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Add your signature in opposition to the Venezeulan coup

by bh Sunday, Dec. 15, 2002 at 2:10 AM

One of the livliest posts I think I have ever seen on an INdymedia site is currently scrolling down the page on the DC site...the letter being is being cirulated in opposition to the coup attempt currently underway in Venezeula

Today the white house continued the charade currently being played out in the American political arena and the american media, by calling for 'early elections' in Venezeula to 'peacefully resolve the situation', or in otherwords, to peacefully resolve the threatened coup under way. Now you might recall that there are some disgruntled americans who might want George Bush to 'face the electorate', but then that would be undemocratic, right, and about as likely to happen as a snowball fight in the hot pits of hell. Now this is called 'democracy', correct, and what it means is that when your candidate loses your just out of luck, unless you happen to be living in one of those banana republics and Washington hawks are gunning for you, right. You know, they have this deal in Venezuela where, half way through a term, the citizens can hold a referendum and unseat the government by voting it out of office. This referendum could be held sometime later next year, but unfortunately, the coup plotters don't have the votes and they know it, and so democracy be damned, let's have a coup instead. I am sure that Washington also understands that the votes are not there to unseat the elected government using already existing constitutional means, and by ignoring the fact that it is the coup plotters who are stirring up the violence, and trying to pretend that it is that tyranical elected government of Venezuela that is to blame for not, you know, having unconstitutional elections, by playing out this charade for what they hope are gullible american news viewers they hope to paint the Venezuelan government as 'undemocratic' and tyrannical, in time to oust them before the land reforms go through this coming January.

The Narconews site has a very interesting article on the way the American media is playing this story.

copy cat journalism

According to the story, two newspapers The New York times and the LA times had their reporters spoon fed the same story by the coup plotters in Venezuela, the same shop keeper in the same shop telling the same story of the 'misery and anger' of the 'average venezuelan'.

The story describes what is purported to be the widespread 'general strike' in Venezuela, but suffering people who just can't stand any more of that terrible terrible tyranny (you know the tyranny of democracy and the tyranny of just not being able to win an election, or sadly, the possible referendum in the next few months, thus making a coup absolutely neccesary).

Basically the two stories, written by two different writers, contain the same cast of characters, the same shop keeper in the same shop, the same academic talking head offering commentary, and the NarcoNews writer asks, "What are we to make of this? Two reporters from rival papers file the same “human interest” story on Venezuela on the same day, with the same subjects and the same academic authority weighing in? ... in all likelihood, this was a story manufactured by some element of the opposition for whom Forero and Miller turned their newspapers into willing pawns. If they were paraded around separately, but still ended up writing the same story, this represents a very clever little piece of PR executed by the pro-coup forces. In any case, both correspondents should have disclosed such details ... failing to disclose the context and circumstances of his interviews is hardly a new tactic for Forero. As uncovered by this publication last year, Forero committed a similar but much more serious journalistic sin when he interviewed private mercenary pilots in Colombia. What Forero’s readers around the world did not know was that a US embassy official was monitoring all the interviews, virtually ensuring that the pilots could not speak freely. " As for the talking head expert that appears in both pieces, he is "a member of the governmental elite that was run out of town after a popular rejection of the establishment parties and the landslide victory of Hugo Chavez and the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) party? Is that your idea of an independent analysis? A man who has not just an ideological axe but also a personal axe to grind with the current government?" It is also interesting that both reporters were led by their Venezeualan handlers to interview the same shop keeper, but given that this story was supposed to be about the hardships being suffered in the name of the 'general strike' you would think someone might have thought to interview some workers, instead of the business heads, right? The writer goes on to point out that, "Like so many reports on the current, complicated struggle going on in Venezuela now, these stories are dishonest in what they don’t say. For instance, Javier Martín is obviously an enthusiastic supporter-cum-symbol of the “strike” (also referred to occasionally as the economic sabotage of democracy by the ruling class). But what do his employees think of this strike forced on them by their boss? Is it possible to write about a strike without speaking to workers?" Even more interesting is the venue in which both reporters were taken to conduct their 'article research'. "what is this El Hatillo place anyway? Cues from the writers lead us to picture a depressed urban area with sprawling markets and an angry population ready for resistance. But anyone who has been to El Hatillo would burst out laughing at these articles." it turns out that a visit to Caracas was out of the question and thus the reporters were taken for a "45-minute drive from central Caracas, (El Hatillo) has been the hermetically sealed enclave of the super-rich since colonial times. These are shops that cater to Venezuela’s top 5% and no one else. Interesting, that they had to go all the way to El Hatillo to find evidence of a "strike." Reporting an alleged strike from El Hatillo is basically equivalent to reporting the LA riots from the Gucci and Armani shops on Rodeo Drive. Meanwhile, as two of the most influential gringo journalists were being wined and dined by a business class with too much time on its hands, back in the cities around the country thousands from the poor and working classes were surrounding the commercial TV stations -- apparently unorganized by the government. They demanded and end to dishonest reporting just like this, and this far more interesting story was left unreported. Did opposition leaders bring Forero and Miller as far as possible from this scene of much more genuine popular revolt specifically to stop those demonstrations from being reported? Or are these two simply uninterested in reporting anything that casts doubt on the “official” narrative on Venezuela they have spent the last few years developing?"

This piece I found very interesting because it does encapsulate the kind of twisted version of events being presented as the 'official narrative' of what is supposedly taking place in Venezeula, where 'the employers strike' (a lock out of the workers) is presented as a 'general strike' and a sordid attack on the fundamentals of democracy is presented, in true Orwellian style, as 'democracy in action' while a twice democratically elected goverment is portrayed as fascist, rather the unconstitutional and illegal demands of the wealthy coup plotters to depose the government. After all, they can have their constitutional referendum in just a few months, but then they just can't win the elections, and won't win the referendum either, and so now, with Washington's obvious blessing, they are now desperate to plot a coup to stop those land reforms from going through in January. By the way, Chavez is not really that far to the left, but even these modest land reform proposals have so enraged the hawks of Venezuela and washington as well that they are now plotting a coup. Really bad stuff we are seeing. Classic Washington intereference in Latin American, and should be of serious concern to those who remember the horrible mass murder and torture and tens of thousands of disappeared in Argentina and Chile, and in other countries of Central and South America during the last century (what you expect from the kind of Nazis these coup plotters will need to put in place to quell the unrest

that will follow their little coup).

A link of my own on this topic

A page on the petition being circulated against the Venezeualan coup

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