Pubdate: Fri, 10 Oct 2003
Source: The Narco News Bulletin (Latin America Web)
Author: Al Giordano, Publisher
Note: Please go to the webpage above to access the internal links with this 
announcement - and for the entire announcement.
Also:  The editors at MAP, as well as many of our readers, regret that this 
source of news from south of the border is falling silent, and do hope it 
will return. Thank You for all you have accomplished, Al Giordano.

The Three-and-a-half Years Miracle


In memoriam: Carlos Sanchez Lopez (1954-2003)

Narco News regrets to inform our readers that your trilingual online
newspaper will suspend publishing new reports on October 18,
three-and-a-half years after we began reporting on the drug war and
democracy from Latin America.

The suspension will be indefinite, it may be permanent, but the
suspension will last at least until the New Year. We thank our readers
and supporters who have helped to keep Narco News publishing non-stop
since April 18, 2000.

Before explaining the realities that led to this decision, I'd like to
say the following...

It's been quite a ride. In these 1,275 days that shook America, we've
witnessed, reported, translated, and participated in the growth of a
visible drug legalization movement in Latin America where there
previously was none. We've blown the whistle on attempted coups d'etat
in Venezuela. We've walked side by side with, and reported from the
fronts of, the growing social and indigenous movements that, from
Argentina, to Bolivia, to Brazil, to Ecuador, to Mexico, to Peru, to
Venezuela, and elsewhere, have reawakened Simon Bolivar's dream of a
Latin America united against impositions from above.

During this marathon of Authentic Journalism, we also faced a
billionaire assault by narco-bankers against our freedom to publish,
and we won that historic case, from the New York Supreme Court,
winning First Amendment rights not only for us but also for all
Internet journalists.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

We invited 30 Authentic Journalism Scholars from Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and the
United States, to receive training, gratis, through the Narco News School
of Authentic Journalism: In a short time, many of these journalists have
already emerged as important published voices throughout our America.
Others are on the verge. That will be among our gifts that keep on giving.

Strange, but even as our readership and production of original
hard-hitting Authentic Journalism continues to grow, there just aren't
enough resources, or even the promise of sufficient resources, to keep
our Authentic Journalists in tortillas and beans, or to maintain the
"safety net" that we have provided for them in emergencies.

Today's announcement is not about money, but we can't deny that the
lack of it is a factor that clouds our usual optimism: Financial
support for our shoestring operation, which traditionally has come
mainly from good people and organizations inside the United States, is
paradoxically waning at the same time that readership keeps growing.
Our shoes got bigger, much bigger, but, essentially, we can't continue
to keep them tied on, and keep walking the expanded terrain, with the
small scrap of shoestring available to us.

A related factor - and I say this with August 17th assassination of my
friend Carlos Sanchez Lopez still an open wound - is that to resume
doing this kind of work as independent Authentic Journalists, we would
first need to construct a better safety net for all of our reporters.

The Empire is getting nastier and more violent in its approach to the
hemisphere, as can be seen most visibly in Colombia's dirty and
US-imposed Civil War, and in last year's coup attempts in Venezuela.
Washington and Wall Street are desperate to maintain the imposition of
their prohibitionist, anti-democracy, and pro-looting positions, at
any cost. The paradox is this: the closer we come to victory, the more
dangerous the work for our journalists and the social movements that
we cover. At the very moment that we urgently need to strengthen the
"safety net" for our reporters on the front lines, that safety net
grows weaker due to lack of resources.

Organizations and individuals of conscience in the United States often
speak of how much they "admire" and "support" our work. Some really
have been supportive. A few have been very generous. Others -
including many of the largest self-proclaimed "human rights" or "press
freedom" organizations - increasingly do more harm than good to the
causes they profess to champion in our America; they've made our job,
and that of others they claim to help protect, more difficult and
dangerous, not less. I'll have more to say about their behaviors, one
at a time, at the inevitable moments when they will behave in harmful
ways again, over at my personal weblog in the near future.

The bottom line: We have not succeeded in helping enough of our
potential allies in the U.S. to understand the unique dangers and
needs that our journalists and we face to practice this craft
authentically South of the Border.

In the majority of cases, it's not a matter of conspiracy or ill will,
but, rather, a simple lack of consciousness or understanding that has
led to a kind of "Solidarity LITE," that, however well meaning and
appreciated the intent, doesn't get the job done. Although we have
tried hard to educate potential "First World" backers of this work, we
have not succeeded in getting the message across. Or, possibly, we
have communicated our points very well and it just doesn't matter to
them. We don't know what goes on in other people's heads.

The Ethic of Authentic Solidarity

But we do have our own definition of authentic solidarity. Explaining
this concept to otherwise enlightened people North of the Border, at
times, feels like trying to explain colors to the blind. Our ethic:
Any emergency faced by any of our journalists is an emergency faced by

We don't send people onto the battlefield without providing the
necessary backing. We learned that ethic from the Latin American
social and indigenous movements that we cover. This ethic, in fact, is
a key factor in what has made so many of those movements victorious.
Meanwhile, similar movements in the developed world, where this ethic
doesn't exist, are stalled and feeble in effectiveness even as they
are better funded. Although this ethic is something that can be
learned, we have not succeeded in teaching enough people of the
importance of maintaining that safety net.

We will try to explain our colors, now, with our silence.

We have a few more important news stories in the hopper that we'll
publish over the next week, but then it will end.

In our usual penchant for paradox, the end is not, exactly, an end:
the Narco News archives will remain online... 31 issues, more than 800
original reports plus translations will continue to haunt the
simulators and the powers they protect... We remain a favorite of
search engines everywhere... Our truths will continue haunt, today,
tomorrow, and the next day, the professional liars out there...

But there's another reason we'll keep the Narco News archives on line:
So that somewhere in a country called the Internet there will still be
an example of Authentic Journalism as we have defined it, and a record
of the first days of the Authentic Journalism renaissance that we have
been so privileged to live. Some youngster or youngsters, someday, are
going to stumble across this place and they'll figure out how to cause
an awful lot of trouble, hopefully even better than we did. We leave
behind much more than a monument or stone statue to three-and-a-half
years of Authentic Journalism. What we leave, archived here, is a road

- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake