Venezuela Information Office
The Venezuela Information Office (VIO) was a Washington, DC-based lobbying agency with the goal of improving the perception of Venezuela in the United States; its stated mission was "to prevent US intervention in Venezuela". Founded in 2004 by the government of Venezuela, VIO was funded by the Venezuelan government and therefore registered with the United States Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
As of February 2010, the organisation has issued no press releases via its website since November 2008.
A key part of VIO's function was responding to negative coverage of Venezuela in the US media. In addition to maintaining a public websiteand a blog, VIO promoted its views in the media in a number of ways, including issuing press releases, contributing articles (such as responses to the 2008 Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela), and being available for interviews.
According to public records the VIO spent $379,000 on lobbying the US Congress in the years 2004 to 2007. In 2004 it also contracted public relations company Lumina Strategies to improve the image of Hugo Chávez and of the Venezuelan government in the United States, supporting and coordinating the media relations work of the VIO.
Olivia Goumbri was VIO's Executive Director as of 2009.
- Forero, Juan (30 September 2004). "Venezuela's government seeks to show that its oil riches are well spent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "FARA US Department of Justice" (PDF). US Department of Justice. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- Melia, Michael (30 January 2006). "Venezuelan oil marks Chavez's latest bid to win over U.S.". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-02-09.[dead link]
- Foreign Agents Registration Act - Venezuela Information Office - FARA fillings 29.08.04
- Holland, Alisha; Brett, S., Taraciuk, T., Wilkinson, D., Fillippini, L., Loxton, J. (22 September 2008). "A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Venezuela Information Office, Monthly Review, 22 September 2008, The Truth Suffers in Human Rights Watch Report on Venezuela
- Carroll, Rori (9 September 2008). "Human Rights Watch condemns Chávez's decade in power". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
- opensecrets.org, Venezuela Information Office entry
- "Lumina Strategies' filing to US DoJ Foreign Agent Registration Unit" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- Goumbri, Olivia (24 January 2009). "Letter to Editor: Improving conditions". Washington Times. Retrieved 2009-02-20.