Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Follow-up on Chavez’s anti-semitic remarks: A letter from Mario Vargas Llosa

Originally published here

Amazing how busy the government has been after the publication of a letter signed by Venezuelan intellectuals and professors appeared in El Nacional! As this distinguished ghost blogger has reported, the government was not amused! They published an insulting letter in their official web page and, just by chance, decided to erase the name of Sofia Imber, one of the signatories, from the MACSSI (see here my “Sofia” post in The Devil's).

Today we learned that Mario Vargas Llosa sent a letter to President Hugo Chávez that appeared in El Nacional.

Here is the translation :

Mr D. Hugo Chávez
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Caracas, January 26, 2006

Mr President:

The International Foundation for Liberty has seen with consternation your recent anti-semitic manifestations. For this reason, we think that the recent letter signed by a group of Venezuelan intellectuals worried about such an abominable manifestation of racism was totally justified.

Among the signatories of the document was journalist Sofia Imber, and we have just learned that in retaliation for having added her voice to other democratic Venezuelans, the government has taken the decision to eliminate her name from the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofia Imber, of which she was the founder and that she led to be one of the most important and respected cultural institutions of Latin America.

We protest with all our energy for that mean way to punish an honorable Venezuelan for expressing her opinion. Such an unjust action, that we ask you to revoke immediately, will increase the discredit of your government but will not diminish at all the prestige of Sofia Imber.

Mario Vargas Llosa.

Reporting from cyberspace,
Jorge Arena
Distinguished ghost blogger

Thursday, January 26, 2006



Originally published here

Caracas has some hidden places that make it an interesting and cosmopolitan city. One of them is the “Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas Sofía Imber” (MACCSI) that has a remarkable collection of modern art that can be compared to that of larger and richer cities around the world.

The newcomer is pleasantly surprised to find such an incredible congregation of excellent pieces in an artistic oasis in the middle of Caracas. The Museum was an object of pride among Venezuelans and represented what Venezuelans were able to achieve when they left politics aside and followed only a criteria of excellence and knowledge.

When such an achievement happens in an unlikely society, it is very often because someone was behind it. That someone in this case is Sofia Imber, a well known journalist and art patron that put all her soul and positive stubbornness into creating and maintaining a first class International Museum.

Sofía Imber was the Museum director for many years, and during the tenure of many governments. Four years ago, however, she was kicked out of the Museum by the Chavista government. At that time, she learned she had been fired on TV.

Two days ago we learned that the MACCSI will lose its “SI”: the government has decided to remove the name of the founder, Sofía Imber, from the official name of the Museum.

Why? Why four years after removing Sofia Imber from her post does the government decide to remove her name? Wouldn’t have been more natural to remove it four years ago? Why now? What has Sofia been doing that insulted the government so much?

Well, Sofia has been signing a letter and, in Chavez’s Venezuela, signing your name has become a risky event.

Sofia, who also happens to be jewish, signed the letter repudiating Chavez’s recent anti-semitic remarks.

As this ghost blogger reported, the letter, signed by hundreds of well known personalities, professors and intellectuals, enraged the government so much that they did not lost any time in writing an offensive attack against all that had signed in the official MCI page. The government states, among other things, that the letter is a product of a Bush campaign, that the signatories are intellectually dishonest and that they are lying to delegitimize the government of Venezuela and “justify a military intervention in the country”.

The readers can judge by themselves if any of those statements are present in the letter that was published and that I include here:

So today in Tal Cual there is an interview with Sofia Imber where she says that she was not surprised of the government move, that she had been expecting that to happen. To the question of why now, she answered that it was because she just signed the protest letter against Chavez anti-semitic remarks.

I can see that Sofia and I had the same interpretation of the events and so has PAM-CHITO from Notitarde:

To finish this ghost blogging piece, I will leave you with today’s caricature of Pedro Leon Zapata, who is another Venezuelan institution and happens to be the last signatory of the letter:

It says:

“The Museum, for the time being (*), does not have a name, but we have an alternate route (**). To Tattoo a number in its arm! ”

Jorge Arena

Distinguished Ghost Blogger



(*) Reference to the famous “Por ahora” used by lieutenant colonel Chavez when he appeared on TV after the failed coup of February 4, 1992.

(**) Reference to the lack of an alternative route for the viaduct that links Caracas with its port and airport and failed a few weeks ago due to neglect.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


The tale of Chavez anti-semitic remarks

Originally published here

After Alex Beech’s post and my first inquire right after Christmas, your favorite ghost blogger has been trying to get updated about what is going on concerning this convoluted issue.

It is time to report .

First, your second-favorite blogger, Miguel, was able to find the exact reference where the remarks appeared, so that people could grasp by themselves what was exactly said by President Chavez.

Next, your second-favorite blogger, again, dig a book by known anti-semite Chavez 's mentor Norberto Ceresole. Interesting, in the preface of the book, Ceresole made anti-Semitic remarks even tough it was a book about Chavez. And he also made remarks about those responsible for Bolivar's death. Just like Chavez in his speech.

On Jan 4, The Wiesenthal Center demanded public excuses to the President.

On January 14, Chavez read a letter signed by some directors of CAIV (Confederación de Asociaciones Israelitas de Venezuela) in which they declared that their government is not anti-semite.

On January 14, Paulina Gamus, a well known political leader and third vice-president of CAIV protested the letter signed by what she said was a minority of the directive. She also wrote an article about the state of anti-Semitism in some official media, it appeared in El Nacional (translated here).

Meanwhile, a group of Venezuelan artists, intellectual and professors signed a letter to repudiate Chavez’s remarks. The letter appeared in a page in El Nacional today (January 21st)

and, guess what?

the MINCI (or MCI), Chavez’s Ministry of Information (or should I say Misinformation?) is already insulting them! They lost no time to answer with insults! They are quite efficient for that!

Reporting from Cyberspace,

Jorge Arena
favorite ghost blogger

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