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January 15, 2002

Narco News '02

Meet Luis Gómez

Andean Bureau Chief

for Narco News

By Al Giordano

Publisher, The Narco News Bulletin

Luis Gómez has established a space for Authentic Journalism in the Andes, writing for many of the leading Latin American newspapers and magazines. He went to Bolivia years ago as a correspondent for the Mexican daily Reforma. There, he rapidly established himself as one of the leading journalists in the region reporting on political prisoners and social struggles. He has played key roles on the editorial staffs of the national magazines, Cosas, and El Juguete Rabioso (the most important Independent news source in the country) as well as filing dispatches for newspapers in Argentina and throughout our América.

Gómez was the first journalist in Bolivia to break the news, locally, in October 2000 that the longtime Associated Press bureau chief, Peter McFarren, had been caught in an $80 million conflict-of-interest and had fallen from power. Another of Gómez's reports, linking US Ambassador Manuel Rocha to the controversy over the arms-trafficking and money-laundering scandals of ex Argentine president Carlos Menem, caused Rocha (around here we call him Viceroy because he behaves more as autocrat than diplomat) to fly into a rage about Gómez's report. The Viceroy, according to our sources, called a meeting of his staff and threw a copy of El Juguete Rabioso on the table, outraged that the Bolivian press had dared to expose his dark record. (Interestingly, both Rocha and the disgraced McFarren attended the same elite private grade school together - in the United States - one of the interesting histories that will shortly be expanded upon in an upcoming Narco News investigative report about the Viceroy Rocha and his anti-democracy networks.)

As publisher of Narco News, I have been looking to expand this project of Authentic Journalism for some time now. With our recent victory over Banamex-Citigroup in the New York Supreme Court, we finally have the breathing space to pursue our mission - "reporting on the 'war on drugs' from Latin America" - with more focus. I chose Luis Gómez from an impressive roster of Latin American journalists who were considered for this position because he is an initiative-taker who won't sit around waiting for orders from headquarters before taking action. Our recent "Live from Bolivia" coverage would not have been possible without Gómez's wide connections throughout the country and the initiative he took to introduce this correspondent to the key players in the various regions. Luis Gómez - now with an email address of -- today becomes your correspondent, too. Write to him, welcome him, offer him your sources and scoops as you have with me. There's no gatekeeper here: Immediate journalism requires the direct relationship between the correspondent and the reader. He's got talent, instinct, ethics and commitment as a social fighter and Authentic Journalist.

The first expansions of the Narco News project, with Luis on board, will include:

-- Expanded Andean coverage from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and the rest of South America, including:

-- The $2 billion dollar US military intervention called Plan Colombia, the escalating civil war, and the upcoming national elections in that country;

-- The political situation in Perú, where President Alejandro Toledo awkwardly tries to serve the United States government and his former bosses at the World Bank while keeping the lid on information that suggests the U.S.-sponsored Narco-State of exiled ex-president Alberto Fujimori and imprisoned ex-military boss Vladimiro Montesinos marches on with impunity and within the Toledo administration;

-- Filling the vacuum of news coverage from the strategic country of Bolivia, swept by social protests and revolts, and ignored by the U.S. media because the news is inconvenient to its spin that Bolivia was the only "success story" in the US war on drugs;

-- Increased attention to fast-moving events from Ecuador to Argentina as they pertain to the drug war in Latin America;

-- Increased publication of Narco News stories and commentaries in Spanish at;

-- The opening of The Narco News Agency, to fill the information vacuum caused by the neglect of other news agencies. Narco News will shortly make certain reports available, in Spanish and in English, to newspapers and magazines from Buenos Aires to Berlin, from Oaxaca to Washington, for global syndication. In sum, we are going into direct competition with AP, Reuters, UPI, other wire services, and even certain commercialized agencies of the "alternative" press, to break the information blockade from our América. It has been the failure of these commercial news agencies to report the hard news from Latin America, and we are building strategic alliances with other global networks to replace the tired old institutions of commercial journalism with the vibrant authentic news coverage that we have pioneered on these web pages.

With the historic ruling by the New York Supreme Court that "Narco News, its website, and the writers who post information, are entitled to all the First Amendment protections accorded a newspaper-magazine or journalist" under United States law, we have buried the efforts by official media to place itself, desperately, in a caste above us. To the contrary: We continue to show, through sweat and blood, that we represent the renaissance of Authentic Journalism, and they, the commercial press, are the ones who behave as something "alternative" or "other" to the best traditions of investigative journalism and reporting.

Luis Gómez is our first full-time regional bureau chief at Narco News. We hope, as this project expands, he will be the first of many in a Pan-American network of Authentic Journalism that we are weaving "from somewhere in a country called América."

And you, kind readers: If you are an authentic citizen-journalist, a student of journalism, or a communicator of news, we invite you to collaborate with us, too. With our headquarters remaining in Mexico, and our Andean Bureau opening in Bolivia, we will continue to expand. Do you have an idea of where we should open our next bureau? Do you have news to report from somewhere in América about the US-imposed war on drugs and its impact upon democracy, human rights, the environment, peace with justice, dignity and sovereignty? Join the Narco News Team and stay tuned for the news to come.

We begin, today, with Luis Gómez's first report for Narco News on the interview that he and I conducted last month in La Paz, Bolivia, with indigenous leader Felipe Quispe of the Aymara Nation, published here in English and Spanish. If you would like to republish this interview in your own periodical, write to us at -- we're sure we can work something out. It's easy when, like us, you're not in it for the money but are in it for the news. Put on your seatbelts and watch what is possible, now, in 2002, the year we break the mold and proclaim the renaissance of Authentic Journalism in our América. Most importantly, participate. The future belongs to those who take it.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

A Message from Your

Andean Bureau Chief

By Luis Gómez

One morning in Cochabamba, Alberto Giordano asked me to form part of Narco News. The first thing he asked me is whether I could do anything useful in this project… And Giordano just said to me: "Think it over." That night, with some beers as counselors, I decided that in this war, yes, many things can be done from "the Heart of the Andes" (Giordano dixit).

When I came from my land to Bolivia (I was born in Mexico City), I came dreaming of what I did not know. Now, after various years of living here, I know my dreams better… and they seem a lot like those of Alberto. So here we go. At 35, the least you can know is your dreams and if you have guts, to pursue them fearlessly, without blinders.

I have been a journalist for the past 13 years, and for the next 12 months I will dedicate my craft to you, the readers... and to those bastards with white collars and their hands always clean who play at being gods and masters. But that's not all. In addition to developing the bilingual section of Narco News (one of our plans is to to make our reports have more impact on this Spanish-speaking side of the planet), we are going to report more continuously about the social movements here (believe me, it's heating up on all fronts)…

Justice, peace, dignity… those little words… for me still mean a lot (if you think not, just ask the Argentines). I've known of Giordano and Narco News since when, in 2000, I used this page as my source to publish the news in Bolivia about the case of the corrupted journalist Peter McFarren. That's why I know that in this place there is a home for these wanted words. Nothing more to say… for now… onward…

Questions, doubts, agitations, proposals:

Luis Gómez

for more Narco News, click here

Authentic Journalism for the Millenium