March 25, 2019
On March 24, 2019, I concluded a three-city speaking tour about my recent visit to Venezuela. My presentations were open to the public. There was no charge for admission. I was not compensated by anyone to speak at these events, nor were my travel expenses reimbursed by anyone.
Thanks to the admirable efforts of the organizers, who volunteered their time to make this tour possible, all three events were well-attended.
In my presentations, my over-arching theme was that Western corporate media are presenting a grossly imbalanced picture of the reality in Venezuela, and that, while the government of Nicolas Maduro is far from perfect, Western powers cannot be trusted to defend the interests of ordinary Venezuelans – particularly the most vulnerable members of Venezuelan society. The crisis in Venezuela should be resolved by Venezuelans. Foreign powers should confine their role to the facilitation of a peaceful, negotiated resolution with a minimum of suffering.
My presentations in Toronto, Ottawa and London, Ontario were well-received by audience members. In Ottawa, however, I encountered a small group of vociferous, pro-opposition disrupters, including University of Ottawa Associate Professor Isaac Nahon-Serfaty.
I had never heard of Nahon-Serfaty before my presentation in Ottawa. I ascertained subsequently that Nahon-Serfaty has authored numerous anti-Chavismo op-eds, several of which have been published by Postmedia. As I have previously written, Postmedia’s newspapers routinely compromise journalistic integrity in order to advance the right-wing agenda of those who control Postmedia.
Predictably, Nahon-Serfaty’s Postmedia op-eds agitate for foreign intervention in Venezuela and are replete with evidence-free attacks on Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro – for example, the wholly unsubstantiated claim that Nicolas Maduro presides over a “narco-dictatorship“.
In my Ottawa presentation and in the Q&A which followed it (during which the moderators did not vet questions or comments), Nahon-Serfaty and his associates constantly interrupted me. At the outset of the Q&A, Nahon-Serfaty screamed at me and repeatedly accused me of lying. When an elderly audience member became fed up with Nahon-Serfaty’s theatrics and objected to his behaviour, Nahon-Serfaty rushed in his direction and had to be restrained.
Frankly, I have never seen behaviour like this from a university professor. Continue Reading ›