No Room at the Inn: SIP-IAPA Starts a Fracas in Caracas!

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Poison pen pierces the North-South divide!

Boicot en Venezuela denuncia la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP): EL TIEMPO reports on an exchange of heated words between the Venezuelan government and the “Interamerican Society for the Exploitation of Journalists,” as the Bolivarians are pleased to tag the SIP.

The SIP says they cannot get hotel rooms, and blame the Bolivarian brigades.

EL TIEMPO does not bother to interview the people who might have direct knowledge of the fact in dispute: hotel managers and reservations clerks.

Varios hoteles se negaron a reservar habitaciones a sus integrantes para la reunión del 2008. El presidente de la SIP, Rafael Molina, alegó que es una forma ‘torpe e indirecta’ de cerrar puertas.

A number of hotels have refused to reserve rooms to SIP members for its 2008 meeting. SIP president Rafael Molina alleged this was a “sleazy and indirect” way of barring the group.

Molina  lamentó, “en nombre de la libertad de prensa, la democracia y el pueblo venezolano, las presiones que existen contra los hoteles y empresas privadas que no se alinean con las políticas del gobierno” de Caracas.

Molina lamented “in the name of press freedom, democracy, and the Venezuelan people, the presses brought to bear on hotels and private companies that do not line up with the Caracas government’s policies.” 

Interview me a hotel manager who has been visited in the middle of the night by Bolivarian brown shirts.

Perhaps they were. But try to prove it, please. “If your mother says she loves you, get a second source before running it.”

Julio Muñoz, director ejecutivo de la SIP, dijo que la entidad decidirá en su Asamblea General, que se celebra en Miami del 12 al 16 de octubre, “cómo responder al boicot del gobierno de Venezuela”.

Julio Muñoz, executive director of the SIP (IAPA), said the organization will decide, at its general assembly in Miami (October 12-16), “how to respond to this boycott by the Venezuelan government.”

En un comunicado, ayer en la mañana, el ministro venezolano de Información, William Lara, negó que el gobierno presione a los hoteleros.

In a press release issued yesterday morning, the Venezuelan information minister, William Lara, denied that the government is pressuring hoteliers.

“Nos resbala la cantaleta de la ‘SIEP’ (Sociedad Interamericana de Explotadores de Periodistas, como suele llamar a la SIP)”, agregó el comunicado oficial.

“He reject this sob story from the Interamerican Society for the Exploitation of Journalists” (as the government is in the habit of callin the SIP-IAPA,” the official press release added.

Bolivarian tact, discretion and diplomacy at its finest. As I always say, in the land of trash TV, the trash-TV comedian is king. But I guess this sort of thing must play well to domestic audiences.

El gobierno del presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, ha calificado en diversas ocasiones a la SIP como una “organización de capitalistas propietarios de medios que explotan el trabajo intelectual y físico de los periodistas” de la región.

The Chávez government has called the SIP on various occasions an “organization of capitalist media owners who exploit the intellectual and physical labor of journalists” in the region.

Lara también ha criticado “la sarta de mentiras” que, según él, la SIP “lanza para desconocer el más alto grado de libertad de expresión que existe en Venezuela”.

Lara has also criticized “the tissue of lies” that, he says, the SIP “launches in order to conceal the existence of the highest degree of freedom of expression that exists in Venezuela.”

La SIP acordó mantener la convocatoria de su asamblea semi-anual en Venezuela, prevista para marzo, a pesar de no haber encontrado hoteles disponibles para albergar el evento en Caracas, Maracaibo e Isla Margarita.

The SIP agreed yesterday to convene its semi-annual conference in Venezuela, scheduled for March, despite not having been able to find hotels available to host the event in Caracas, Maracaibo and Isla Margarita.

“Mientras haya un resquicio para celebrar esa reunión en Venezuela, insistiremos en hacerlo, aunque sea en condiciones precarias. Si el gobierno venezolano establece impedimentos legales, que lo haga”, dijo Rafael Molina, que es, además, el director de el periódico El Día, en República Dominicana.

[tktktktkk]

EL TIEMPO does nothing, with this report, to reality-test the factual claim at issue in this rhetorical artillery duel.

Which is not like the Bogotá daily. Those people clearly know how to report a story thoroughly and critically. What gives?

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