Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Stone’

The Christmas week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

The Kirchner-Baez scandal

Argentina’s socioeconomic statistics
Still lying after all these years
Official figures paint a rosy picture. So why are Argentines rioting?

Barbados Bonds at Record Yields as IMF Urges Restraint

Bolivians cheer satellite launchBolivian indigenous rituals ahead of satellite launch
Thousands of people in La Paz celebrate the launch of Bolivia’s first telecommunications satellite from a base in China

An Open Letter to the People of Brazil

Bachelet y el triunfo de los idiotas

Why did Barack Obama shake the hand of my father’s killer, Raul Castro?


Over 3,000 Cuban Doctors Defected From Venezuela

How China Just Grabbed 90% of Ecuador’s Oil

Belarus, Ecuador to set up joint laboratory for unmanned systems

Jamaican bride dumps new husband 20 MINUTES after arriving in the UK… and guess who paid for her £5k visa
Heartbroken charity worker believes she ‘joined boyfriend with whom she planned scheme’
He paid £5,000 for her visa


The Pope and Capitalism

Mexico’s Reforms: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Mexico’s Congress has delivered an energy reform plan that could alter Mexico’s economic outlook for decades to come, but its populist tax policies and profligate spending threaten the steady growth the country has achieved in recent years.

Ciudad Juárez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back to Living


Crime and Growth Convergence
Evidence from Mexico

Paraguay’s new president
Cartes plays his cards
Trickle-down economics in one of South America’s poorest countries

British drug mules sentenced to six years for trafficking in Peru
Michaella Connolly and Melissa Reid have been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison by a Peruvian judge, for attempting to smuggle 11 kilos of cocaine out of the country

Coast Guard rescues man kicked off mountain by goat (h/t Tree-hugging Sister)

The Economist’s country of the year, for legalizing the mass production and distribution of marijuana.

More bad news from Venezuela


The week’s posts and podcast
Colombia: mayor trouble

Colombia: Don’t fire the mayor yet! And how about the GPS?

Cuba: How to starve as a Cuban for 30 days

Venezuela, the next Zimbabwe

Colombia: Maicao, Hezbollah money-laundering center

Mexico: Manufacturing jobs moving back to US

Brazil: Snowden not in asylum

En español: Terapia intensiva de esta semana

Uruguay: UN says pot law against international law

Ecuador’s poor investment climate

Venezuela: Diplomats confirm Venezuelan links to drug trafficking

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Brazil: Edward Snowden asks for asylum

Venezuela elections outlook & US-Latin America stories of the week

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Cause: Argentina Bans Dollar Purchases For Savings, Infobae Says (h/t Clark). Effect: Making The Euro Zone Look Good

Argentina convicts 2 dictators of stealing babies

La República de la cocaína

Bolivian farmer dies in protests against Canadian mine

Star Gazers
Way out in a barren Chilean desert, the biggest telescope ever made is taking shape
, via Instapundit.

The Self-Employed and the “Mules”

The Truth About Cuba, via Babalu.

Raul Castro’s long trip to China raises questions about a secret stopover
A trip that takes one day on commercial jetliners took more than two, raising questions about a secret stopover

Ecuador Seeks Liquidity Loan As Correa Loses Oil Funding

Pide a EEUU no renovar Atpdea con Ecuador
Chevron descarta cualquier acuerdo extrajudicial con demandantes ecuatorianos

U.S. soldier killed on humanitarian mission in Guatemala

Xiomara Castro Urges Hondurans to Retake Power

Remember Fast and Furious’s Mexican Victims.

Mexico destroys 1 million chickens for bird flu

Mexico’s Leader Seeks to Shed the Past

Mexico’s election
The PRI’s qualified comeback
The former ruling party triumphs, but without the majority it had hoped for



Castro & Co. Are Best Kept at Arm’s Length
Economic growth in Latin America is at risk if tyrants are welcomed as legitimate leaders. As my family learned in Panama, poverty and tyranny go hand in hand.

Mercosur Shows Lack Of Ethics

The Paraguay MERCOSUR fiasco: the loser list

Peru: Three die in clashes over Conga gold mine project
Clashes in northern Peru between police and demonstrators opposing a multi-million dollar gold mining project have left at least three people dead.

Our American Dream: Bobby Sanabria, the Voice of Afro-Cuban Jazz

Uruguay president: Only pot will be legal

Chavez Promotes to Minister Military Officer designated by the U.S Treasury as Drug Kingpin

Venezuelan Officials Acting on Behalf of the FARC

Chávez: into Mercosur by a side door

Venezuela’s presidential campaign
Tilting the pitch
The opposition faces some extraordinary obstacles

Mitt Romney: We Stand With Venezuelans Fighting For Democracy And Freedom

The week’s posts:
Cuba: $1.55 billion, gone!

MoDo did well!

The Colombia/Venezuela kerfuffle Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 26th, 2010

LatinAmerWelcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. This week’s big story: Colombia and Venezuela are disputing evidence presented at the OAS that Chavez is harboring FARC terrorists. Mary O’Grady writes about Where the FARC Goes to Fatten Up
Dramatic evidence presented by Colombia at last Thursday’s OAS meeting in Washington puts Hugo Chávez on the hot seat.
(emphasis added)

In a two-hour presentation before the permanent council at the Organization of American States, Colombian OAS ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos laid out a series of photos, videos, maps, satellite images and computer documents that Colombia claims show the rebels using Venezuela as a safe haven much the same way they were using Ecuador.

Mr. Hoyos also charged that Venezuela knows about the guerrilla camps—some of which have been there for a long time—and has done nothing about them. Indeed, the Venezuelan National Guard sometimes consorts with the rebels, Mr. Hoyos said.

Given this new information, Mr. Chávez’s reaction to Colombia’s 2008 incursion into Ecuador now looks logical. Bogotá justified that raid on the grounds that its appeals to Quito to go after FARC taking rest and relaxation in its territory had gone nowhere. Now we know that Mr. Chávez had reason to believe he would be next.

But Mr. Uribe launched a different sort of offensive on Thursday. Instead of a military operation, he bundled new intelligence on the FARC’s Venezuelan outposts and dropped it like a bomb on the OAS permanent council.

The facts were no surprise. For years, Bogotá has been complaining—with no shortage of proof—about the friendly treatment Venezuela gives the guerrillas. But by packaging and delivering the new evidence as he did, Mr. Uribe put Mr. Chávez, very publicly, on the spot. More importantly, he has forced the issue with his hemispheric counterparts.

Mr. Hoyos told the OAS that there are some 1,500 rebels across the border in more than 75 camps. There they regroup, organize, train and prepare explosives. This safe-haven status, he explained, produces more kidnapping and drug trafficking on both sides of the border. And more carnage in Colombia: Graphic photos of rebel victims flashed on a screen while he spoke.

Mr. Hoyos did not call for sanctions against Venezuela. Instead he asked for an international commission to verify Colombia’s claims. He promised that his government could provide the “precise coordinates” of farms and haciendas where the rebels are ensconced. “If what is there is only a little school and humble peasants, there would be no problem with an international commission to verify if Colombia’s accusation is not true,” Mr. Hoyos argued.

Central America: Cultivation Central
Central America is rapidly becoming an important global trading partner as its fruit and vegetable exports grow.

Making Latin America More Competitive

175 people killed in South America cold spell

Democracy or exclusion? Argentine politicians favor Twitter over journalists

The Skeletons in Brazil’s Closet

China invests heavily in Brazil, elsewhere in pursuit of political heft

Chile Fishermen Fight to Recover From Quake

Cierre de pasaje genera polémica/ Venta de viviendas sube en junio/ Puerto Octay se declara zona típica

Why Colombia did get so personal yesterday at the OAS?

Bogota Brouhaha
Why is Colombia putting the screws to Chavez now?

Cuba—Is It Different This Time?

Capitol or Bat House

A Cuban Dissident Asks: Why do you (heart) Marxist-Leninist Autocrats?

The Suffering of Guantanamo Prisoners

Democratic Senator Menendez Threatens Filibuster Over Cuba Sanctions

Ecuador Leader Falters in Bid to Consolidate Power

Ugh! Bowls of Human Fingers and Teeth Found in Mayan Tomb (h/t Gates of Vienna)

Cultural differences: Consumer complaints

No, Texas Hasn’t Been Invaded, original post here.

New Terror Threat On Mexico Border

Mexico prison guards let inmates out for massacres

The gang at Gomez Palacio were responsible for 33 murders in three incidents, including the massacre of 17 people at a rented hall filled mainly with young adults. They fired more than 120 rounds into the crowd; it was the bullet casings that led investigators back to Gomez Palacio. The prison director and three of his henchmen have been placed under house arrest, although considering this story, that may wind up being more secure than prison anyway.

This should impress the truth on people, which is that the problem in Mexico isn’t American guns, or any kind of guns at all. The problem in Mexico is corruption.

Mexico: Prison guards let killers out, lent guns

NUGENT: Dear Mexico …
American dream is attainable for those who share our values

Terrorism in Mexico?

Foreign banking for U.S. citizens just got a lot more dfficult

Peru declares states of emergency in 16 regions due to cold wave


Puerto Rico requests FEMA aid for 17 flooded areas

Rumble at the OAS: Colombia vs. Venezuela

A very personal rant: Screw Maradona, Long Live Abdus Salam and throw Richard Feynman into the mix!

Chávez intenta nuevamente apoderarse de Globovisión

Chavez says Venezuela now owns almost half of opposition channel Globovisión

Will the U.S. Hand Chávez a License to Kill?
Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez’s record of providing money, arms, political support, and, yes, safe haven to groups waging a murderous war against a sovereign state openly violates international law.

Behind exhumation of Simon Bolivar is Hugo Chavez’s warped obsession


Qué hacer con Hugo Chavez?

And, Stoned, as always,

Oliver Stone: ‘Jewish-Dominated Media’ Prevents Hitler from Being Portrayed ‘in Context’

The director, who recently met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, also slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as “horrible.”

“Iran isn’t necessarily the good guy,” said Stone. “[B]ut we don’t know the full story!”

The Scarface screenwriter had even more encouraging words for socialist Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who Stone called “a brave, blunt, earthy” man. The director has recently been promoting his Chavez-praising documentary called “South of the Border.”

When the interviewer pointed out that Chavez has had a less-than-stellar record on human rights, Stone immediately dismissed the criticism.

“The internet’s fully free [in Venezuela],” said Stone. “You can say what the hell you like. Compare it with all the other countries: Mexico, Guatemala, above all Colombia, which is a joke.”

While Stone has not been as blunt about his views on Jews and the Holocaust in the past, he has been outspoken in his fondness for Chavez and his disagreements with the U.S.’s policy on Iran.

On ABC’s Good Morning America on July 28, the director told anchor George Stephanopoulos that he “absolutely” believes Chavez is a good person, and claimed that there was “there’s no pattern of censorship in this country [Venezuela].”

Deportation of illegal immigrants increases under Obama administration

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Chavez breaks relations with Colombia over evidence presented at OAS
Moratinos falls for a sucker game
I’m not the only Latina supporting the Arizona SB 1070
“The Mandela of Cuba”
El Diario’s spy, Vicky
Venezuela, Syria and Iran, sponsors of terror VIDEO

Special thanks to Dick, Maggie, and Maria.


The SOB Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean with VIDEO

Monday, July 12th, 2010

LatinAmerWelcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Carnival today is named after a new holiday proposed by a guy in Argentina – SOB day. A holiday we can all celebrate.

Clarin denounces Argentine government’s increase in press harassment

A new holiday in Argentina? SOB day!

Petrobras Debt Risk Rises More Than Pemex on Deep-Water Drill Costs Climb

Brazil’s Petrobras Eyes 2011 Start-Up for Ethanol Pipeline

Entrevista a Alejandro Gutierrez, arquitecto ARUP: “Yo creo que debiera haber un Alcalde Mayor”

Alejandro Gutierrez _ Desafíos para Santiago from Plataforma Urbana on Vimeo.

U.S. denies visa to Colombian journalist Hollman Morris, citing Patriot Act

Giving a new shade to the meaning of bitch: Ingrid Betancourt sues the Colombian state

Legislators Appeal To Constitutional Court To Stop U.S Warships From Entering Costa Rican Waters

Hardly surprising: Spain begins to qualify prisoner release terms

At first, Spain’s foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos assured everyone that the 52 Cuban prisoners of conscience that are supposed to be released and shipped to Spain can return to Cuba whenever they like. The release was not a forced exile, he declared to reporters.

Now, however, he is beginning to qualify that statement by saying that Spain cannot guarantee that the Cuban dictatorship will authorize their return.

France offers to resettle deportees

Hollywood Mourns Their Castro Connection

Cuba to release 52 political prisoners, Catholic Church says

The Elian Gonzalez case 10 years on

Obama says: Cuba Si!, Gulf Coast No!

Saturday chuckle, in Spanish with all the dirty words you can fit in three minutes:

The First Sip of Water

Probably Still There to Join in the Fun

Chavez, Correa Boost Cooperation

As part of those efforts, Venezuela and Ecuador on Tuesday will carry out their first binational transaction through the Unique System for Regional Equalization (SUCRE), to reduce costs and avoid dependence on the U.S. dollar.

Yeah, right.

How Guatemala nearly went ‘narco’

Hiring: héroes para Guatemala

Guyanese man pleads guilty in JFK bomb plot

Guyana recommits to peaceful resolution of border issue with Venezuela

La Gringa is looking for Honduras Blogs.

Mexican president’s allies lead in key elections

Somewhere over the rainbow in Mexico’s elections

Mexicans Vote in State Elections

Mexico’s Culture of Racism

The myth that the border can’t be secured

Longer-term Impact of the Alliances

Drugs Aren’t the Only Problem

Mexique : Allah au pays des Mayas

Islamists in Mexico (report in Spanish:

South Korea investing big into Panama

Protests in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro Province

Peruvian Drug Dealers Hid Dope In Vuvuzelas

Catching up with Peru’s fight against narcoterrorists

Pisco to Lima gas pipeline in Peru may take three years

Venezuelans oppose Chávez attempt to nationalize private food company


Stone’s Reel Mission

But Stone also revealed at Friday night’s showing in Santa Monica that the documentary wasn’t about box office returns. No, he’s more concerned about showing it through “the cultural circuit” to impressionable audiences with little knowledge of Latin America.

“We’ve got demand from a lot of universities,” Stone said, for “as many as possible to see it.” It’ll play on TV next year too, he said.

Hugo Chavez belongs in the rogues’ gallery: Compare him to the world’s worst dictators

Not so Random Chavismo Target of the week: Twitter

Lawyer for American Taliban to Head DOJ Arizona Case

Brewer To Boston: MYOB

So, Will Holder Tell Arizona that the States Are Pre-empted from Defending Themselves from Hezbollah, Too?

During the floods in Brazil that kept Lula from the G20 (h/t Roissy, who looks at the betaness of it all, I think the guy carrying the girls would have carried the day had he used a Rhett Butler technique.)

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Cuba to expel 52 political prisoners: 15 Minutes on Latin America
Cuba to expel political prisoners
Hezbollah honcho busted at his Tijiuana Mx home
Two parties win in Mexico, but does it matter?
In Silvio Canto’s podcast
Obama: we can’t secure the border


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.

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,, 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.


Oliver Stone: “We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.'”

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

… says Oliver Stone,

“Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,” Stone told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena.

Lovely touch of moral equivalence between two mass-murderer dictators who ruled with impunity and an alcoholic senator who was taken down by a journalist, isn’t it?

That’s exactly why we “need” Oliver Stoned to explain it all to us, do we?

“Stalin has a complete other story,” Stone said. “Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and its been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect … People in America don’t know the connection between WWI and WWII … I’ve been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes to understand their point of view. We’re going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions … Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.”

Of course! It’s all the evil American corporations’ fault! That must be it!

But why should anyone or anything be faulted? If Ollie really believes ” We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good,'” why bother have any judgment at all? Why not instead whore oneself with thugs, exactly the way Olly does with Hugo Chavez and that oil money.

Italy Venice Film Festival South of the Border
Adolf and Stalin were not available for photo-ops

Stoned has the stones to refer to history as “events that at the time went under-reported, but crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history of the last 60 years,” such as,

President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan and the origins of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

since, of course, the media didn’t bother on either two “event”. But it’s all about empathy with Olly,

“You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate”

Well, if you believe that, you’ll probably sit and watch Olly’s history rewrite… with empathy, of course.

Let’s just hope Ollie wasn’t the talent behind that FARC propaganda video doing the rounds which shows the lovely pastoral agrarian FARC “fighting capitalism single-handedly” because no one else does.

Here’s the video, if you don’t remember it from the other day,

After all, the FARC would tell you they have been “vilified pretty thoroughly” too.

It’s all about the empathy.

Hugo goes to Venice UPDATED with photos

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Photos, via Noticias 24

Hugo and Oliver both wore matching outfits. Sweet!

Italy Venice Film Festival South of the Border


Oliver Stone, whose career is way beyond salvation at this point, has made a propaganda movie about Hugo Chavez titled South of the Border, which gives us a chance to see Hugo break and fall off a little kid’s bike.

Stone invited Chavez to go to the Venice Film Festival, where South of the Border will premiere outside of competition.

Well, what is a fashionable traveling tyrant to do?

Chavez has now taken time off his tour of Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Belarus and Russia and headed to Venice

The leftist leader was expected to walk down the red carpet at around 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) to attend the official screening of “South of the Border”

As a worthy Communist, Hugo travels in style:

His entourage has taken over the entire third floor of the luxury Hotel des Bains on the Lido near the festival venue, a Venezuelan journalist told AFP, adding that Chavez was under the protection of 26 bodyguards.

That’s four bodyguards short of Hugo’s other buddy and fellow fashionable traveling tyrant Muammar al-Qaddafi, who pitches his tent (except for New Jersey) with thirty female virgin bodyguards. There is no information available on the gender or purity of Hugo’s bodyguards.

I can’t decide whether the late Thomas Mann (since Mann’s character Gustav von Aschenbach stayed at the Hotel des Bains on the Lido) or the surgically-altered Joan Rivers would be the most appropriate person to review Hugo’s stay, but will post photos of Hugo on the red carpet once I find them.

michaelmoooreVeniceWhile in Venice, Hugo and Oliver may have a chance to get together with fellow traveler Michael Moore and deplore capitalism

Blending his trademark humor with tragic individual stories, archive footage and publicity stunts, the 55-year-old launches an all out attack on the capitalist system, arguing that it benefits the rich and condemns millions to poverty.

Because nothing spells sincerity as bemoaning riches in the style one has become accustomed to while at one of the word’s premiere luxury settings.

Update 2
Venice Film Festival: A Movie Star Reception For Hugo Chavez

Update, Tuesday, 8 September
What did I tell you? Hugo meets Michael

Drooling on the lens of his Sincerity-cam

Viva Maria Conchita

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

"Chavez welcomes actor and director Sean Penn aboard the presidential plane"

‘Shut up about Chavez the killer’ Venezuelan co-star tells Sean Penn

The saccharine conventions of showbusiness were thrown out of the window last week, when the Hollywood actress Maria Conchita Alonso was collared by paparazzi and asked if she was pleased about her former co-star Sean Penn’s recent Oscar victory.

“He’s an amazing actor. I can’t take that away from him,” she said of Penn, who worked with her on the 1988 cop film Colors. “It’s just that he has no clue at all what’s going on in Venezuela. He’s been praising Hugo Chavez, who is a dictator and a killer. He should shut up about what he doesn’t know.” Alonso, who was raised in Venezuela, was apparently upset by a glowing article that Penn had written for The Nation magazine about her homeland’s charismatic but increasingly dictatorial left-wing President.

In normal circumstances, Alonso’s interview might have been brushed under the carpet. But for the first time a Hollywood insider was saying what much of America thinks: left-wing luvvies in the movie business should wake up to the real nature of their hero. For one thing, Mr Chavez throughout his career has criticised Hollywood as a medium of American “cultural imperialism”. And Penn, who since his Oscar-winning performance in Milk has become a vociferous gay rights activist, is also open to allegations of hypocrisy.

The article came out in the UK’s Independent, which, unlike US newspapers dares point out,

The Venezuelan leader’s political hero, Fidel Castro, imprisoned and executed gay men, and once declared: “In this country [Cuba] there are no homosexuals.”

Benicio, unlike Maria Conchita, continued to display his characteristic cluelessness:

On Thursday, Benicio del Toro made headlines when he took tea with Mr Chavez at his palace in Caracas. The actor, in Venezuela to promote Steven Soderbergh’s film Che, told journalists that his host was “nice” and that he’d “had a good time”. Del Toro’s comments caused apoplexy on the political right in the US, but lately even Democrats have been perturbed by Mr Chavez’s intolerance of media criticism and political opposition.

Not that Benicio and Penn are alone: Danny Glover’s already fed at the petrodollar trough, receiving $18 million to make 2 movies; Oliver Stone’s making a biopic of Chavez, and Harry Belafonte schoomzes with Chavez as often as he can. Maybe they should all get together and make an Ocean’s 11 with Hugo as the casino owner?

Readers of this blog know Maria Conchita has spoken the truth about Venezuela in the past.

Special thanks to Larwyn and Don Surber.


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