Tag Archives: housekeeping

About the post drought

In case you haven’t noticed, I have been posting here very little. I have been tweeting more at @guacamayan. over there I have a more catholic approach to the world. I am not writing exclusively about energy and Latin America, but rather allow myself to express opinions and share news about anything that crosses my mind. I hope it’s useful and informative to some.

I have, in fact, been writing a lot, but mostly for pay. I also have some draft posts behind the curtain here, some of which will go public one day, probably after I am once more able to use my right hand and can thereby operate the keyboard once more.

I think every one-person website is going to go through phases, and blogs are definitely not where the kids are going for their information these days. But all the same, I will keep posting here at some point. Keep in touch.

Setty isn’t an extortionist

The article that I published a month ago regarding online reputation management provoked excellent discussion and also a disturbing response. In an apparent reaction to that article, someone posted at least three websites that sought to defame me and repost personal photos from the Facebook pages of people close to me.

It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but just to be clear, those pages are a bunch of made-up BS. I’m not in hiding, I have no connection to any cocaine traffickers, I’m not wanted by Interpol, I’ve never invited nor accepted any sort of payment to withhold publishing news, I’m not wanted for extortion in California or anywhere else, I’ve never used fake travel documents, and I didn’t send the pictured e-mail. The statements and their implications are simply made up from someone’s imagination.

If you have any questions or doubts, please write me. I am posting this right now because I know that unanswered attacks can just fester and be considered true. It’s tempting to go the legal route and try to get these blogs removed, but that’s expensive and time-consuming*, plus I generally believe that the answer to bad information is not censorship but rather good information.

While these attacks do nothing to reveal who I am, they do show that my reporting made someone nervous. That person apparently didn’t see a rational way to refute my article and instead resorted to unscrupulousness. The attack appears to have violated Twitter’s terms of service and also revealed a possible link to Venezuela’s biggest private-sector bank. 

Continue reading

Thanks and welcome and results

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 2.21.01 AMWelcome new readers, much obliged for all the attention to the reputation management story. An honour to be “Boinged” for the first time. Yesterday was this site’s highest readership in its three-year history. I guess taking 8 months to put together a blog post can pay off sometimes.

I need to just make a couple little clarifications. First of all, about the headline. The fact is, I don’t really care who protects the reputation of the Bolibourgeoisie. If it’s not one person, it will be another.

The point here is that the forces of opacity are winning in Venezuela. Now that the story is out (and so far no response from those mentioned), it’s worth mentioning that this story was turned down by a couple Venezuelan and a couple US media outlets. The US ones I am more sympathetic toward — it’s a weird foreign story and sadly, most people in SF or NY don’t know or care much about South America. But in Venezuela, I suspect it was rejected out of fear. This, for example: the government can cut off your supply of newsprint, sue you, and generally make your life miserable if you print the wrong thing. That makes news reporting difficult.

If news people around the Americas want to offer a bit of solidarity to their beleaguered colleagues in Venezuela, one way would be to support reporting on that country. Not just quoting Michael Shifter and Otto Reich again and again, but actually learning about what’s happening in Venezuela and reporting new, different stories. Ideally, hiring some of our skilled local colleagues and not counting on fools like me who haven’t even stepped foot in the country in over a year. Venezuela is the land of low-hanging scandal fruit. After seeing a news item in Business News Americas, I was able to show that PDVSA’s new insurance broker was shady. It took about an hour of actual work, maybe less. Yes, an insurance trade mag had the story first. But behind a very high paywall. I don’t claim to have scooped it, just that it’s a story anyone could have had.

This reputation story may have had a few minor effects. I see that all these sites are now offline: pornonomia.com, fustigado.com, modaenvenezuela.com, santosocorro.com, tomalaruta.com, pulcrolimpio.com, reparandoelcarro.com, teteracaliente.com, vientosdeboda.com, hottiesinamerica.com, informecandela.com, bebesano.com.ve, mueretedelarisa.com.ve, bebesano.com.ve, miralabelleza.com.ve, comoanilloaldedo.com.ve, elttdehoy.com.ve, comegatos.com.ve, comersano.com.ve, mientrasdormia.com.ve, modelosvenezuela.com.ve, venezolanosemprendedores.com, melonblues.com.

Google.com, the world’s most-used search engine, appears to have blacklisted all sites related to this whole reputation management effort. For example, Alek Boyd points out that the site Capsula Informativa is live, but a Google search for derwick site:capsulainformativa.com returns no results.

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Searches on Bing still bring up results at the fakey sites.

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I guess that’s why Google is the world’s most-used search engine.

More subtly, I see that Google has quite changed the search results for “Ramiro Helmeyer”. His personal pages are now lower down, while the stories about his role in the 1990s terror campaign in Caracas take up most of the first screen of hits.

And I see that Rafael Núñez brought back his Twitter feed, but blocked me. I don’t take it personally.

Time to end the Italian feud in the comments section (UPDATED)

My notes about Arevenca have attracted a lot of really strange, often very informative comments, mostly from anonymous or pseudonymous correspondents. But they have also inspired a weird fight between people upset with one another in Italy. They have been using the comments section of this site to make all manner of allegations and counter-allegations. They started out straightforwardly enough, but at this point, I don’t have the connections, skills or interest to disentangle their concerns. I am summarizing the issues here as a way to isolate this fight to one thread and get myself out of this festival of mud-slinging. Continue reading

Metablog: Why & how journalists should post notes in public

Felix Salmon writes about the incredible Noah Lehrer and his recent challenges as a blogger at the New Yorker. But he isn’t writing about Noah Lehrer, he’s writing an open letter to all of you reporters out there — and yes, I can see you through these little holes in the Internet, reading this blerg. This is my open notebook. You should have one too. Your work will be better for it. Go read Felix’s diatribe on the topic.