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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"PBS Reports for Big Oil on Venezuela" - Patrick Irelan

I was curious about this FRONTLINE story to be shown tonight. Glad I read this before wasting tape recording it.
Portion below; whole thing here: http://www.counterpunch.org/irelan11252008.html

The program inevitably starts crawling around inside the head of Hugo Chávez. This is often a waste of time for psychiatrists and always a failure for amateurs. While engaged in this nonsense, Bikel and Company misses one of the most obvious things about the man, the color of his skin. The president of Venezuela is a mestizo, unlike any other president in the country’s history. The oligarchy that has ruled until now is mostly as white as the sickly face of Pedro Carmona on the day when he learned that his presidency would be the shortest in history.

The mass media in Venezuela is controlled by the rich white elite. Day after day, it uses racist terms to describe Chávez and others like him. Only one newspaper and the two state-owned TV stations carry the real news of the Chávez government. One private station, RCTV, lost its broadcast license because it stridently aired its support of the 2002 coup while that coup was actually taking place. RCTV is now available only on cable. Frontline provides the sad story of RCTV, but fails to mention its acts of treason.

The majority of the population in Venezuela is of either mestizo or African descent, people who’ve never before had a president who looked remotely like them. They don’t care if he sings, rides a tractor, or talks for hours. They won’t follow him into a dictatorship, but he isn’t headed in that direction. Frontline cleverly implies that he is.

The U.S. corporate media loves to tell us that Venezuela is about to become another Cuba. The Washington Post suffers from delusions unheard of since the yellow journalism of the Spanish-American War era. Chávez admires Fidel Castro because he overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and has now withstood U.S. interference for half a century. But both men know that their respective revolutions are entirely different.

The members of the Bush administration say that Chávez is undemocratic. What comedians they are. Has Venezuela invaded another country, bombed its towns and cities, hanged its president, killed thousands of civilians, and turned millions of others into refugees? Has Chávez denied prisoners of war all rights, allowed them to be tortured, and broken all the customary international agreements about the treatment of POWs?

Chávez has done none of these things. He even pardoned the men who plotted the coup, after which many of them immediately began verbally attacking him again. I could cite many other falsehoods in Bikel’s fairytale, but I’ve said all I can bear.

Chávez wants nothing more than a mixed economy in which the profits from huge industries are used to benefit all citizens, not just the white descendants of European conquerors. The Chávez government pays the owners for any industries it nationalizes. And it has no interest in the Mom and Pop café down the street. Frontline won’t tell you any of this.

But Chávez does want PDVSA, the national oil company, to serve the interests of all Venezuelans, not merely those of the private club that controlled it before the election of Chávez. After the members of that club went on “strike,” Chavez fired them and hired new people. He wants all citizens to join the club.

Is that really too much to ask?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched the show after reading the intro to Irelan's article, but purposely didn't finish, so that I was not influenced one way or another. When I saw that FRONTLINE was doing a documentary on Chavez, I was excited because I thought that, given their long-seanding liberal attitue, there would finally be an even-handed atreatment of HC. I was wrong,Wrong,WRONG, for it really was a hit piece on him. After I watched it I finished the article and it was more honest than FRONTLINE's documentarial. I'm disappointed in the show.