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by JESUS MARIA NERY BARRIOS
Saturday, Mar. 24, 2007 at 10:50 PM
VHeadline en Español News Editor Jesus Nery Barrios writes: Continuing our cyber crusade, navigating the web of lies and hoaxes seeded against Venezuela’s Bolivarian Government, President Hugo Chavez and its brave people in the mainstream media, and to show readers the other side of the coin, allowing them to achieve some balance in the information they receive and to arrive at their own conclusions, we find yet another oft-reiterated topic concerning the land of Simon Bolivar, Luis Aparicio and Jacinto Convit (the Venezuelan physician who discovered a vaccine for leprosy).
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This time we quite literally fell over two pieces. The first informs us of "US Concern Over Russian Arms Sales to Iran, Syria, Venezuela" from the Reuters news agency dated March 21 ... the second warns the world that "Venezuela arms spending highest in Latin America" by New York Times’ Simon Romero, February 25.
I couldn’t help laughing, thinking how come these global media titans can even imagine a sane reader on this planet can fall into this kind of old wives’ tale, especially given a topic that is so worldwide and closely tracked and supervised by so many institutions, states, private corporations, multilateral organizations, intelligence agencies, think-tanks, NGOs ... and by themselves!
Thank goodness that fierce competition between media corporations give us the chance to discover some cracks in its seemingly solid ideological superstructure built to implant an Orwellian Unified Thought.
For instance, in Romero’s report from Caracas, he says "Venezuela's arms spending has climbed to more than US billion through the past two years, transforming the nation into Latin America's largest weapons buyer and placing it ahead of other major purchasers in international arms markets like Pakistan and Iran."
But, in another interesting report by their competitor in the "information war," the Associated Press, published in The San Francisco Chronicle, May 30, 2006 we already know that Venezuela was 6th in the list of top spenders on defense in Latin America with $ 1.4 billion, below Argentina ($ 1.7 billion), Mexico ($ 3.1 billion), Chile ($ 3.8 billion), Colombia ($ 6.3 billion) and Brazil ($ 13.2 billion) placed first ... citing "figures compiled by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies" ... and that the "other entries were provided by those countries' defense ministries."
According to Romero’s figures, that would put Venezuela in 3rd place on the list published by AP and not first as he claims, assuming that Brazil and Colombia had not spent a cent in military weaponry over those two years ... something very hard to believe these days, especially regarding to Colombia (a close ally to the Bush war administration) that has (officially) received more than billion since 2000 for its Plan Colombia, that had mostly been spent in new, advanced weapons -- with very little success, by the way.
Perhaps if we look for update stats on the countries mentioned on the list we may find Venezuela even lower down the list...
To rub more salt into the wounds of this contradictory way of informing readers around the world, we took the trouble to visit the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies website and found a report by AP’s Fabiola Sanchez from March 30, 2006 headlined "Venezuela spending billions on defense" and found this beautiful pearl of a statement that we bring to our dear and loyal readers of VHeadline.com for them to enjoy..... and to think about:
"Defense economist Mark Stoker says the deals so far don't appear to be a significant buildup; Venezuela is not spending as much as Brazil and Colombia.
"My interpretation is that Venezuela had a certain amount of aging military equipment and needed to replace some of that" using its windfall oil profits, said Stoker of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies."
If we, for a moment, trust data given by an US official and a NYT reporter that puts Venezuela only in 3rd position -- as I clearly showed --- and assume that that it is a huge amount of money to spend on defense anyway, take into account the expert comment by Mr. Stoker regarding the replacement of aging, out-of-date military equipment and you'll realize instead how Venezuela’s old leadership (who were in power before Chavez and want him out) managed its armed forces and the country’s sovereignty.
* Even with that "huge" spent it cannot cope with neighboring Brazil and Colombia, especially with the latter where it shares a 2,000 kilometers long, permeable and conflictive border.
I'm not going to flood you with all the data that document USA support for a coup d'etat in April 2002 ... the permanent verbal attacks against Venezuela’s people and its democratically-elected President from top US officials ... and the physical threats imposed by US military maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea ... with a comparison between the US and the Venezuelan military spend because you already know those facts too well.
What Hugo Chavez is doing, with regard to Venezuela’s military, is to bring security to the people who elected him ... a human right afforded to any sovereign people in the world today, given the permanent threat of a warlike and myopic superpower.
If that was not the unfortunate world security scenario, I'm pretty sure that Chavez and the people of Venezuela ... traditionally a peaceful people ... would be spending on books, doctors and building houses what it is forced to spend today on rifles and warplanes.
Any other country in the world would be doing the same, if they had any thought of living in an egalitarian society of human justice.
Jesus Nery Barrios
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