Monday, February 02, 2009

Racism taints Chris Kraul's reporting

The latest Chris Krual LATimes article "Mob rule taints Bolivia indigenous law" perpetuates every racist piece of propaganda against indigenous self-governance even while Krual's interviews clearly show he knows better, but for some reason feels it is necessary to raise alarm of impending Indian savagery. Ironically, if these racist fears were to direct policy they would only perpetuate the problem of mob violence in Bolivia.

Kraul begins the article by scaring readers with a dramatic incident of violent mob justice three months ago in the rural town of Achacachi followed by the claims "Incidents of mob rule are rising as Bolivian society is empowering as never before indigenous communities, which make up a third or more of the population." and then implies that mob rule has been eleveted by the new constitution to "status equal to traditional law."

Both statements and implications are categorically false (i.e. lies). Kraul forgets to tell you until half way through the article that vigilante justice is actually the result of a disfunctional and negligant justice system monopolized by white and mestizo urban elites (like he said before- only the opposite), as the Mayor of Achacachi states: "But people have had it with the traditional system and that we have only eight police officers in a city of 100,000. If there had been a prosecutor in town that night to whom the people could hand over the suspects, this would never have happened." Kraul also didn't tell you that the townspeople of Achacachi first tried to hand over the suspects to the local army garrison and were refused before coming up this their own solution.

Then after quoting some hacks that the establishment of indigenous community justice in the new constitution does away with due process and neglects human rights Kraul is forced to admit that the new constitution actually mandates due process through customary procedures and "In fact, it upholds the right to life." Yeah, meaning it universally prohibits the death penalty along with establishing the litany of other rights in the 400 article text, most taken nearly word for word from various human rights conventions. So the new constitution sanctions mob violence in that it totally prohibits it.

But of course Kraul chooses to end the article with this ridiculously racist statement from "Legal expert" Gonzalo Mendieta: "What we want is a society that defends human rights, those of us who do are not always going to be in favor of the romantic notion that indigenous justice is good by definition." Right, you see, because Indians aren't really humans, see, as if these savages could ever understand such an advanced and noble concept. You're clearly just smoking pot if you believe otherwise.

So with all of the arguments against indigenous self-governance discredited within the text of Kraul's own article what are we left with? Oh right, RACISM. Take note Chris Kraul, a closet racist is still a racist.


RickB said...

I'm glad you took the article on, I saw it too, didn't have much time, tried to google the names to see what woodwork they had crawled these quotes out from. It came off to me like a very proficient hit piece, using the human rights lexicon that hooks your average liberal punter then sliding in a bunch of talking points from far less liberal minds (which is putting it politely). The idea being that surely only good guys use human rights discourse hence the article should be taken seriously oh ill informed reader!

Sadly still pretty standard in the media of the Homeland when it wants to flex its imperial distaste at 'its backyard'. It strikes me Obama should live up to his rhetoric and recognise the statesman that Morales is and drop the backroom shit we know so well.

Amazilia said...

Thanks for writing the media is so biased that its hard to find neutral or balanced views.
In Peru all the Media is against Evo. As this cartoon says

Bina said...

A racist pointing his finger at the "racism" of the non-racist (and anti-racist) is also a racist.

I find it simply amazing that they could accuse Evo of racism. What color is his VP, again???

Otto Rock said...

Just read it today, duderino. It also misses out the fact that Veep Garcia Linera condemned the attacks and got plenty of coverage for his words.

A crap piece of racist junk.

dv said...

Looks like decent journalism to me. He illustrated the problem. (That there have been a number of lynchings) Then outlined what causes the problem - disgust with the traditional system which is critically understaffed. He points to authorities who say that the problem is being addressed under the new laws. He also says there is uncertainty about whether the new system will work (natural because this is new approach), but it sounds like the system is being fleshed out.

Honestly pointing out problems is how you make the system work better. In this case, it actually strengthens the case for what they are doing, because it points out he problems they are trying to address.

El Duderino said...

The statements Kraul makes in the sixth paragraph, explaining why the lynchings occurred are false, based on racial prejudice and later contradicted within the article. That is called bad and racist journalism.

dv said...

The author makes a clear point: "Lynchings occur when the presence and influence of the state and indigenous justice are weak, they said."

The point this guy is trying to make through the whole article is that weak institutions of justice cause people to take matters into their own hands (mob justice).

Its why Evo includes Indigenous justice in the constitution. To codify it and so to strengthen it. If you dont do that you end up with "mob justice." which is fast but can be arbitrary.

El Duderino said...

I guess you read a different article than I did, because the one I read was titled "Mob rule taints Bolivia indigenous law".

dv said...

You seem to be the only one who denies that.

Petronilo Flores, the Justice Ministry's community justice director, said that lynchings did not reflect true indigenous justice and that the incidents would decline as communities established their judicial powers and procedures.

As the Achacachi Mayor said: "Of course it was mob psychology and never should have happened," Achacachi Mayor Eugenio Rojas said in an interview last week in this city about 50 miles northwest of La Paz. "But people have had it with the traditional system and that we have only eight police officers in a city of 100,000. If there had been a prosecutor in town that night to whom the people could hand over the suspects, this would never have happened."

Ramiro Molina, director of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz said:
Lynchings occur when the presence and influence of the state and indigenous justice are weak

Molina said he was assisting the federal government in an effort to codify indigenous law to bridge the gaps between the two legal systems.

Criticism is productive, it highlights the need for improvements which are building a codified system that will work with all crimes. What would be bad is if these failures were not recognized an corrected because they do taint the system.

El Duderino said...

What you have quoted is the opposite of the title and articles generalizing statements. Those quoted agree with me, disagree with Kraul. Hence Kraul is the one peddling racial prejudice.

Anonymous said...

Chris Kraul is very far from being an unbiased journalist.

From the looks of his latest embedded effluent, he's a CIA plant glorifying the Vietnamization of South America. Judge for yourself:,0,1379871,full.story