<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #33

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
Bem Vindos em Português!

Editorial Policy and Disclosures

Narco News is supported by:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism

Site Design: Dan Feder

All contents, unless otherwise noted, © 2000-2011 Al Giordano

The trademarks "Narco News," "The Narco News Bulletin," "School of Authentic Journalism," "Narco News TV" and NNTV © 2000-2011 Al Giordano


"All Hands on Deck!"

The Good Ship Narco News Sets Sail, and the Authentic Journalism Inn Opens Once Again

By Luis Gómez
Narco News School of Authentic Journalism

May 21, 2004

Dear Readers, Colleagues, Friends, Compañeros all,

Luis Gómez
Call me Ishmael… Although the truth is that my name is Luis Gómez and more than two years ago in Cochabamba I was contracted to board a small armed schooner with spears and catapults. Undercover, a man with a Roman nose, who lifted his upper lip to speak, told me: “This is a heavy job. The pay is little. And the risks are enormous.” Captian Ahab Giordano spoke also on this cold morning of freedom, of solidarity, of Authentic Journalism… “Perfect,” he then told me. “All hands on deck!”

When I asked Giordano about what it is we would be hunting, the captain launched into a long speech about the war on drugs, the social movements, and democracy in our América… I got all excited and without thinking about it I boarded the ship. Once we left port, and while “The Narco News Bulletin” set sail, I realized there was no crew except for the two of us… We spent many days working hard, alone, in the middle of what appeared to be an ocean. Then one afternoon we saw a warship (the famous “NYT”)… “See it? We’re going to sink those pirates,” the captain told me… And we began to shoot our weapons against the shell of iron that we had in front of us (I saw some sailors fall, all of them, curiously, had the same face: that of Juan Forero.)…

Things being as they were, and in the middle of an important battle, the captain looked through the telescope to where on the lands of Venezuela a troop of corsairs had docked. Without hesitation, Giordano told me to take the wheel and he jumped into the water, swimming toward the shore… “I’ll be back in a while,” he shouted to me, “prepare to receive my dispatches and translate them to Spanish.” I, who have been a journalist harpooner for more than 15 years, stayed behind for three days, spending my nights about the Narco News, translating, reporting, and looking now and then toward the “NYT” that continued close by… And, well, some months after my first adventure with Giordano, I had to tell him that everything was alright, that, also, I was having a lot of fun, but that we need more hands on deck to continue sailing. “Yes,” the captain confirmed: “We are off to recruit sailors.”

We headed toward the Caribbean… And there we found a good number of youths anxious to show their talents in the old art of telling the truth and unmasking power, its Commercial Media, and its corrupted members that time and time again betray their people for a few coins… We founded an inn called “The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism” for all of them, and we taught them all that, for better or worse, we had learned in this profession. With us in this press were colleagues and companions from other latitudes, like Gary Webb, famous for having slain the Dark Alliance, or Jeremy Bigwood, astute and sweet, an incredible photographer… doña Raquel Gutiérrez, beautiful, intelligent, and brave… When all was said and done, this season bore fruits, and continues to do so…

One morning there was no wind. I said to the captain, seeing the many colleagues and brothers and sisters in arms that we already had, among graduates of the school and colleagues from many the many lands we had known through our voyages, it would be best to consolidate the network of Narco News and Authentic Journalism. “How does that work, Ishmael Gómez, that we are going to have a network?”

“It’s simple, captain. We already know enough colleagues; we have friends throughout the continent. Now it is a question of putting them in contact with one another… Until we have something like a solidarity network of information, of mutual aid, of Authentic Journalism… The truth is, it’s simple.”

And that is how we succeeded in multiplying our numbers yet another way… Now and then Giordano would walk out onto the bow and ask something like, “Who do we have in Ecuador? Our colleagues from São Paulo are docking there in a few days,” and I would review the files to locate some Authentic Journalist, some social leader, or some friend… and always, in the name of solidarity, we found the brothers and sisters that we were seeking…

And I havn’t forgotten that we still owe a few pesos to Reed Lindsay, in Buenos Aires, that he loaned us to send a young Argentine colleague to report a story in the City of Rosario… The report was never published; it was prepared in those very days that the captain ordered that we abandon ship. “There is no money, comrades.” And we anchored for some months, without resources to continue sailing… But thousands of people that knew us, that had read us for years, opened up their wallets a little… Thousands with little came forward to launch the ship anew: The readers saved Narco News, their newspaper.

Before sailing again, Giordano told the crew members assembled at the dock: “You have already helped to rewrite the book about how journalism can and should be practiced. Our first three-and-a-half years were quite an adventure… Now, well, we have asked that you participate in rewriting the newspaper that will defeat and destroy the old and corrupted models of Media, journalism, and activism, to construct a new and better model…”

“It is already happening – from Latin America and even in the United States – in the field of politics, with new models of democracy that will be rebuilt from the bottom up.”

“We are here to assure that the same will happen in the field of journalism and media.”

And we began again to report what is really happening, what the people who fight to defeat this poorly-named “War on Drugs” have to say, and to construct democracy from below… from somewhere in a country called América… Our América… And so once again I turned to the search for new comrades in arms… I went to find true stories among the Bolivian coca growers with Noah Friedsky, lookout and photographer, and I wrote to all of our brothers and sisters in all lands that we are back, and ready to fight…

Now Captain Giordano has told me that we are going to reopen the inn, that is, the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, in Cochabamba, where this story that I tell you began… “Our network must grow, it must become something like a fraternity… It must be larger and more effective. But, Gómez, we need money to do it.” And well, I got this idea to ask for another effort from our thousands of readers (millions each month who visit us on the pages of http://www.narconews.com )… Because I know that you understand us, that you value our efforts and you want to keep reading us on your screens…

Sir Andrew Grice, treasurer of this ship of crazies, says that we need to raise $7,012 dollars by June 21st… in a little less than a month. And with that we will succeed in guaranteeing the presence of the 34 new sailors of the School of Authentic Journalism, and perhaps one or two still on the docks, in line: To arrive at the goal of $10,000 dollars that we lack to complete the matching grant by the Tides Fund for Drug Policy Reform. Ah, and Grice says that we are giving away watches to the valiant citizens that help us out with a hundred dollars or more… They are works of artisanship that not only serve to tell what time it is but also to impress your friends… Take a look at them, kind readers, and make your contribution today via PayPal:


Or send your checks and money orders to “The Fund for Authentic Journalism” at this address:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 71051
Madison Heights, MI 48071 USA

Every cent will be appreciated and put to good use, do not doubt it… Here on the Narco News ship, with you aboard, we are going to rewrite history as it should be told… and now it is your turn to stay the course…


Luis A. Gómez, “Ishmael”

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America