The lie as passion


By Atilio A. Boron*

Reading more than ten falsehoods in a single article is intolerable, an insult to the intelligence of the reader who seeks to grossly manipulate, presenting as truths what are mere opinions or easily proven lies..

I confess that, as a political analyst, I must make an enormous effort to read, listen and follow on TV the plethora of opinologists who daily reveal a torrent of lies about current national and international politics. But it's my trade and, however unhealthy it may be, I can't do without such an unhealthy practice.

I reacted for years with a Buddhist immutability to so many fake news, post-truths and media shielding, but the note by Joaquín Morales Solá, in La Nación of January 8 (“Turbulences that are not indifferent to the government”), got on my nerves. Having to read one or two lies per story, come on. But reading more than ten falsehoods in a single article is intolerable, an insult to the intelligence of the reader whom it is a matter of grossly manipulating, presenting as truth what are mere opinions or easily verified lies. But enough of preludes and let's get to the facts. I selected only ten lies. Here they go.

First: It is not right that “Maduro… virtually closed the Venezuelan Parliament so that Juan Guaidó would not be re-elected”. Parliament was and remains open, met with a quorum far superior to the required one and, with their votes, the opposition designated the new president of the National Assembly and the four members of its Board of Directors.

Second: “The virtual definitive closure of the democratically elected Parliament in Venezuela is the ultimate condition (as if there were none) to place the Maduro regime in the category of dictatorship”. What is the writer talking about? He is unaware that there is something called the internet, through which he can watch dozens of videos that show that Parliament was open, that it continues to meet, that it elected its authorities according to the regulations, despite the turmoil caused by Mr Juan Guaidó – in prior agreement with the cameras of some broadcasters like CNN who needed this show – who did not want Parliament to function because he knew that the opposition, before which he is very discredited for stealing part of the “humanitarian aid” sent by Washington, would never re-elect him.

Third: “Opposing political parties are illegal and cannot participate in elections”. Absolute falsehood: the National Assembly elected its new Board of Directors, and its president, from among the five opposing parties that have a majority in the Assembly and that act within the most absolute legality. nor the Democratic Action, nor the justice first, not o Voluntad Popular, nor the COOPEI [Independent Electoral Political Organization Committee], as well as the opposition MUD (Democratic Unity Bureau) and other smaller parties, are illegal. To facilitate the work, I attach the link to the National Assembly where all these data are included:

Fourth: "Public liberties have ceased to exist." And how does Guaidó get in and out of Venezuela to taste despite having requested the US invasion of his country and being involved in the crime of sedition? (In Argentina and the United States I would be arrested for that). How do opposition politicians campaign, and appear daily on the main radios and TV stations in the country with harsh statements against President Maduro? Is the columnist not dreaming, or has his ideology completely obliterated his view of reality?

Fifth: "Freedom of the press is restricted until it disappears." Interestingly, the graphic, radio and television media critical – or hypercritical – of the government are overwhelmingly majority and do not spare criticism of the Maduro government. Something like what Macri did with Telam and public media has never happened in Venezuela. As if nothing like the revelations of Julian Assange or Edward Snowden has been reported as taking place in Venezuela by critics of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Sixth: "Justice is a mere dependence on political power." Here I think he got confused and is talking about the Bonadíos, Stornelli and company, or the attempt to impose Supreme Court judges by decree, or about the very “republican” tactic of setting up cases without evidence with friendly judges and prosecutors to harass – through lawfare – opponents, decreeing their preventive detention or removing them from their political careers like Lula, Correa and many others.

Seventh: "Military hierarchs are more important than any civil servant." This is not information, but a mere opinion. Present some data that corroborates your statements. A very biased point of view cannot be passed off as if it were an unappealable fact.

Eighth: “Elliot Abrams, an old Washington hawk in charge of the crisis in Venezuela”. Touching presentation of a bandit and war criminal convicted in 1991 for his participation in Operation Iran-Contra, which trafficked weapons and narcotics to finance the anti-Sandinista opposition. In addition, Abrams denied before Congress what the Salvadoran Truth Commission had established at the time: that the regular forces of that country and those of the US carried out the El Mozote massacre in 1982, annihilating at least 500 innocent civilians. Abrams was pardoned by Bush Jr., despite suspicions of this character's link to the paramilitaries who murdered six Jesuits at the Catholic University of El Salvador. For Morales Solá, Abrams is just “an old hawk”. In reality, an old bully that Trump has entrusted with the task of “re-establishing democracy in Venezuela”. Al Capone would have been able to do something better.

Ninth: “Until now, Nicolas Maduro used dialogue to gain time or interrupted it directly when it suited him”. Surprisingly, a star columnist from La Nación be so misinformed. Why not ask Rodríguez Zapatero who interrupted, when it was about to take place in the Dominican Republic, the dialogue between the Maduro government and the opposition? The former president of the Spanish government would offer him a very detailed lesson on the numbing role of the latter and the fatal connection of the White House demanding that the opponents leave the room where the minutes of the agreement, painstakingly prepared by Rodríguez Zapatero, would be signed.

Tenth lie: “Qassem Soleimani was the architect of many terrorist acts in the world”. False and unforgivable accusation against the man who put an end to the barbarism of two noble creations of the White House: the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. In that same paragraph, the opinologist says, precisely contradicting his previous statement, that “some European countries and Trump’s own opposition in the United States questioned the assassination of the Iranian general”. Obvious: they did it because he was an army general of a UN member country and not a terrorist. And he fought terrorists while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supported them. Or did he not know?

I could go on, because there are other little lies in this deplorable writing – as in many of his previous ones – which confirms, for the umpteenth time, that what many believe to be journalism is just a machine to spill interested opinions at the service of the dominant powers. Bartolomé Miter, founder of the La Nación, wanted to make his newspaper “a tribune of doctrine”. Over the years, his successors degraded it into a “propaganda tribune”. Unfortunate.

*Atilio Borón is professor of political science at the University of Buenos Aires.

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves

Originally published in the newspaper page 12

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