Venezuela Promotes Lefty Image

Venezuela has launched an advertising campaign "pitching itself as an egalitarian nirvana where petro-dollars are funneled straight to the poor," reports the New York Times. "The idea, say Venezuelan officials, is to show American business executives and policy makers that a happy country is a stable one, even if many in Venezuela would disagree." The ads were created by Underground Advertising, a small San Francisco firm that does work for non-profit and progressive organizations. "The purpose [of the ads], of course, is to show that the Chavez government has grassroots support, and counter Bush administration spin that he is a lefty commie who loves to hang out with Fidel," Kevin McCauley, an editor for the trade publication O'Dwyer's PR, told the Times. Venezuela uses the well-connected Patton Boggs firm for lobbying in Washington.