Venezuelan Media

“On April 12 (2002), Venezuelans awoke to television personality Napoleon Bravo, host of Venevision’s ’24 Horas’ morning show, declaring ‘Good morning Venezuela–we have a new president!’ During this extraordinary television moment, the guests thanked the private media channels for their integral role in making the coup happen and explained in detail the plans leading up to the coup. They specifically underlined the key role of the private media in broadcasting the images that justified the coup…Later on that same program, bravo hosted Rear Admiral Carlos Molino Tomayo, Leopold Lopez, Victor Manuel Garcia, and other coup participants who gave an in-depth account of the coup plotting and plans.”

Gollinger, Eva. “The Chavez Code 73”. Cited in Monthly Review 59(3) 2007: 142.

Note to CIA: When attempting to overthrow democratically elected presidents outside of US, (1) make sure they don’t have functional military connections, and (2) stifle the boorish braying of the local elite co-conspirators. Just in case you assholes fail.

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Chavez ousts US missionary

Because of their alleged connections to the CIA, US Christian evangelical missionary group New Tribes Mission has recently been ousted from Venezuela. “They will leave,” Chavez announced. “No more colonialism!”

While Mr. Chavez’s oppositions to Washington manoeuvers are generally portrayed by American elites in politics and the media as aggressive and instrumentally designed to appeal to what is depicted as the Latin American mob, the Venezuelan President appears not to have cornered the market on either aggression or demogoguery.

The CIA was complicit in a failed coup against Mr Chavez in 2002. An investigation by The Observer that year indicated that Washington had sanctioned the attempted overthrow. Sparring between Caracas and Washington intensified this year when Republican US spokesman Pat Robertson advocated that Mr Chavez be assassinated. Last month Chavez told ABC News’ Ted Koppel that he had seen evidence of US plans to invade Venezuela.

Also last month, a ruling by a US immigration judge in Texas to block the deportation of Luis Posada Carriles prompted fierce condemnation from Mr Chavez. Posada had been a lifelong right wing operative, often employed by the CIA. He is wanted in Venezuela for trial, as he had been a terrorist in a Cuban airliner bombing that killed 73 people in 1976. The Texan judge, William Abbott, explained his decision to protect the right wing terrorist, claiming that Posada faced the threat of “torture” in Venezuela. Chavez responded by drawing attention to verified, actually-existing US human rights violations and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

At the UN summit in New York recently, Mr Chavez delivered an unflinchingly critical speech against Bush’s imperial administration.

Reported with an imperial Anglo-American slant as “Chavez bans missionary group” in The Guardian News Blog, Friday, October 17, 2005.

Chavez staying true to pledge for U.S. poor

Edited from the article by Estanislao Oziewicz:

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on the weekend that he was going to open the taps on subsidized heating oil for poor folks in the United States, many assumed it was a drive-by comment aimed at raising the ire of his frequent critics in Washington.
But, as it turns out, Mr. Chavez is a man of his word.
Officials at Citgo Petroleum Corp. — the Houston-based company that is wholly owned by Venezuela’s state-owned energy company — say they are scrambling to put the fine points on Mr. Chavez’s promise to supply some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the United States with cheap heating oil this winter.
“The idea is to work with communities in need, with schools, and we’ll have to work through not-for-profit organizations that will serve as intermediaries,” public affairs manager Fernando Garay said.
The Venezuelan leader’s program is scheduled to begin next month in the Mexican-American community in Chicago, followed by the South Bronx, and then Boston.
Bradford University scholar Julia Buxton said Mr. Chavez’s action is “quite unprecedented but consistent with the influence the oil has in the world economy.”
“When Mr. Chavez first came to power nearly seven years ago, oil was at $9 a barrel and it’s now above $60. That’s given him huge fiscal leverage.”
That is clearly not lost on Mr. Chavez’s foes in the U.S. administration. Only days before Mr. Chavez took his message directly to Americans after speaking at the United Nations, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice complained — hypocritically, in the eyes of many Venezuelans — that oil was “warping” international politics. “It gives certain power and leverage to certain countries and not to others,” she said in a meeting with The New York Times editorial board. “We’re experiencing it with Venezuela, for instance, where the oil profits are being put to use across the region to, you know, push forward Chavez’s particular view of the world.”
One thing that sticks sharply in Washington’s craw is Mr. Chavez’s close collaboration with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Under Chavez, Venezuela has been moving toward social democracy.
Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world and the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States after Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Last year, PDVSA accounted for nearly 12 per cent of U.S. imports. Citgo has eight petroleum refineries in the United States as well as nearly 14,000 gas stations.
Ms. Buxton said that Mr. Chavez’s U.S. foray was borne of pragmatism and ideology. “He’s been deeply, deeply frustrated by coverage in the U.S. media and the attitude of the U.S. government, and he’s trying to counter a very Republican-directed vendetta,” she said, a vendetta that included a call by U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson for his assassination.
“He clearly needed to build constructive alliances with more liberal sections of American society and open a way to insulate himself against Washington enemies.”
On the weekend, Mr. Chavez, of mixed African and native Indian ancestry, toured the heavily black and Latino-populated Bronx and was treated like a rock star.
Ms. Buxton said Mr. Chavez’s pledge to help poor Americans may have been ad hoc but follows a recent pattern to provide subsidized oil to 13 Caribbean countries — including Cuba, in exchange for the long-term loan of about 20,000 Cuban health workers.
“He does have an interest in providing oil to the poorest in the Americas, including North America,” she said.

This article was reproduced in the rad-green news listserve. The original article can be found at:

EZ23/International/Idx
Globe and Mail Friday, September 23, 2005 Page A22

telesur

In Venezuela, the war for the hearts and minds of its citizens is now in full swing. With the imminent launching of the government-sponsored Televisora del Sur (Telesur), network control of the country’s existing media, including Univisión and CNN en Español, might sorely be put to the test. According to plans, the network will start transmitting in late June or early July and will offer news and opinion programming 24 hours a day. For journalists now being recruited by Telesur, the creation of the network is long overdue. “Telesur’s reason for being is the need to see Latin America with Latin American eyes,” said Aram Aharonian, its new director. “It’s our right to have our own vision of what happens in Latin America, and not what Europeans or Americans, or whoever, tell us about how we are, who we are.”

It is hardly surprising that this new project is being launched by the Hugo Chávez administration. The Venezuelan leader has been particularly concerned with increasing his country’s political and cultural independence from Washington.

Production Reform in Venezuela

Head of the Ministry of Basic Industry in the Chavez Administration, Victor Alvarez, has set up procedure for the reform of some state-owned businesses. In an effort to root out corruption and ineffeciency, the managers of some state businesses, such as those at an aluminum processing plant in the southeastern state of Bolivar, are being let go. They are to be replaced with a new mangement program designed by the workers, in which workers are elected to the position of manager. Current plans include a flat salary for workers and managers, in an effort to discourage the kind of corrupt, self-maximizing behavior that plagued the previous management.

From Monthly Review, May 2005, v. 25 no. 1.