Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great article on the media and Venezuela's Chavez

As I write, I find myself focusing on certain things - human rights violations in the US (which include authoritarian politics and constitutional desecration) and what's happening in the rest of the Americas - Mexico and South America.

The attempts of our government to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are one of the things that really ticks me off. And the corporate press are going along - in a big way. This article, from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, lays it all out.

The Op-Ed Assassination of Hugo Chávez
Commentary on Venezuela parrots U.S. propaganda themes

By Justin Delacour
President Hugo Chávez Frias (700 Club, 8/22/05), the editors of several major newspapers were quick to denounce his outrageous incitement to violence. However, in criticizing the conservative televangelist, the prestige press overlooked its own highly antagonistic treatment of Venezuela’s president, which surely contributed to the heated political climate in which Robertson made his threat.

Even so-called “moderate” columnists have contributed to the deterioration of U.S.-Venezuela relations by distorting the Venezuelan government’s domestic and foreign policy record. Robertson may indeed be “just a garden-variety crackpot with friends in high places,” as the New York Times opined (8/25/05), but the televangelist’s erroneous characterization of Venezuela’s president as a “strong-arm dictator” is hardly distinguishable from, say, Thomas Friedman’s contention that Chávez is an “autocrat” (New York Times, 3/27/05).

In studying the opinion pages of the top 25 circulation newspapers in the United States during the first six months of 2005, Extra! found that 95 percent of the nearly 100 press commentaries that examined Venezuelan politics expressed clear hostility to the country’s democratically elected president...

Of course, Chavez is not only calling Bush the devil, he's also challanging neo-liberal economics. This means he's threatening the bloody pyramid of wealth that the US sits atop - which makes him more than just Bush's enemy.

The U.S. media’s distorted characterizations of Venezuela’s government were typified by Diehl (Washington Post, 1/17/05), who claimed that Chávez is “aggressively moving to eliminate the independence of the media and judiciary, criminalize opposition and establish state control over the economy.”

The Post more explicitly conflated democracy with U.S.-sponsored “free market” policies in a January 14 editorial, in which it asserted that Chávez’s “assault on private property is merely the latest step in what has been a rapidly escalating ‘revolution’ . . . that is undermining the foundations of democracy and free enterprise.”

The notion that U.S.-sponsored neo-liberalism (“free enterprise”) is the only economic model compatible with democracy was further promoted by the Miami Herald (5/8/05), which declared that “the pugnacious Mr. Chávez is determined to push his populist model to the people of the region as a competitor to real democracies...”

And as is common, Chavez is accused of committing the sins of the US.

Aside from neglecting to provide proof for the charge that Chávez destabilizes Latin America, columnists failed to recognize the hypocrisy of accusing Venezuela of meddling in a region where U.S. interference is second to none. In reality, it is the Bush administration—not the Chávez government—that is known to meddle in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. During recent presidential races in Nicaragua (2001), Bolivia (2002) and El Salvador (2004), Bush administration officials openly threatened to penalize the three countries if their citizens elected candidates who opposed U.S. policies.

Good article. I recommend it.

1 comment:

Kentucky Fried Chesney said...

From my experience of living in Venezuela last winter, I have come to believe that Chavez'has the makings of a "strongman" or dictator.However, the people (voters)have the ability to hold him accountable to the democratic system under which he serves. Economically, my hope is that socialism will thrive and grow , and that is where both Chavez' and the people of Venezuela are working together. Again, the growing middle class and theimprovement of life among the poor that I wittnessed indicate that a democratic-socialist system can exist and thrive.

the reference to the "government's policies of extending education, healthcare,subsidized food and MICRO-CREDITS to the country's poor." seemed to be working. I emphasized micro-credits because I saw a lot of small businesses starting and thrivings in the barrios. THe typical progression for a poor family is to set up a structure (usually of cardboard, concrete rubble or corrigated tin) on the outscirts of the city. (This was in Ciudad Guayana where I stayed.) THey were considered squatters until , I want to say a year's time, but am not sure how long. Then they become homeowners living on their own land.Typically the home is improved,often one concrete block at a time, until a secure and comfortable home, usually including a garage is built. Sometimes a family will add on a garage where they eventually house a business. Car repair shops, fruit and vegetable stands, grocery stores, and restaurants were common "garage- based" businesses in these neighborhoods. A policy of extending microcredits may be the defining factor at work here.

At the time i didn't think to ask where the money came from to set up and run the daycares, community kitchens and dining areas for the poor, and orphanages; the orphanage I worked in had a large space where the orphans were educated.

I could go on about my experiences and speculations, but will end here by saying I hope to return to this nation of the Venezuelan people.