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Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

by tasigora Online Now Jan 29, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Hello, I am a journalist for a major media outlet in the US. I have been to Brazil and Mexico in Latin America, and I want to head down to Caracas in March 2013.

I know things are a bit rough there politically right now, but I wonder how safe is it to visit as a foreign journalist? I am a radio journalist, and have a small flash recorder with a microphone. Obviously I will stand out, but I'm wondering how likely am I to get robbed that way? What is a safe way to get a few interviews down there? Is it even possible?

I am reporting on the environment and if possible I'd like to talk about the politics there as well. Am I going to find this impossible? I speak fairly good spanish, but I unfortunately am a blond haired california looking American. I'm considering growing a beard and wearing my hair out. Would it even help to say I am Canadian?

Anyway, I want to see if anybody has any ideas or thoughts on this subject. Thank you!

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7 Answers
  • cgf's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by cgf Online Now Jan 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I don't think you'll have any problems from people there.
    IMO you should prepare yourself to answers to more questions than you'd believe you'll do to others.

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  • planxty's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by planxty Online Now Jan 30, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    I don't know anything about the situation there but as a general principle I would suggest contacting the Venezuelan National Union of Journalists (or whatever their official name might be) and asking them. Presumably you are properly accredited and they may be able to assist as a professional courtesy. The professional body in your own country may also be able to assist with current information.

    Hope this assists,

    fergy.

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  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by cheesecake17 Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I am a venezuelan living abroad and got family in the country still. The situation in venezuela at the moment is very delicate, "politically"..Chavez has control a lot of the media (tv and radio) to benefit him. Anyone who speak agaisnt him in the media tv or radio as been jail or suffer other consequences..

    In my opinion you will have to be very careful who you start a conversation with .Chavez has divided the country so much to the point where the anti and pro chavez are at their throath in confrontation...

    I will not state to much you are a journalist of any major US outlet..Saying you are a Canadian...:-) not sure if its any better..but you can try..

    Being able to speak the language will put you into an advantage ...No need to grow a beard..They are lots of tourist in the country but always be aware of your surrounding ..saddely to say but kidnapping and robbing has become very , very common..:-(..even during the day...

    You should really read up on the news , because at the moment there is a lot of tension going on..as you may or may not know...even we venezuelan do not even know if chavez is still alive or not (since dec 11 he has gone to operate in cuba) and never heard from.....its unbelivable!!..but I guess we latin people love our telenovelas and this is no difference.drama all the way...:-)))

    Be careful and be safe...and if you ever find out if chavez is still alive, please let the world know:-)

    cheesecake17...

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  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by cheesecake17 Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    maybe you can find some information here with the "Associacion de periodistas de Venezuela"...

    http://www.cnpven.org/

    cheesecake17

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by TooTallFinn24 Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    I would recommend contacting VT member CarolinaEspada who lives in the area. She is a good source of information there. As a journalist obviously you are aware of the State Department briefings on Caracas,

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  • luis.ydler's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by luis.ydler Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Can you tell the difference between a Canadian guy and an American guy? ;) Most Venezuelan folks would call you a "gringo" no matter how unshaved and relaxed you look, as far as your description of yourself goes. As we're in March, and you're probably around here, consider this: Chavez is dead now, the situation in the country is calmly tense. The social revolution led by late Chavez have made some people (especially Chavez' poor followers, which count by the millions as the largest fraction of the population) believe anything Made in America comes from the devil itself. America, according to them, has exported cruel capitalist, imperialist ideologies in the form of big multinationals, oil-sucker warfare, political schemes, CIA moles, and non-patriotic local leaders to poor Latin American countries, especially oil-rich Venezuela, depriving their populations of the chance to reaching equal shares of the nation riches and ravaging their government's social investment plans in favor of the wealthy minority and their American supporters. With no intention to discredit any foreign government, institution, or way of life, that image has certainly been reinforced by mischievous, ill-intentioned reports made by "major media outlets" in the US on Chavez and its revolution which are, as perceived by most nationals, aimed at sabotaging the political and social practices of his government and discredit his ideological stances which, for the better or worse, have had a profound impact on the lives of most poor Venezuelan people; and by nasty, snobby media outlets in Venezuela which account for the same trickeries.

    Now, as an American journalist, you might be perceived by the Venezuelan folks you're trying to know by means of face-to-face encounters, well, interviews, as an instrument of the Empire for misinformation, or maybe not. Whatever it is, in the context of current events in Venezuela, all foreign journalism will raise suspicion as the nationals are mostly divided, in terms of politics and ideologies, in two fractions: Chavistas and Opositores (those who oppose Chavez' legacy) and every fraction member will defend his stance in the best (or worst) form when confronted.

    There have been reports of local TV journalists being rampageously approached by violent mobs in the course of their duty only because of belonging to Globovision (a hard-line Opositor TV news channel).

    I'm not saying Venezuela is a South American sort of Rwanda 94, nothing far from reality, but particularly politics is a delicate matter here around these days. Your chances of getting robbed, kidnapped, murdered? Common sense is the key. That's clichè, I know. My advice: get a local guide and find the support of some kind of local press agency. In this way, you would have some background on the subjects you want to explore provided by your guide, would know the places to go and not to go, capitalize your time in the country and be most approachable by your interviewees and all the extra advantages of being accompanied by an honest local.

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  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo

    Re: Journalist travelling to Caracas in March

    by cheesecake17 Online Now Jun 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    at the OP..is this you??
    edition.cnn.com/2013/06/05/w...

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