Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oh Guillermo....Flashbacks, Flashbacks! 

Guillermo Juan Parra has attacked the recent Venezuela-related posts that have appeared on this blog... again. I'm having a flashback to March 2004, when Guillermo attacked me for my response to his circulation of an open letter from Venezuelan intellectuals opposed to Chavez. Guillermo published a slanderous (albeit ill-informed) blog post about my motivations, accusing me of ignorance of Latin American politics, and even a kind of racism. He also attacked me via email with wild assumptions, insults and condescensions because I didn't agree with his opinion.

We had an intense email exchange. Once he got the barrage of insults out of his system, Guillermo noted that I had an understanding of the Opposition's positions, that I followed the Opposition's newsblogs (go to Venepoetics for links to some of these) and that I knew the players involved- both right and left. He conceded that I did have a grasp on Latin American history and the current political climate. He stated that political analysis was not his strong suit, and apologized for the insults and assumptions. He volunteered to take down his defamatory post (though I never once asked him to do so.) To his credit, he did, and we agreed to end the correspondence as two thoughtful poets that respectfully disagreed...or so I thought, until Friday.

Guillermo views Chavez as a bully. Since we're sharing advice, I would advise Guillermo to examine his own inner bully. Attempts to silence opinions that he doesn't agree with simply based on birthright is an act of intimidation. It will not work here. The attempts to cloud the argument with diffuse insults is also ineffective. Why would I reference Venezuelan writers when posting about Citgo giving oil to low-income Philadelphians? That would be off-subject. I could ask why his Latin American gangster watch hasn't registered the CIA-backed paramilitary murder of Guatemalan journalist Eduardo Maas Bol. His murder is part of a national fear campaign that serves as a warning to the Guatelamalan press against publishing stories critical of the pro-US Guatemalan government. But alas, every blogger is entitled to their priorities.

The condescension of book recommendations does not make an argument. Quoting intellectuals is not a final word, but should be a doorway to discussion. Like Gullermo, I am not interested in re-treading the Chavez argument with him again. Instead, I welcome him to post our email discourse from 2004 in its entirety, as the misconceptions he propagated recently are addressed in our past correspondence. I imagine that bringing this to light will be unlikely, since it would dispel the cheap insults and pot-shots that have been directed at me on Friday by a writer who claims to respect an intellectual tradition.

- Frank Sherlock

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?