“Lies, Half Truths and Bias: The World’s Media and the Venezuelan Election” – AN ARTICLE BY JORGE MARTIN

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/media_venezuela_election.htm


Once again there has been a remarkably well coordinated campaign of disinformation regarding the Venezuelan presidential elections on Sunday October 7.

The whole of the world’s media has more or less followed the same script: A tired, sick autocratic caudillo (military dictator), Chavez, is facing the young, dynamic, democratic, centre-left candidate of the united opposition. While Chavez is squandering the country’s oil money, Capriles would maintain the social programs but bring efficiency to them. While there is no scope for fraud, the campaign has not been free and fair. Chavez commands hysterical support from the mobs in few big rallies, while Capriles has criss-crossed the country getting his message across to a population thirsty for change. The opinion polls are allegedly showing a technical draw, while some in the last week have shown Capriles to be ahead. Capriles supporters have faced violence from the chavista mob, but the opposition candidate has kept his cool. Chavez has threatened civil war if he loses, while Capriles is the candidate of peace.

Every single one of these sentences, which are taken literally from the appalling media coverage of the Venezuelan elections, is either completely false (a straight lie), extremely one-sided, or a biased comment passing as information.

The “autocratic caudillo” (The Economist headline was “The Autocrat and the Ballot Box”) has been elected and ratified in over a dozen electoral contests in the last 14 years. The “young centre-left democratic and dynamic” candidate of the opposition participated in the April 2002 coup against democracy (as did all of the parties in his MUD coalition), fainted twice at the beginning of the campaign, and when elected governor of Miranda launched an assault on the very social programs he know claims to support. He is not even really that young, at 40 years of age.

Several journalists from state-owned and community media have been assaulted at meetings of the “democratic” and “peaceful” opposition, though you will not hear about that in the world’s leading newspapers.

Of the 18 opinion polls carried out in September, 14 give Chavez as a victor and his average lead is 12 percentage points over Capriles (UK Academics Call for End to Media Misrepresentation about Polls in Venezuela’s Election). How this can be presented as a “technical draw” is anybody’s guess.

When Chavez said that the real plan of the opposition (as revealed by a number of high profile opposition figures) was a neoliberal austerity package and that its implementation would lead to a civil war, he was just basing himself on the historical precedent of the Caracazo uprising in 1989. The media decided to present the comment as “Chavez threatens civil war if he loses election”.

El Pais in Spain has been particularly vicious in its attacks on Chavez whom they describe as a “Mesiah”, a “TV preacher” and a “rock star”. It even offered an open editorial space to Capriles to explain his program (Quiero hablares del futuro). We wonder whether the same space was offered to the other candidate, in the interest of fairness and balance. Somehow I fear that was not the case. We should not be surprised though, as this is the paper which on April 13, 2002 showed its true colours with an editorial comment in favour of the oligarchic coup which briefly removed president Chavez (Golpe a un caudillo).

A special prize must go to The Independent in Britain who, on the day after the huge final election rally of Chavez (which filled 7 enormous avenues in Caracas), had the headline “Chavez finally meets his match“, illustrated with pictures of Henrique Capriles and not a single reference to Chavez’s rally. This is the same paper that on August 16 2004 announced Chavez was “losing his grip on power” as “mid-morning polls” showed him losing the recall referendum (Venezuela’s Chavez on brink of referendum defeat), when in fact Chavez won by 59% to 41%.

Of course, it is perhaps The Guardian / Observer reporter Rory Carroll who wins the overall prize for the most biased article with his Chavez: people’s hero in final showdown. Just to quote the opening paragraph: “The ailing Venezuelan leader still commands hysterical devotion from his supporters, but Henrique Capriles, his younger, healthier opponent in next Sunday’s election, is snapping hard at his heels.” He continues in the same vein: “Huge crowds mob the presidential candidate… They surround his bus, chanting his name … they scream and surge forward, desperate to embrace him.”

The only impression one can get from reading Carroll’s article is that those who support Chavez are mad and ignorant. There is a subtle arrogant dismissal of the ability of poor and working class people to have informed political views that is combined with a very British upper class dismissal of the genuine enthusiasm people feel for the political process in Venezuela. Carroll, of course, has a long track record of distorting the news about Venezuela.

The reason why a majority of the Venezuelans, and particularly amongst those from the working class and the poor, support Chavez enthusiastically (not hysterically), is easy to understand. He has challenged the powerful ruling class and imperialism and has delivered tangible, concrete improvement in their living conditions. The poor do not support Chavez because they are crazy, as one would think from the Carroll’s choice of words, but because unemployment has halved, GDP per capita doubled, infant mortality halved, poverty decreased by two thirds, illiteracy been eradicated and hundreds of thousands have gained access to the education system, amongst other things (as even the Guardian is forced toreluctantly admit).

This is why they are enthusiastic. For the first time in their lives they can see that direct participation in politics does change something. They feel that the future is in their own hands and not in the hands of professional politicians, lawyers, judges and learnt journalists.

All of this has been achieved despite the repeated attempts of the ruling class and the so-called “democratic” opposition to overthrow the democratically elected government by all means at their disposal (military coups, oil lock out, sabotage of the economy, hoarding of basic products, rioting in the streets, Colombian paramilitaries, etc).

True, there are many shortcomings of the Bolivarian revolution. Yes, there is a bureaucracy at all levels which acts as a break to the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses and this constitutes a real threat to the revolution itself. However, particularly in the second part of the election campaign, the Bolivarian masses have been mobilized on the clear understanding that a victory for the opposition would mean the destruction of all the gains of the revolution.

A victory for Chavez will necessarily have to be followed by a very critical appraisal of what remains to be done and how to accomplish it. The activists of the Bolivarian movement, particularly amongst the working class, will be at the forefront of trying to complete the revolution brushing aside all the obstacles which stand in their way, including the “Bolivarian” bureaucracy itself.

The campaign of the media ignores all these facts, or brushes them aside as irrelevant. It conveniently ignores the track record of the opposition, uncritically accepts and fosters its claim to be democratic and even center-left.

The aim of this concerted media campaign is clear: to mould the world’s public opinion. To create the impression that Chavez will not and cannot win the election. To imply therefore that if he wins then it must have been through by foul means. The idea is to delegitimize the October 7 elections as a true expression of the will of the Venezuelan people. This is not just a question of manipulating public opinion though. There have been many indications, open and veiled, that the real plan of the opposition on October 7, knowing they will not win the election, is to cry fraud and create chaos in the streets. The world’s biggest media outlets are clearly part of this campaign.

None of this should really surprise us though. What we are witnessing in Venezuela is, at bottom, the struggle between irreconcilable class interests. On the one hand are the rich and powerful, the oligarchy, the owners of the means of production, the banks, the land, the food production and distribution chain and the mass media. On the other, the workers, the urban poor, the peasants.

Capriles’ article in El Pais was very revealing in this respect. It reads like a sales brochure for Venezuela. He is in fact selling the country to potential EU investors and particularly Spanish companies which have powerful interests in Latin America. “No more expropriations, no more confiscations,” he says in bold and he promises to “guarantee an environment of confidence for national and international investors”. If he wins the election, he promises, he will “deepen economic relations with the EU” and “guarantee the safety of investors”. This is his real program, as opposed to the “centre-left” promises which the mass media is highlighting. He is the candidate of the Venezuelan and foreign capitalists and in this article he was speaking to his real target audience, the people whose interests he would serve if elected.

The Financial Times, while repeating the same script as the rest of the media (to the point of calling Chavez garrulous), is also more frank in the interests it defends. Its target audience is not the mass of the population, but those who count: managers and directors of big companies, investors and speculators. They describe Capriles as a “business friendly law graduate,” and crucially analyse how a victory for the opposition would bring lower oil prices (The Venezuelan solution for oil prices). One of the achievements of Chavez’s policies has been to strengthen OPEC and thus bring higher oil prices which benefit producing countries with higher revenues. In the case of Venezuela, this has been used to fund social programs which even the FT is forced to admit have benefited the poor majority. Imperialism would like to break up or weaken the cartel of producing countries. This in itself is a powerful reason why imperialism would like to see Chavez gone.

The mass media internationally are owned and controlled by a few monopoly groups, which are in turned linked to major business conglomerates. They have chosen their side in this battle. We have chosen ours. The scandalous way in which they abandon any pretence at fair and balanced reporting shows that they understand a lot is at stake in this election. We should actively denounce them and uncover their lies, because in that way we are also advancing our own interests.


Fidel Castro becomes the leader of Cuba as a r...

There is a 12 second video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0maXjDMaW8&feature=share) whose description reads as such:


“In the interview conducted by a Venezuelan reporter named Vanesa Davies who is one of the spearheads of the Chavista propaganda (sic). She asks Fidel a question whose answer openly demonstrates that the SOCIALISM OF THE 21ST CENTURY is simply the same RANCID COMMUNISM OF FIDEL. It’s not that there were doubts but take hold of this all those that are still not convinced that they are trying to transform Venezuela into Cuba.” (sic)

This is what is said in the video, also translated from Spanish:

Q: “What is Socialism for you today/now?” 

A: “For me? It’s Communism…the very same that Marx himself defined as Communism”

In response to this video and its comments, I have the following to say:

It is neither Fidel’s nor Chavez’ trip.

In my view, this snippet of a video in no way supports the opinion held by the person that recorded it or that uploaded it (in case those two are different people), who interprets what is said as evidence that “they want to transform Venezuela into Cuba.” The transition from Socialism to Communism is the natural and normal trajectory of that political and economic evolution – the trajectory that is supposed to be realized according to the economic and political theories dictated by both the Socialist and Communist ideologies. Socialism is (very simply put for the sake of brevity) the “in-between” between Capitalism and Communism – it is the Path taken from Right to Left. The main objective is Pure Communism, and, in my view, most Socialist countries today have not had the privilege of realizing that end yet, including Cuba; most of these are still fighting the Good Fight against Capitalism through Socialism – they are in Transition, as it were (when the fight is finally won, then Pure Communism will have been realized). Therefore, in my opinion, what is trying to be done is not to “transform Venezuela into Cuba” but rather to finalize that transition from Capitalism, through Socialism and towards Communism. If and when this finally happens in Venezuela, by no means will the country have turned into Cuba, because not even Cuba, as I just mentioned above, has implemented Pure Communism, at least to my knowledge (part of the reason why there are still economic and political issues despite the obvious and immense Social advancements achieved, which are themselves something to be argued about in depth, but at another time). So, both Venezuela and Cuba continue to fight the fight, aspiring to the eventual Victory of Pure Communism.

On the other hand, this video in no way “uncovers” Chavez, as the title suggests. It is insincere to title these 12 seconds of video that way. If the person wanted to honestly inform the public of the lies and other corrupt and disgusting practices that he/she is keen on accusing Chavez of, and which were supposedly corroborated by this video and interview, then it would have behooved him/her to record the entire program and not just the 12 seconds that the person so ignorantly assumed would help explain their anti-Chavism. The Context surrounding all three — the question, the answer and the interview itself — is imperative in order for the viewer to arrive at his own well-informed and educated conclusions, which is, after-all, the main point of NEWS and INFORMATION. But that has obviously not been done here. Nevertheless, they have still managed to discredit themselves (and their message) more than they had ever intended to do for Chavez and Socialism in general. The video at no point in its minuscule time-span shows Fidel “uncovering” Chavez – he’s not even mentioned; and this on top of the already evident prejudice in the person that recorded the entire 12 seconds instead of the entire show. On the contrary, the video accomplishes the very opposite by very concisely explaining the purity of Chavez’ Socialism – the Socialism of the 21st Century, which in these days, in fact, embraces and belongs to not only Socialist/Chavista Venezuela but rather the entire of our Beautiful Latin America; it explains very sincerely the goals of real Socialism – in one word: Communism!

The other thing I gather from the video is that Fidel explains, or rather responds, to the question of how he sees Socialism in Venezuela today. I think he answers that “for [him this is] Communism – the very same that Marx himself defined as such.” That which Marx defined as Communism in the 19th Century, at the top of his brilliancy and voiced through his great COMMUNIST MANIFESTO – that is Pure Communism which even I think Fidel, erroneously and hastily but with good and sincere intentions, has accredited to the great Bolivarian Venezuela.

Fidel simply seems to be explaining the inevitable (which, comparatively, is as inevitable as the depressions and other economic-ticking-time-bombs that Capitalism is subject to and which are daily and globally decimating it, just as it has scientifically been foreseen since feudal times): that regardless of the country or of the person in power – of course, as long as that person has Pure Ideals in mind and Humanitarian and Social Advancements at heart instead of Personal and Economic Gain – ideals truly characteristic of figures such as Chavez, Fidel, Correa and Morales, among others – regardless of these two variables, Pure and Uncorrupt Socialism, like Cuba’s and Venezuela’s, is that which simultaneously produces the necessary conditions needed to arrive at Communism as well as drives the society that adopts it towards Communism.

If anyone wishes to know more about Pure Communism I invite you to look for material to read or to ask me to direct you to some, which I’ll be happy to do, because there is definitely lots of it out there (and I have some gems too!) You just have to look for it. Because, honestly, going to Fox News and CNN for news about Chavez or Venezuela or Cuba – or about any other place, for that matter, whose politics or economics are not aligned with the Local Interests of the U.S.A. – is infinitely the worst choice…If we do, we may as well just burrow our heads deep inside the Earth, or better yet, simply undergo a voluntary lobotomy and get this fucking charade over and done with….

And of course any comments…ALWAYS WELCOMED! Let’s get the ball rolling here…Undoubtedly, not everyone agrees with what they’ve just read…





Cover of "El manifiesto comunista"

Cover of El manifiesto comunista

Hay un video en YouTube de 12 segundos de duración (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0maXjDMaW8&feature=share) cuyo contenido lee:

“En la entrevista echa por una reportera venezolana llamada Vanesa Davies quien es una de las puntas de lanza de la propaganda Chavista. Ella le hace una pregunta a Fidel cuya respuesta demuestra abiertamente que el SOCIALISMO DEL SIGLO 21 es simplemente el mismo COMUNISMO RANCIO DE FIDEL. No es que había dudas pero agarren pues los que aun no se convencen que quieren transformar a Venezuela en CUBA.”

Esto es lo que es dicho en el video:

P: “¿Que es el Socialismo para usted, ahora, en el siglo 21?”

R: “Para mí Es el Comunismo – el que el propio Marx definió como Comunismo.”

En respuesta a este video, tengo lo siguiente que decir:

No es cosa ni de Fidel ni de Chávez.

Este fragmento de video de ninguna manera apoya la opinión que sostiene la persona que lo grabó o que lo publicó (en caso de que fuesen diferentes personas), quien lo interpreta como evidencia de que “quieren transformar a Venezuela en Cuba”. La transición desde el Socialismo hacia el Comunismo es la trayectoria normal y natural de esa evolución económica, social y política – la que tiene que darse de acuerdo a lo que las teorías económicas y políticas del Socialismo y del Comunismo dictan. ¡El Socialismo es simplemente el fenómeno que sucede durante la transición desde el Capitalismo hacia el Comunismo — es el camino que se toma para ir desde la Derecha a la Izquierda! El objetivo genuino es el Comunismo Puro; solo que no muchos países hoy en día, creo yo, incluyendo a Cuba, han podido preciarse de llegar a ese punto culminante. Estos países todavía sostienen la gran lucha contra el Capitalismo por medio del Socialismo – cuando la lucha sea finalmente ganada, entraran al Comunismo. Por lo tanto, en mi opinión, lo que se quiere hacer no es “transformar a Venezuela en Cuba,” sino finalizar esa transición desde el Capitalismo, a través del Socialismo y hacia el Comunismo. Si esto sucede en Venezuela, de ninguna manera se convertirá en Cuba, porque ni Cuba, como ya lo he dicho, ha logrado implementar el Comunismo Puro (la razón es en parte, debido a que aún existen problemas económicos y políticos en ese país, a pesar de los inmensos y obvios avances Sociales). Ambos: Venezuela y Cuba, continúan en la lucha, aspirando al fin haber  llegado al  Comunismo Puro.

Por otro lado, en este video de ninguna manera se está “delatando” a Chávez. Es insincero, por decir lo menos, o craso error en el mejor de los casos, intitular estos 12 segundos de video de esa manera. Si la persona quisiera honestamente informar a la gente de las mentiras y otras barbaridades y corrupciones de las cuales se acusa a Chávez, y las cuales supuestamente son corroboradas por este video y entrevista, entonces le hubiera convenido a la persona grabar todo el programa y no solamente los 12 segundos que esa persona pensó que le ayudarían a explicar su anti-chavismo. El contexto que rodea las tres cosas — la entrevista, la pregunta y la respuesta — es imperativo para que el que la vea pueda arribar a sus propias fundadas conclusiones, lo cual es el punto, en primer lugar, de las NOTICIAS y de la INFORMACION. Pero eso no se ha hecho aquí. Sin embargo, el tiro ha salido doblemente por la culata, porque no solo que el video no muestra a Fidel “delatando” a Chávez, aparte del prejuicio ya demostrado por el que grabó los 12 segundos en vez de todo el programa. Al contrario, el video más bien demuestra lo opuesto al explicar muy concisamente la pureza del Socialismo de Chávez – el Socialismo del Siglo 21, que de hecho hoy en día abraza y pertenece no solo a la Venezuela Chavista sino a la mayoría de nuestra hermosa Latino-América ; en una palabra la meta final: Comunismo.

La otra conclusión que infiero del video es que Fidel está explicando, o respondiendo, más bien, a la pregunta de cómo él ve el Socialismo en Venezuela. Responde que “para [él, este es] el comunismo – el que el propio Marx definió como Comunismo”. Eso – lo que Marx definió como Comunismo en el siglo 19, al tope de su genio y difundido por medio de su gran obra, El Manifiesto Comunista – eso es el Puro Comunismo que hasta yo, personalmente, creo que Fidel errónea y apresuradamente, aunque con buenas y sinceras intensiones, se lo acredita a la Gran Venezuela Bolivariana.

Fidel simplemente explica lo inevitable (tan inevitable como las depresiones y otras bombas de tiempo económicas del cual el Capitalismo es rehén y las cuales continúan derrumbándolo mundial y diariamente, tal cual como ha sido científicamente previsto desde  los tiempos feudales): Que independientemente de cuál sea el país o de la persona que lo  lidere, siempre y cuando, claro está, esa persona tenga Ideales Puros en mente y el Avance Humanitario y Social en el corazón en vez del Enriquecimiento Económico Personal  – ideales característicos de personas como Chávez, Fidel, Correa y Morales, entre otros pocos –  a pesar de estas dos variables, decía yo, el Socialismo Puro e Incorrupto (como el de Cuba y Venezuela) es lo que simultáneamente genera las condiciones necesarias para que la sociedad que lo adopte arribe al Comunismo Puro, al paso que también conduce a dicha sociedad hacia este susodicho Comunismo Puro.

Si quieren saber que es el Comunismo Puro, les invito a que lean o me pidan literatura afín, la cual existe en abundancia (y yo también tengo unos tesoros!); porque simplemente escuchando las noticias de Fox y de CNN acerca de Chávez y Venezuela y Cuba (en realidad, acerca de cualquier lugar cuya política o economía no esté de acuerdo con la de los Estados Unidos) es infinitamente peor que si simplemente enterraría alguno su cabeza bajo la tierra, o quizá peor que una lobotomía – ¡HACERLO ES SER TRES VECES NECIO!

Y recuerden, todos los comentarios están BIENVENIDOS SIEMPRE! Comencemos un buen debate aquí….Sin duda, no todos están de acuerdo con lo que han leído…