.

Another sin of omission: Mr. Stone makes no mention of Chile, which in the 1970s embraced economic liberalization and successfully reduced poverty much more than Mr. Chávez has managed to do in his own country. As writer Tariq Ali argued after the film ended, even under the recent socialist government Chile did not make the kind of structural Marxist changes that he and Mr. Stone believe is necessary for real change. Thus moderate leftist countries south of our border simply don’t count as “progressive.” Perhaps that’s why the filmmakers only praise those regimes that use their elected office to quickly institute an end to all limitations on their power.

Those interested in the truth about Latin America should save their money when “South of the Border” opens this weekend, and rent Ofra Bikel’s “The Hugo Chavez Show” from Netflix, or watch it for free on the PBS Frontline website instead.

Speaking of which, here’s FrontLine’s The Hugo Chavez Show, and the first part in YouTube,

While we’re watching movies, Syria’s Assad is on a state visit to Venezuela.

UPDATE
Alek Boyd:

The bit in the [New York Times] article that caught my attention though, was this:

Instead Mr. Stone relies heavily on the account of Gregory Wilpert, who witnessed some of the exchange of gunfire and is described as an American academic. But Mr. Wilpert is also the husband of Mr. Chávez’s consul-general in New York, Carol Delgado, and a longtime editor and president of the board of a Web site, Venezuelanalysis.com, set up with donations from the Venezuelan government, affiliations that Mr. Stone does not disclose.

For years I have been following the activities of Gregory Wilpert, arguing that he was nothing more than a paid propagandist, for I was convinced that, unless some benefit was derived, no one with a right mind would risk reputation defending Chavez so passionately, as Wilpert has done. Then I found out that the site he edits was registered and set up by Chavez’s Consul in San Francisco, and it was further revealed to me that Wilpert was married to a chavista: Chavez’s Consul in New York. I got to admit, some fanatics, Wilpert included, did write to me to say that my expose of Wilpert’s connections meant nothing. I guess now that it has been printed in the New York Times I can feel vindicated.

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Chavez at the BBC’s HARDtalk: Never answer what they ask you VIDEO

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I was reading a transcript of the interview Hugo Chavez gave to Stephen Sackur of the BBC in advance of Caracas premier of the Oliver Stone propaganda film South of the Border.

The one thing you can discern from Chavez’s answers is that he doesn’t answer what he’s been asked. For instance, when Sackur asks about the Venezuelan economy, Chavez carries on about Europe.

SS: I want to begin by asking you about the Venezuelan economy. You have a serious problem with inflation, you have a currency that’s been devalued and your country is still in recession, is it fair to say that socialism, right now, is not working?

HC: I think you have more problems in England and in Spain and in the whole of Europe, it’s disastrous, the US has more problems than we have here. We’ve had an economic growth rate over the last six years of 7.8% GDP just to give you an example.

In fact, as the BBC article points out,

Venezuela possesses the biggest reserves of oil outside the Middle East and supplies more than one-tenth of US oil imports, but still the economy has woefully underperformed against others in Latin America in the last two years.

Inflation has leapt to 30% and seems likely to rise further. The Venezuelan currency has been devalued and is still sinking amongst Caracas’s black market money changers.

Chavez got upset when asked about Raul Baduel, but Ollie Stone was there to quiet him down:

As the tension in the presidential palace rose, Oliver Stone who was seated in a corner listening intently to the exchanges – along with a host of presidential aides and one of the president’s daughters – gestured to the president with both hands.

The message was easy to read: Calm down.

Nice to have friends like Ollie, whose films you can bankroll, isn’t it?

When Chavez does get around to answering, his mantra is “blame American imperialism.”

As if we hadn’t heard that one yet in the past sixty years.

The text of key parts of the interview is below the fold:
(more…)

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Venezuela: Baduel Sentenced to Eight Years

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

My latest Real Clear World post is up: Venezuela: Baduel Sentenced to Eight Years

Venezuela: Baduel Sentenced to Eight Years

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

My latest Real Clear World post is up: Venezuela: Baduel Sentenced to Eight Years

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Raul Baduel, the guy who sprung Chavez from jail, sentenced to jail

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Hugo Chávez just sent to prison his former best buddy, Raul Baduel:
Critic of Chavez Gets 8-Year Prison Sentence

Raul Baduel was sentenced by a military court to seven years and 11 months behind bars for “stealing funds of the armed forces, abuse of authority and crimes against military honor,” according to a statement from state-run VTV television station.

As you may recall, Baduel was arrested in April last year. He was instrumental on defeating the 2007 referendum allowing Chávez to run indefinitely for office (the referendum was resubmitted last year and passed).

This is the guy who sprung Chávez from jail and restored him to power after the 2002 coup. He’ll have plenty of time to reconsider that decision.

Noticias 24 has more (in Spanish).

To those of you familiar with Cuban history, does this make Baduel the new Camilo Cienfuegos, or the new Huber Matos?

Prior posts on Baduel here.

Raul Baduel, the guy who sprung Chavez from jail, sentenced to jail

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Hugo Chávez just sent to prison his former best buddy, Raul Baduel:
Critic of Chavez Gets 8-Year Prison Sentence

Raul Baduel was sentenced by a military court to seven years and 11 months behind bars for “stealing funds of the armed forces, abuse of authority and crimes against military honor,” according to a statement from state-run VTV television station.

As you may recall, Baduel was arrested in April last year. He was instrumental on defeating the 2007 referendum allowing Chávez to run indefinitely for office (the referendum was resubmitted last year and passed).

This is the guy who sprung Chávez from jail and restored him to power after the 2002 coup. He’ll have plenty of time to reconsider that decision.

Noticias 24 has more (in Spanish).

To those of you familiar with Cuban history, does this make Baduel the new Camilo Cienfuegos, or the new Huber Matos?

Prior posts on Baduel here.

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Baduel’s arrest: Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern

Monday, April 6th, 2009

In today’s 15 Minutes on Latin America podcast,
General Raul Baduel, former defense minister and longtime Chavez ally, issues from prison a plea for Venezuelans “to save democracy.” He was arrested by Hugo Chavez’s orders on Thursday on charges of corruption.

The statement was made in a video (in Spanish) made by his son, who used his cell phone:

Related reading:
Noticias 24, in Spanish, CNN emite una grabacion del General Baduel del viernes en Fuerte Tiuna
NYT Venezuela: Arrest of Former Minister, a Chávez Critic
Bloomberg, Venezuela Ex-Defense Minister to Be Held in Prison, Lawyer Says
Miami Herald, Foe of Hugo Chávez arrested in Venezuela
An opponent of Venezuela’s leader was arrested, an action described as another in a string of dissident persecutions.

El Universal, Military Attorney General talks about “enough grounds” against Baduel
LA Herald Tribune, Venezuela General Who Rescued Chavez — Then Turned Against Him — Held in Military Jail

Prior posts on Baduel here

Chat’s open by 10:45, and all podcasts are archived for your listening convenience. See you there!

The second Monday in October Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. If you would like your links included, please email me: faustaw2 “at” gmail “dot” com.

This week’s top story:
Two seeminly unrelated Venezuelan news stories,
First, Student opposition leader gunned down in Venezuela

Venezuelan authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a student leader who helped organize protests against constitutional amendments proposed by President Hugo Chavez.

Julio Soto, a student leader at the University of Zulia, was killed Wednesday by unidentified gunmen in the western city of Maracaibo.

Local Police Chief Jose Gonzalez said he believes Soto was specifically targeted because the assailants sprayed his vehicle with gunfire and then fled without taking anything.

But Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami said federal authorities have not yet determined if the killing was a politically motivated hit.

Soto was a member of the Copei opposition party. Voters rejected Chavez’s proposed reforms in December.

Hugo Chávez has ordered authorities to quickly solve the murder

Education Minister Hector Navarro told Venezuela’s state news agency on Thursday that Chávez wants police to catch those who killed Julio Soto “as soon as possible.”

In the second item, former Defense Minister Gen. Raúl Baduel, who was instrumental in defeating Chávez constitutional reforms last December, was detained by the authorities on Friday and is now barred from leaving the country:

Rafael Tosta, a lawyer for Mr. Baduel, who was released Friday night, said his client was also required to appear before a military tribunal every 15 days and was prohibited from publicly commenting on the accusations, which revolve around $14.5 million in missing funds.

Mr. Baduel, who helped reinstall Mr. Chávez after a brief coup in 2002, has gone from being a hero of the president’s socialist-inspired revolution to one of its outcasts. Mr. Baduel emerged as one of Mr. Chávez most vocal opponents since resigning as defense minister last year.

Here’s the video of his arrest:

Baduel has been charged with robbery:

Military Attorney, Gen. Ernesto Cedeno, said the former minister has been charged with alleged robbery of National Armed Forces funds and properties during his term of over four years at the helm of the military institution.

In a press conference, Cedeno said the decision was taken in the wake of an investigation stemming from an accusation rather than from political reprisal, as stated by Baduel, who assumed opposition stances after his retirement.

“According to the investigation, there are over $31 billion bolivars missing (about $14.50 million), and out of a sense of justice and honor, he oughts to clear up the situation during his term as Defense minister,” stressed Cedeno.

Baduel was recently shot at while driving his car but managed to get away.

Does this signal a new crackdown on the Venezuelan opposition? Stratfor sees it at attempts to destabilize the opposition:

A few months ago, the loosely organized and previously unpopular opposition parties began making major gains in public opinion as Venezuela’s economy began souring and Chavez’s socialist policies came under fire. With this in mind, Chavez has gone so far as to have the courts ban 272 opposition politicians from running for office, charging them with corruption.

Chavez has also moved to strengthen the central government ahead of the elections, including implementing a series of reforms rejected in the 2006 constitution vote. Most recently, Chavez — with the help of the National Assembly — enacted the Organic Law for the Organization and Management of the Territory, which gives the central government control over local and state-level governments. In doing so, Chavez effectively negates any gains the opposition leaders might achieve if they are able to score seats in the upcoming election.

LATIN AMERICA
Why Did the Chicken Cross Party Lines?

Latin American Economies: Keeping their fingers crossed

Cómo validar nuestra educación en Los Estados Unidos

Hard economic times may just be starting

World War III knocking at our door

ARGENTINA
Las maletas contenian 6 millones de dolares

BOLIVIA
Young Bolivians fight for their regions

The oppositions criticisms of Bolivia’s draft CPE

COLOMBIA
Colombia, U.S. Ally, May Conclude Defense Agreement With Russia

CUBA
Proposed Russian-Cuba-Venezuela Space Cooperation Raises Many Questions

A billboard for shelter

Cuba, FARC may be training guerrillas at Venezuelan camp
Cuban advisors and Colombian rebels are helping train paramilitary fighters, critics and former participants say

Going to hell on a financial handbasketcase: Fidel asesora creación de un nuevo sistema financiero, liderado por Venezuela e Irán Fidel’s an advisor on a new financial system led by Venezuela and Iran (whom, by the way, years ago joined forces to undermine the US dollar).

Rafael Jorrín García, Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week, 10/05/08

ECUADOR
Nature as a Privileged Minority

US Problems Spread to Ecuador’s Dollar Economy

Ecuador’s new constitution: In good faith

USA Backs Russo-Iranian-Soros Cartels running Venezuela and Ecuador; Abandons Honorable Uribe: Throwing Colombia to the Wolves of Deceit

HONDURAS
Protestan contra Ortega a su llegada a Honduras y él se escondió

MEXICO
North America Must Integrate for Trade, Calderon Says

9 bodies found dumped in Mexico

NICARAGUA
Just to make you chuckle a little bit about Nicaragua

Ortega targeting his ex-comrades
With a weakened right-of-center opposition, Nicaragua’s president cracked down on former comrades on the left.

PUERTO RICO
Pork and rum? Rum Tax Break Report False, Says Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

There is confusion over a provision in the current financial rescue package which benefits the rum-producing territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This is not a tax break for rum makers as has been reported in the press and claimed on Capitol Hill.

It is fundamentally a revenue sharing arrangement between the U.S. government and the governments of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which Congress has voted to extend repeatedly over the last 20 years. Under this provision, the federal government rebates to the governments of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands most of the Federal Excise Tax collected on rum imported to the United States.

VENEZUELA
Democrats Shouldn’t Coddle Chávez
The prospect of a nuclear Venezuela should be enough to unite allegiances in Washington.
Liberal fascism in Venezuela

Caracas, murder capital of the world

Student opposition leader gunned down in Venezuela

Via IBD blog, Venezuelan town ruled by Colombian guerrillas

Venezuela, France mull nuclear energy deal As IBD blog commented,

Well, why not? /s The U.S. is sending loud signals it doesn’t care about Russian nuclear proliferation in the Caribbean, so the French are taking the cue that this is a ‘for sale’ sign. Or maybe something more negative is going on. France also says it wants Hugo Chavez, that glorious mediator to FARC (who was found to have used FARC contacts not to mediate but funnel cash and arms to the terrorists) now will mediate between the West and Iran. Wonder what he will funnel now? This is insane. Do the French never learn?

The South American nuclear genie

Venezolano con carné: the latest on the “valija gate”

How quickly does Hugo Chavez forget his fake beliefs in democracy or Venezuela, a democracy no more!

AMERICAN POLITICS
Via LGF Linkviewer, William Ayers and Hugo Chavez

Campaigns woo new Hispanic citizens as key bloc

Special thanks to Eneas, GoV, Maggie, Maria and Siggy
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Venezuela: Who is Raul Baduel?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Time Magezine: How Solid Was Hugo Chavez’s Base?

Until recently, Venezuela’s opposition was so weak and fragmented it seemed unable to even fathom an electoral victory. But, in the early morning hours on Monday, it sealed a surprising triumph over the constitutional reform proposal of a president who, in nine years, had never lost an election. Scrambling to explain this aberration in a land where Hugo Chavez dominates the political landscape, many political observers point to the thousands of university students, who, dormant until this year, clogged the streets to protest the reform in the weeks leading up to the vote. Raul Baduel, the former defense minister and longtime ally of the president, also injected life into the opposition when he, along with the former pro-Chavez party Podemos (Spanish for “We Can”), called for people to vote “No.” But the results raise another, perhaps more important, question: how much help did the opposition actually receive from the poor, Chavez’s main support base?

It used to be a given that Chavez could count on the lower class, which represents the majority of the population, to turn the vote his way. Clearly, after logging 49% of the vote for his controversial reform, Chavez still has many of the poor on his side. The electoral council has yet to release detailed results that would indicate how impoverished areas voted. But an abstention rate of 44% suggests some of Chavez’s traditional support base didn’t show up to vote. And, narrow as the vote count was, the rejection of his proposal only one year after he won reelection by a margin of over 20% raises the possibility that abstention was compounded by some supporters actually voting “No.” If, as interviews in Caracas this week suggest, more people in barrios disagree with Chavez’s political agenda, that’s worrisome for a man whose political raison d’etre is defined by alleviating poverty.

Here is Raul Baduel’s message explaining the reasons to vote NO (in Spanish, at his own blog, via Two Weeks Notice) MENSAJE DE RAUL BADUEL LUNES 12 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2007.RAZONES PARA ACUDIR A VOTAR “NO”. One particular statement catches my eye:

Como soldados hemos sido preparados profesionalmente en la administración de la violencia legal y legitima del Estado, y por ende, expertos en este asunto y lo que la violencia entraña. Por lo tanto, se acentúa mas nuestro deber en evitar en grado sumo el desencadenamiento de procesos violentos y erigirnos entonces como generadores de sosiego y sendero cierto hacia el desarrollo del país y propulsores y mantenedores de la paz, haciendo cierta la vocación pacifista del pueblo venezolano recogida de manera principista en el articulo 13 constitucional.

As I see it, Baduel is saying two things:

  • He’s telling the people to vote no.
  • He’s telling the military to allow the NO vote to stand

Most importantly, he stressed that abstention isn’t effective. The military, Chavez’s own base, and the people of Venezuela were listening.

By these stressing these three points, he actively promoted a NO vote on the referendum on Chavez. Make no mistake, while Chavez can legally stay as president until 2013, Chavez himself turned this constitutional amendment poll into a referendum about himself.


Who is Raul Baduel?
From his blog

He graduated in 1976, 11th in a class of 86.
In 1982 he was one of the four founding members of the Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario (Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement) along with Hugo Chavez, Jesus Urdaneta and Felipe Acosta Carles.
On April 11, 2002 he led, as a Commander of Army Paratroopers, the operation that brought Chavez back in power.
From 2004-2006 he was Army Commander General. On June 2006 he was promoted to Chief General and appointed Minister of Defense, which he served until July 2007.
On November 5, 2007 he declared himself against the constutional reform.

At the BBC, March 19, 2004: Chavez’s key backers

Gen Raul Baduel::Army Commander-in-Chief
Gen Raul Baduel was one of the officers who rose up against the short-lived Carmona government during the April 2002 coup d’etat, when he was chief of the 42nd Airborne Brigade of paratroopers.

Known for his new-age beliefs, Gen Baduel was the first senior officer to declare his opposition to the coup.

He helped organise the operation that rescued Mr Chavez from prison on the Caribbean island of La Orchila.

He was subsequently promoted to commander of the Maracay Garrison, before rising to commander-in-chief of the army in January 2004.

President Chavez’s military-civilian policy is a central tenet of the Bolivarian revolution, and began with Plan Bolivar 2000, a controversial internal defence and development exercise.

The general has rejected allegations of a rift within the army, saying that the group of dissident officers who declared themselves in legitimate disobedience in October 2002 “have strayed from the path of duty and turned their backs on the Venezuelan state because of a thirst for power and personal gain”.

But critics say Gen Baduel is one of a small group of officers “co-governing” Venezuela with Mr Chavez.

In today’s NYT, Simon Romero writes (emphasis added),

But in an unforeseen challenge to Mr. Chávez, the new leaders of this opposition have emerged from the disaffected within his own movement. They are hewing to leftist ideals while expressing increasing unhappiness with state control of the economy and the intensifying cult of celebrity around Mr. Chávez.

“The president wanted to obligate Venezuelans to accept this project,” said Gen. Raúl Isaías Baduel, the retired top commander of Venezuela’s army who broke with Mr. Chávez last month.

General Baduel, speaking at a news conference here on Monday, said “the people did not propose one comma or period to the text” of the defeated proposals, which would have formally created a socialist state. As a next step, General Baduel proposed that the country convene a new constitutional assembly to rewrite Venezuela’s laws.

Aside from General Baduel, other leaders whose stars are rising are Ismael García, a deputy in the National Assembly, and Ramón Martínez, governor of Sucre State in eastern Venezuela. Both men were supporters of Mr. Chávez but have vociferously distanced themselves from him in recent months.

They were joined by a student movement that led street protests here and in other large Venezuelan cities before the vote. In contrast with some traditional opposition parties, few of the student leaders describe themselves as conservative critics of the president, preferring to tout their own progressive ideals.

Raul Baduel: remember that name.

Please listen to last Sunday’s podcast:
In Sunday’s podcast Dr Luis Fleischman talked about General Baduel and how Baduel’s stance incited and encouraged the people to defeat the referendum
Dr. Luis Fleischman is an advisor to the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy in Washington DC. He is also an adjunct professor of Political Science and Sociology at Wilkes Honor College at Florida Atlantic University.
Calrification: During the podcast Dr. Fleischman mentioned that Gen Baduel had been shot at. This article (in Spanish) states that Baduel was threatened by a man pointing a gun at him calling him “traitor” as Baduel was leaving his polling place after voting. (h/t Eneas Biglione of HACER)

Update:
In an email exchange with Rick Moran, where I said, “As I see it, he’s the one that made the result stand>”, Rick commented,

Absolutely. And I think his appearance on TV late on election night while all that stuff was happening at the CNE probably saved the vote from being hijacked. His insistence that the results be released immediately forestalled any attempt to manipulate the ballots.

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