Friday, December 11, 2009

Loveman Speaks

Con todo respeto, and after years of admiring COHA's efforts, the piece on Correa was not acceptable.

I do not admire "radical populism," whatever that means (to SOUTHCOM or Congress -- and Obama has no clue) just as I did not admire Peron or Ibanez or even Haya de la Torre. But basic historical accuracy is important for credibility over the long-term.

My suggestion, for what it is worth, is that before such opinion pieces go out over the web some more senior person review the work of younger colleagues. Or, without compromising COHA independence, maybe country specialist could take a look? Most of what you send out is not highly time sensitive. The Correa piece (though it really was not mostly about Correa) could have gone out a week or two weeks later without diminishing its timeliness. In the case of the Correa piece, almost anyone at FLACSO Ecuador (and especially Adrian Bonilla, the director) could have helped with the historical errors.

In my opinion, there is no sense compromising the efforts to change U.S. policy toward the region by allowing obvious errors to go out under/over COHA imprimatur. I realize that you have already begun to deal with the fallout of this particular piece, but my concern is about longer-term credibility and also the internal vetting of such pieces which, once released, are not only read by the old selective audiences of professional journals and remain on the web as for a long time. The political implications of shotgun "research" may have longer-term consequences.

Saludos Cordiales,
Brian Loveman

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