Preparing for a U.S. Invasion

Video: OPEC Meeting

June 2, 2006 6:31 a.m.
Caracas, Venezuela

If it rains, the main road to the airport in Venezuela gets washed out, and trucks can be backed up for miles.

I noticed a small, dark object crawling on my chest in the dark last night. I made the mistake of swatting instead of flicking, and it bit me.

The computers were down in the hotel, so no receipt. The young man at the desk told me there was a second option, to wait ten minutes and the computers would likely be back up. It was 4 a.m. I looked at the man and said slowly, "I don't believe you." He fidgeted, smiled nervously and said nothing. I walked away and sat in a chair.

I saw “Crispy” go to the counter and hear the same options. I saw them talk for a while, back and forth, then they shook hands.

June 1, 2006 1 p.m.
Caracas, Venezuela

Spaghetti carbonara second day in a row. "Crispy" went with the salmon and it got him on the first day. Now, he was on fruit and salad. I had ordered salmon on day one, but sniffed it and passed.

The president here was on TV last night for several hours. One reporter asked how the country was preparing for an upcoming military invasion from the United States. There was a long, serious answer about preparations for the anticipated invasion.

We're doing some hits off the dish, some off the videophone. If you go with the videophone it doesn't matter if your shirt is wrinkled, because the video quality is poor. We set up near the pool with the skyline as the background. One older man in a Speedo, with a good-sized gut, stood on my left to watch. On my right were two Macaws, who seemed friendly. I've tried to teach one to say, "FOX News" without success.

May 31, 2006 9:39 a.m.
Caracas, Venezuela

To get into the OPEC conference you need an accreditation, a card with your picture on it. I sat in a room with the other journalists, mainly from Latin America. I sat next to a big guy from Honduras. He'd been waiting for three hours. Five or six guys in dark suits seemed to be managing the process, while three women actually took the pictures and made the cards.

Some white European journalists arrived and saw the crowd in the room. They talked to one of the suits and were let in.

"That's bull," I said to Ernan, who spoke English well.

"You should do it," he smiled.

"'Cause I'm white, I should cut to the head of the line?"

"Yes," he said.

I thought about it. I was reading through the government newspaper, (which reprinted the Times crossword with no byline) and a dull book on Russian oligarchs. I had flown that morning, was dirty and hungry. There were no windows in the room. More white guys showed up from the Associated Press and were ushered ahead of the room full of Latinos. I followed one AP guy to the velvet rope, but before I could open my mouth in protest, a woman ushered me in. Somehow Ernan got in next, and we sat in a row of chairs, every few minutes getting up to slide down a chair to get closer to the photographer.

A tall, blonde woman in a dark suit came over with a gift bag of OPEC brochures. She gave one to the AP guy and one to me, then walked away. I looked at Ernan on my left and said, "You're not getting one." He smiled.

I tried to think if there were any looming natural disasters or violent conflicts in Honduras.

"How are things in Honduras?" I asked Ernan.

"Calm," he said. I got his e-mail in any case.

E-mail Harrigan
Video: Narco-Trafficking
Video: Hostages

Hi Steve,

I lived in Venezuela for 3 years. My dad's job took us down to Caracas....Most people in the United States have no clue as to what is happening down there. Someone needs to bring Chavez into the light.

Kyle K,
Tulsa, OK


Thanks for coming to Venezuela and reporting on what is going on here. I've known Venezuela for 32 years. The country has great income now that the petroleum price is high again, but the economy is still like a poor third world country with street vendors everywhere, because they can't find any other work. I could write a book about all the things that are going wrong.

Caracas, Venezuela

Dear Mr. Harrigan,

Thank you for the time and effort you put into your reporting. As an expatriate American, I know that too many of my fellow Americans do not, cannot, appreciate the circumstances that most in the 3rd world live in.

Please keep the reporting coming.

Warri, Nigeria

Hello Steve,

I just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed reading your logs from Colombia. My wife is Colombian. We have been watching the election very closely. I myself have been to Colombia twice. I wish it was safe enough for more Americans to experience, because it is a beautiful country with wonderful people.

Thanks for reporting on the going's on down there.

York, Maine