When Eva Golinger
—the American lawyer, journalist and vocal supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
—got up to speak at First Unitarian Church on Friday, May 6, I wondered what I was in for. Fliers for the event, sponsored by the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC), summed up the activist's West Coast tour as “Eva Golinger on WikiLeaks and the Empire’s Web.” And a profile of Golinger
in The New York Times
in February called her "one of the most prominent fixtures of Venezuela’s expanding state propaganda complex."
It's not surprising then that Golinger began her talk in Portland with timely commentary on Osama bin Laden’s killing. “Nine-eleven, I thought, should have been a moment of
reflection,” she said. “Now we’re seeing a policy of assassination become something that was formalized and officialized and, you know, acceptable. This could be pursued against anyone.”
This statement served as a tidy little segue into the rest of Golinger's speech, a colorful two-hour rant on United States foreign policy and the motives of
what she calls “the empire” for undermining the Venezuelan government.
vez once called her la novia de Venezuela
, which is Spanish for Venezuela’s "girlfriend," or "bride." And with the passion of a lover, Golinger described the “idealistic utopia” that she says Venezuela is shaping up to be under Chá
vez’s administration. “Venezuela is a key target of the American government, not just
because of our oil, but because of the successful threat of a good example that is being built. It's a human
process, a process that is constantly reviewed, reflecting our advances and failures, which to me is the best part of it all."
Golinger cited a string of declassified documents she says she obtained in the United States through the Freedom of Information Act to describe the roles of intelligence agencies, U.S. diplomats, the media and
non-governmental organizations in the conspiracy to protect U.S. interests abroad while keeping foreign governments in check. "There's a coordinated campaign going on to fully demonize individual targets,” she said. “And we know this is happening in the case of
Not even NPR escaped her barbed criticisms. "NPR is actually one of the very distorted voices on Venezuela," she said.
"There's a lack of investigative work to try and figure out the truth."
The audience of about 150 people enthusiastically applauded Golinger’s assertions, and the 45-minute Q&A session repeatedly became a
forum of fawning praise for her “intelligence” and “vision.” When Golinger described Bolivia’s success in ejecting
its U.S. ambassador in 2008, several people responded with whoops and cries of “yes!”
However, when one audience member asked Golinger if she could name any American allies in her plight, she answered bluntly. “They’re all Chá
vez-haters," she said. "We have no allies.”
Golinger was born in New York and first visited Venezuela in the 1990s. She now edits Venezuela’s English-language Correo del Orinoco
newspaper and writes the blog Postcards from the Revolution.
Last fall, she traveled with Chá
vez to several Middle Eastern countries. She has lived in Caracas since 2005.