Noam Chomsky in Venezuela: 'A better world is being created'

| August 28, 2009
Noam Chomsky in Venezuela: 'A better world is being created'

U.S. author, dissident intellectual, and Professor of Linguistics at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Noam Chomsky met for the first time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and analyzed hemispheric politics during a nationally televised forum on Monday.

Chomsky is well known in Venezuela for his critiques of U.S. imperialism and support for the progressive political changes underway in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in recent years. President Chavez regularly references Chomsky in speeches and makes widely publicized recommendations of Chomsky's 2003 book, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance. 

"Hegemony or survival; we opt for survival," said Chavez in a press conference to welcome Chomsky.  He compared Chomsky's thesis to that of German socialist Rosa Luxemburg in the early 1900s, "Socialism or Barbarism," and referred to Chomsky as "one of the greatest defenders of peace, one of the greatest pioneers of a better world."

Through an interpreter, Chomsky responded, "I write about peace and criticize the barriers to peace; that's easy. What's harder is to create a better world... and what's so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela is that I can see how a better world is being created."

During Monday's forum, which was broadcast on the state television station VTV, Chomsky pointed out that the ongoing coup in Honduras, which began on June 28th, is the third coup the United States has supported in Latin America so far this century, following the coup against Chavez in 2002 and Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

The nearly finalized deal to allow the U.S. to increase its military presence on Colombian bases "is only part of a much broader effort to restore Washington's capacity for intervention," said Chomsky.

According to Chomsky, the region has the capacity to unite and form a "peace zone" in which foreign militaries are forbidden to operate. "Venezuela can help to advance this proposal, but it cannot do it alone," he said.

"The transformations that Venezuela is making toward the creation of another socio-economic model could have a global impact if these projects are successfully carried out," said the renowned author.

Aporrea.org, a popular Venezuelan news and pro-revolution analysis website, described Chomsky as oriented toward "libertarian socialism" and "vehemently anti-Stalinist" in an introduction to a recent interview in which Chomsky said U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy will be similar to that of the second administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Chomsky addressed this issue during Monday's conference as well, commenting that Obama "could have much to offer Latin America if he wanted to, but hasn't given any signals that he does." He cited the U.S.'s indecisive posture toward the coup in Honduras as evidence.

Chomsky also addressed the media and freedom of expression in the U.S. "In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large corporations... and the result is that the financial interests of those groups are always behind the so-called freedom of expression," he said.

Chomsky said the growing disappointment with the Obama administration in the U.S. was predictable because the corporate media marketed Obama's presidential candidacy on the slogan of "Change We Can Believe In" but omitted concrete proposals for effective changes, and the Obama administration has since shown an incapacity to institute such changes.

 

James Suggett is a Melman Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and a writer for venezuelanalysis.com.

This article was originally published at venezuelanalysis.com and is republished with permission.

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Comments

In progressive politics, the enemy of your enemy should not necessarily become your friend.

I cannot understand why many people in the progressive community champion Chavez's Venezuela as an alternative to U.S. imperialism when he merely replaces those ideologies with totalitarianism. Fiery anti-American speeches should not alone ingratiate him with us, not when he has made every effort to secure power for himself and suppress dissent. 

Well said, davidasposted.  Here's a Venezuelan tidbit that seems to have escaped Chomsky's notice.  I hope.

Last Saturday, August 22, there was a march in Caracas against a new education law that would essentially force all schools, public and private, to teach Marxist doctrine ala Cuba.  Thousands of people peacefully marched, young and old.  I even saw a pic of one father carrying his toddler son on his shoulders.  The march had a proper permit and there were no problems, even though they were not allowed, as usual, to march to the National Assembly building, the National Assembly being Venezuela's legislative body.  The police and National Guard were out at dawn setting up barricades across the path of the march.  By mid-afternoon the march had grown to at least 100 thousand people, absolutely non violent.

As those at the front of the march came within half a block of the barricades, tear gas grenades were launched by the National Guard soldiers, and they opened fire on the marchers with rubber bullets.  Of course this ended the march as people ran away.

Later that evening, the National Guard commander who had ordered the gassing and shooting into the crowd appeared on national TV and stated that any demonstration against the Chavez government was the same thing as treason.

The next day, Chavez went on national TV and praised the valor of this brave soldier.  The following Tuesday he had a ceremony and awarded the commander the Libertador medal, Venezuela's highest honor.

For shooting and gassing peaceful demonstrators.

Since last Saturday things have only gotten worse, with the government's head prosecutor threatening prison terms of up to 24 years for any anti-government activity such as demonstrating, speaking, or writing against chavismo.  The man who took out the permit for the march has been arrested and, without public trial or even knowledge of his supposed offense, thrown in Yare prison, one of the country's most notorious.  At least eleven other demonstators are being held without charges.

This is what Noam Chomsky is supporting?  Perhaps he should learn to read Spanish, or at least keep up on the news from there in English like I do. 

Try http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com

Chavez' hero, role model, and mentor is Castro, military dictator of Cuba for over fifty years. The National Guard commander mentioned above, along with many other members of the Venezuelan military, have been trained in Cuba. Also last week, Chavez made a special effort to ensure Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would attend and be an honored guest at a meeting in Venezuela in September.

Venezuelanalysis, BTW, where the Chomsky article above came from, is 100% funded by the Chavez government.

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

What a lot of steaming dung pouring forth from people who think they know something about Chavez' Venezuela, or socialism. All of it direct from the propaganda department of the totalitarian system they don't even acknowledge dominates their land. Chavez is NOT a dictator. That is a very simple, non negotiable fact. He was elected, has been re-elected and after a US sponsored coup, was forcibly put back in power BY THE PEOPLE, in the most singular example of pure people power in modern history.

 

Despite asking for the removal of term limits, something MANY Venezuelans would welcome in his case; the idea was rejected and he is expected to stand down when his term is up. He has kept his word on every other thing he has said, so the idea that anybody from any of our corrupted, sad "Dumbocracies" where a politician's word isn't worth crap, would try to scoff at that, is also absurd. When was the last time you got a referendum about a serious issue and had your president accept the result? It happens regularly in Venezuela now, and can happen at the people’s request. Have you got that right have you sunshiny ones? Have any of us? Except Switzerland, NO!

 

I joined this site, because I felt that the level of pure unadulterated ignorance being spouted was simply too much to ignore with a few words in response. You yanks who quiver in your beds, at the thought of socialism, because your dumbed down education system never got far enough to teach you the many different forms of political system, you think that equates to communism, which could not be further from the truth. MY country is under socialist government and so too are many European countries now and at other times. ONLY in the USA can people not hear Socialism without hearing Communism, and they can hear neither without thinking dictatorships. The following may serve as a learning aid, to any who can read that many words. I will not be following up, I have far too much experience of jousting with clowns to want to start in this circus.


The US alone endangers global stability, world peace and the planet's survival. It alone wages permanent war, targets peaceful nations, and claims a unilateral right to use first strike nuclear weapons pre-emptively. It also has over 800 military bases (perhaps 1000 or more with secret ones) in 130 or more countries, hundreds more at home, and still more troops deployed in other countries throughout the world. It further spends more on its military than all other nations combined. It uses it aggressively, supports Israeli repression against Palestinians, assassinates foreign leaders, installs more "friendly" ones, and backs despots like Colombia's Uribe, Egypt's Mubarak, the Saudi royal family, Mexico's Calderon, and various installed stooges like Afghanistan's Karzai and Iraq's al-Maliki.
 
America ranks lowest on peace. It keeps sinking lower. It alone threatens planetary survival.
 
Under Chavez in contrast, Venezuela's record is envious. It embraces its neighbours, offers no-strings aid, and engages in mutually beneficial trade, political relations, and other alliances; it also:
 
-- assassinates no other leaders;
 
-- doesn't seek regime changes abroad;
 
-- has no nuclear weapons and seeks none; and
 
-- spends less than one-half of one percent of the Pentagon's (grossly understated) military budget (around $1 to $2 billion) and less half of that, in fact, of America's total defence spending - in FY 2008: a conservatively estimated $1.1 trillion with all military, homeland security, veterans, NASA, debt service and miscellaneous related allocations included; according to Chalmers Johnson, it's not only "morally obscene," it's "fiscally unsustainable" and is heading the nation for probable "insolvency and (the world for) a long depression," or potentially worse.
 
-- In addition, Venezuela doesn't export weapons to neighbours or incite conflict; in contrast, America is the world's leading arms and munitions supplier by far - and to many belligerent states with disturbing records of using them internally and/or against neighbours; Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Israel to cite five;
 
-- Chavez is socially responsible at home; -- doesn't practice torture;
 
-- has no secret prisons;
 
-- threatens no other nation; -- wages no wars;
 
-- is a model democracy;
 
-- governs peacefully; -- supports human rights and social justice; -- affirms free speech; -- bans discrimination; and
 
-- uses his resources responsibly - for his people, yet is friendly to business as well. He's earned world class stature and immense popularity at home as a result. Under George Bush in contrast, America was feared and hated worldwide and despite an initial hope of change, Obama is quickly being recognised as what he is, more of the same.. Growing numbers don't trust him at home either, and it shows in his polls.

Instead of spewing venom and hatred back at me, for I will be long gone, I suggest you geniuses do a bit of research, and see if anything I have written here is false. I can humbly promise you, it is, every last detail.

Methinks you yanks would do better to look more closely at your own president, if you worry about Communism, and then you might want to consider the usual suspects, "they who must not be named" who control the USA through lobby and media ownership, because they tend to end up bring about the destruction and descent into communism as they pull out the last of their chips as a rule too, and it looks a bit like they might be planning to up anchor again about now. I see a lot of them in China these days, carefully shoring up old and new alliances and making a bed for themselves to retire to as the old host is left to die. China was never a Communist country at heart and I predict that creed will gradually disappear, probably fairly bloodlessly over the next decade or two. I sometimes wonder if China might not have been almost been kept in cold storage, against the day they were wanted as a new host.

 

One thing is certain, I think. The USA is not going to solve its problems by making more wars, not even closer to home this time. They have been trying that approach now for more than sixty years and it doesn’t seem to be working out so well for you, now does it? Why not pull your troops home and stop with the 800 bases and the endless threats and intimidation, and see if the world doesn’t soon start liking you again, and if that in itself doesn’t lead to an economic upswing? The day when the USA had any example for anybody else is long past and you need to wake up to that. Chavez makes all of our leaders look like crap, and what he is doing in Venezuela is a light in a long dark tunnel for humanity, PLEASE stop trying to snuff out that tiny light!

 

Well, rabbitnexus, you would best be gone because you are wrong on all counts, starting with term limits.  The constitutional amendment passed in February and you can count on it that Hugo will not be stepping down voluntarily.

He also sent tanks to the Colombian border 18 months ago, and threatened war with Colombia again last week.  Plus he paid to have ballots printed up and sent to Honduras a couple of months ago to try to get a constitutional change there too, so Zelaya could run indefinitely.  THAT is why Zelaya was deposed, for attempting to force an unconstitutional (Chavez financed) referendum against the will of the legislative and judicial branches.  They are who sent the military to arrest Zelaya and escort him out of the country.  Zelaya's vice president is the interim president until the regular scheduled elections in November.  But I digress.

Yes, Chavez' goons torture.  He also supports the Colombian FARC terrorists/drug cartel and most of their coke goes through Venezuela.  Those who follow the news might have seen that Swedish anti-tank guns sold to Venezuela mysteriously ended up in FARC hands a few weeks back.  Wonder how that happened?

The oil money is running low, though, so the freebies from Hugo are getting few and far between.  We'll find out pretty soon if he has any real friends.  I sorta doubt it; he's not a very lovable guy.

Other readers may note that this long-gone poster didn't address any of the points I brought up about the events of this past week, which are all quite true and can be found in any South American newspaper and many S Am web sites, as well as some N Am and Euro sites and papers. 

You probably won't find much mention of the gassing and shooting of peaceful marchers, or the hero medal for the commander, or the imprisonment of the fellow who took out the march permit, at Venezuelanalysis, them being a bought and paid for propaganda arm.

I left a good link above for those interested in news instead of frothing at the mouth rants.

I happen to live in Venezuela, BTW, and have for years.  My politics would best be described as anarchist.  I don't like government thieves and bullies no matter what ideology they are trying to force on me or hide behind.

You can also stop putting crap on Castro and Cuba. Being Americans you see them as bad, because you mistaklenly see yourselves as the good guys. The fact it was NOT your country and YOUR country was never under any threat, it was just more of your greed and national arrogance expressing itself. Many people the world over, and that also includes many Americans recognise Cuba and Castro as the good guys in the dispute, and you, the USA, the ETERNAL aggressor, as the bad guys.

 

I see how terribly you needed to destroy Vietnam eh? After killing millions, devastating the land for generations, and finally losing and running, Vietnam did not signal the "expansion" of communism across Asia, supposedly even Oz was in "danger". BULL! Colonialists ALWAYS have seemingly rational, TO THEM, excuses for their oppression. It isn't hard. If your country is fighting in ANY other country, for any other reason, than that country launched an aggression against you, then YOU are the aggressor. With one notable exception and with some allowance, since the USA had already instigated a blockade against Japan, an act of war), Pearl Harbor was the last time the USA was subject to such an aggression. That exception was the deliberate and cowardly Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. That was of course swept under the carpet and has been ever since, giving some indication of the power of the Israeli lobby in the USA. The truth is not deniable, unless you call the entire surviving crew for anti-semites (which is of course done and that includes Jewish crew members), it means calling the captain and the investigating officers and several CIA people AND at least one of the Israeli pilots involved, for liars also.. 

Which is of course done, because there simply is no other way to maintain such a lie. The "big lie" as it is called is popularly atributed to Hitler, from his book. However what is rarely mentioned, is that he was referring to "they who must not be named" and stating that it is THEIR way of doing things. The USS Liberty incident is just one such instance and many smaller ones come to mind, such as the so called "Lavon Affair".

Americans are the proudest people on earth, yet these days they have the least reason of anybody. Financialy on the brink of doom, owned by countries they hate and look down on, militarily stymied on every front, against seemingly vastly smaller forces and a political system which it is gradually dawning on even the average Joe, is totally independent of him and most average Americans and their interests. You are universally seen as completely under the control of a nasty little country which has zero concern for ANY of the vaunted rights and freedoms that most Americans associate with their country and that control is unshakeable evidently, despite it leading to worse and worse serious harm to US interests. you even shell out millions of dollars a day to them and hand over your best technology and military hardware, often for free. Just try and bleat that the USA is not controlled by Israel, it is always amusing to see denial against impossible odds.

Venezuela is a country which seeks to forge a future for its people, the majority of them and on an equal footing. That means euql in rights and that includes having a say in how their country is run. Sure a minority of those who stand to lose by such re-distribution hate it and they are making a lot of noise and stirring up a lot of trouble, and this leads to street protests and this leads to police violence and arrests. However, the disturbances include shootings, looting, bombings and violent mob attacks on police and counter demonstrators. THIS is the movement being supported by the USA, and there is no point in denying it. It is notable however, if you follow the proceedings, that Chavez has intervened for leniency in judicial proceedings agionst people who frankly should have been imprisoned for life, and would have been in the USA in the same circumstances. Venezuela is not the enemy of the USA, though many forces want to make it so. Chavez ensures cheap heating oil to poor Americans your own government and system cannot or do not help. That may seem like him propagandising to you, but the heat is no less real for those people who need it. It is also perfectly consistent with the socialist agenda, which weird and threatening as this always sounds to brainwashed American sheep, is a good and very human thing. It doesn;t deny the rights of people to enrich themselves, it simply ensures that the strong do not enrich themselves at the expense of the weak.

Indeed such a system may eliminate mega billionaires and the very richest, but we have ample history behind us to argue that this is a very good outcome. NO man's grasp should ever equal his reach, least of all a megalomaniac's.

Hey, rabbitnexus, you ever been to Venezuela?  Ever read the newspapers from there?  Speak or read Spanish? Ever been to South America?

Let me guess: Your entire knowledge of Venezuela and Cuba comes from watching a couple of videos, those being The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and  The Power of Community.  Did I guess right?

Well anyway, I'm talkng about what's going down in the country right now, not some fantasy world of Robin Hood Chavez taking from the evil oligarchs to share with his poor, oppressed  but beloved brethren.

Did you read my post?  The Head Prosecutor of Venezuela went on record THIS WEEK saying that demonstrating, speaking, broadcasting, or writing against the government could bring jail sentences of up to 24 years.  And Chavez gave the country's highest medal to a National Guard commander who gassed and opened fire on peacful marchers, marching to voice their opposition to an EDUCATION BILL. Yes, you read that right, and it is in the papers and on TV too.  Right here in Robin Hood land.  This week. Lots more neat stuff like that going on too.

So can we perhaps talk about the subjects at hand?

As for Cuba, there seem to be a lot more people interested in emigrating from there than immigrating to that paradise.  What's with that?

Sure Astera, I have seen you around and know exactly what you are for a shill. What makes you think I have not spent time in Venezuela? If you really are, then you are amongst the right wing terrorists, and everything I wrote was accurate to the detail.

You talk like nothing less than an American agent a traitor of Venezuela precisely because you would deny those facts above. You claim you live in Venezuela and yet you actually claim Chavez is a dictator? You're a joke and although I wish I hadn't replied to you, and only did so since I was still posting, the fact you are completely full of bull, shall be laid squarely on that fact, above others.

He is not a dictator, that is purest propaganda for the very reasons I have stated and for you to argue otherwise only proves you have an agenda built on deceit. Sure there are plenty of accusations but no substance to any of it. You clowns are only squawking at each other, chocking up each others' fantasies, meanwhile reality has lone since left you behind. Your star is fading, and sure you don't like it, but fair's fair, you useless sheep have allowed the wolves to dine too long on the weak, just because in your deluded minds you can maybe one day sit at the table with them.

You are being gutted now, from millionaires on down, the entire middle class is being eliminated by the Banksters in case you hadn't noticed, which I do know you haven't. You think this is a little recession, that everything will bounce back to what it was like before, endless sunshine credit and never have to pay the piper. The bad news is that the piper is at the door. The world has chosen to eliminate the USA, financially rather than allow you to encroach anymore upon our freedom and our REAL and evolving democracies or whatever system of government, WE choose for ourselves.

 

Astera you're a common shill and I reject your empty claim that all I wrote was wrong, and reply that your claims are all false propaganda. Given the fact that the entire world, every country virtually is suffering a severe recession, better termed a global depression) right now, makes a mockery of your empty peeping about how Chavez is going to be in trouble now that oil revenue is dropping. Can we laugh now? You joke! Even Wiki, a Zionist shill site, makes clear the reasons for Venezuela's dropping income is NOT Chavez' fault and with the better educated population he is producing, I epxect the average venezuelan is capable of realising that. Yes sonny, let's see how that pans out for him. I wouldn;t hold my breath for it being the answer to your faction getting a leg up again. After all, it is precisely the bankers FROM YOUR faction, who are responsible for the GLOBAL financial crisis. Mwa ha ha. AND the increasingly educated people KNOW THIS.

Blaiming Chavez for the economy, which is still vastly better than the USA's, is almost as silly blaming Obama, OR Bush for the US economy. Sure they contributed, but in fact the problem was way outside their control, given they are themselves controlled, by the same people, the very same Banksters.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez

Given the Zionist bias of Wiki, and it certainly lists all the unsubstantiated accusations against the man; Wiki does not use the word dictator at all.

 

Oh Astera, the smell of spurious assertions in the afternoon.  Cool  You make a whole bunch of assumptions about me, after having made nothing but some false assertions about things which anybody can easily establish are false, from information I have already given, and now working on that presumption, you are already way ahead of me in a stupid flaming match you think you can create to hide the truth.

Just to keep you guessing, I shall not even tell you what my experience of Venezuela is, because it makes it easier to prove you're a lying shill yourself. I can assure you your assertions so far are wide of the mark. Merely by proving you are full of bulldust, yourself regarding Venezuela, a country you claim to be from, I easily show you to be either a traitor, in which case you put the lie yourself, by committing treason and obviously without fear of any repression, or you are a lying US agent. I know your monkia and opt for the latter.

If you have dreams of engaging me in debate, mousy, then I'd suggest you study this site, regarding Logical Fallacies, because I do not tolerate them. 

unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/fallacies.html

So far you have indulged in several. Beggining with, Slippery slope, Weak analog, Appeal to authority, (presumably your own),Ad hominem and Begging the question. In addition your entire argument is one of a False dichotomy, since you conflate competing ideologies in order to beg the question of Chavez' role and the meaning of those ideologies. Not to mention the petty effort to raise a false dichotomy around the venezuelen economy. I guess they'll have to sttart cutting back on charity for the USA, if they are getting short of cash eh?  LOL

 

By the way, your silly question about Cuba, tends to suggest you are not from South America anyway. Otherwise I presume you would understand that Cuba is subject to inhuman sanctions, and has been for a long time now. The hypocrisy of destroying a nation's economy, and then pointing the finger at the people because they have it hard, is a particulary obnoxious and disgusting habit of USAns as a rule. Despite that, I'd rather go to hospital in Cuba than the USA, clown.

 

rabbitnexus, you lost respect and credibility with ad hominem attacks in your first post and continue to do so.

The events of August 22 are quite easy to verify, as is the fact of Chavez awarding the Libertador medal a few days later to the NG commander who ordered the gassing and shooting.

I already gave you a link that links to many other news sources to corroborate those facts.  You can also easily find your own with a web search.

I'm not here to discuss ideology, but rather current events, which you are apparently not aware of.

It's interesting that you seem to agree that anyone who doesn't support the currently elected goverment in Venezuela is a traitor.  Do you feel the same way about anyone who doesn't support the currently elected government of your country?

So, current events, easily verified, no 'spurious assertions': 

What do you think about the Guardia Nacional opening fire on and gassing non-violent marchers who were protesting an education bill in Caracas on Saturday August 22 2009?

What do you think about Richard Blanco, the Prefecto of the Caracas Metropolitan Mayor's office, being jailed in Yare  prison under a charge of "damaging the barriers" that the police set up to contain the march?  Is this OK by you? 

What do you think about Attorney General Luisa Ortega's statement last Friday on her radio program that the prosecutor's office will open proceedings against all those who "protest for any reason" because they "only seek to destabilize the elected government" and that they should know "what are now the consequences"?

You can either get up to date on current events, or I will ignore you from here on out.  The subject is not capitalism vs socialism, or how much you love Hugo.  The subjects of discussion are above, as clearly stated in my first post.

Do you support the actions of the Guardia Nacional and the statements of AG Luisa Ortega, and the awarding of the Libertador medal to GN Commander Benavides for opening fire on the marchers?

Si o no?

aside from all the arguments here,

just wanted to say that a friend of mine worked in Venezuela for a bit, and thought it was interesting that Chavez set up a system where neighbourhoods gathered - of 500 people for each grouping- and were given a budget and power to make decisions. 

i like this idea because it is a more manageable number of people than current large municipalities.  you can fit 500 people into a very large barn.  it has the potential, given proper small group work, to be a useful kind of organizational base.  maybe not as ideal as freely associating affinity groups, but then affinity groups can be rather insular. 

just thinking out loud.

@thanks-

You will find no argument from me against the theory of local communities making their own decisions and administering themselves.  Unfortunately that is not what happened in Venezuela.

These local groups were all decreed by centralized power, funded by centralized power, and their leaders chosen by the same power.  No one who was not a full supporter of the Chavez regime was or is welcome or allowed a voice.

So the theory is sound, but the application doesn't pass the smell test.  That statement applies to all of the "good ideas" that have been proposed but poorly implemented over the past 11 years that Chavez has been in power. Most have disappeared, for instance the barrio al dentro medical clinics, the workers cooperatives, and the education misiones.  The money to fund them was stolen for the most part and ended up in the pockets of those who were put in positions of trust.  The real purpose behind them was propaganda, and once the propaganda purpose had been met they were forgotten.   Ideology is what politicians hide beind, not necessarily what they believe or practice.  The overriding goal of narcissists and sociopaths in power is to remain in power, regardless of the facade of Marxism, capitalism, or populism.

Communities should govern themselves, and the decisions they make should go from the individual to the family to the neighborhood and on up, not from the top down.  A facade of populism won't work, not when it's all a propaganda stunt from which funding will be removed if the wishes of those in power are not implemented.

Worth a mention here is that last week Chavez "nationalized" the Hilton Hotel on Margarita island, where he recently held a conference featuring such bastions of freedom as Moammar Qaddafi and Robert Mugabe.  Seems he didn't like the bill the hotel sent, so he took the hotel.

I don't make any of this stuff up.

it seems the people keep supporting him though, in spite of all kinds of opposition from the US and wealthy sectors. 

i never liked the communist rhetoric he used. 

and there are all these arguments tossed around, so that people don't know what to believe.  but if he keeps getting referendums on his side, or not and abides by that...it's the actions that speak loudest.  guess people have to dig around in various news media and see the different sides, and ask questions of people who have been there.

In the last elections for big city mayors and governors, the government decided who could run for office.  They disqualified any opposition candidates they wished not to see run.  At the same time, the entire budget and propaganda/campaigns for chavista candidates were paid for with government money, none going to any oppo candidates.  The government controls or owns all broadcast television and most radio in the country. A few months ago over thirty privately owned radio stations were shut down because they carried a program critical of Chavez. Ads for chavista candidates must be run for free, oppo candidates must pay, if, that is, they are even allowed to broadcast their campaign messages.  At any time, Chavez can and does take over all broadcast media to "address the nation" for five or six hours, preempting all scheduled programs and paying advertisers.  The voting is done on government owned and programmed voting machines.  Buying votes and manipulation of poll results is rampant; all vote bribes are paid out of government funds.  Each voter must give their fingerprint when voting, and this can and has been used as a threat against any government employee voting against the party.  Government employees are also ordered to campaign and demonstrate in favor of the party, with or without pay, under threat of losing their jobs.

And that's how they achieve the so-called majority support.

how do you know all these details?

I read several Venezuelan blogs that are written in English. Two good places to start are:

http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com

http://devilsexcrement.com

Both sites have links to many other sites with info on Venezuela, both pro- and anti-Chavez.

Both are written from a strongly progressive liberal point of view, but I wouldn't take anything they write as gospel. Every claim needs to be fact-checked where possible.  Somewhat humorously, they are as clueless about actual events in the US and Canada as the average North American is about events in Venezuela, but they do have their ear to the ground in their own country.

nice solid sources

"how do you know all these details?"

 

He does not. No TV stations have been shut down:

 

Please take your time to read the facts:

 

http://www.venezlon.co.uk/pdf/fc_closure_radios.pdf

Beware of the alle neoconl imposters out there.
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