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Swiftboat on the Rocks: the failed smearing of Hugo Chavez

By       Message Elizabeth Ferrari       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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By now, the American public knows that Hugo Chavez is a dictator, that he suppresses free speech and that he shoots college students that dare to protest against his regime. We know that the constitutional reforms sponsored by his party are up for a vote on December 2 and we know they will destroy Venezuela.

We know that, don’t we – because our most respected media outlets say so.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have all issued dire predictions about the reforms now being debated in Venezuela. Who can we trust if not our most reliable media outlets -- who did such an outstanding job of informing us, for example, on the immanent threat posed by Iraq?

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We can trust them because they have misrepresented the constitutional reforms up for a vote in Venezuela, because they have misrepresented the protests there and because they persist in their misrepresentations even when solid reporting proves them not only wrong, but willfully wrong as the evidence of the inaccuracies of their “reporting” are posted to the net, let alone, admitted in print. In other words, we can trust them to be inaccurate with a great deal of consistency

It is a measure of Mr. Chavez’s success and of his popularity in Venezuela that the corporate press is out, full court press, against him ahead of the December 2 vote. And no surprise to those of us who have been tracking the American destabilization of democracy in Latin America. The obvious misinformation is saddening but not surprising. John Pilger must have a few, terse words for this campaign against the people of Venezuela.

One might go to Axis of Logic, for example, to find a very different account of the “student protests” of last week. It turns the U.S. corporate media reporting on its head – with photos and video and will never be seen on our television broadcasts.

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Mr Chavez, on behalf of thinking people in the United States, I want to apologize to you for these attacks on your government. My people are stressed out over this economy and traumatized from all these years of an Executive out of control. Our “president” has been killing and torturing and cutting the budget for social programs and giving his cronies tax cuts when he takes a break from invading innocent nations. Please forgive us if we are a little slow. We are just trying to survive here. When you know that your “leader” is a torturer, it must have an effect on your political involvement.

I wish we had a president that had been elected even once as you have been. I wish, that in this country, college students were allowed to demonstrate freely as they are in Venezuela instead of being caged into Orwellian “free speech” zones. And I wish that, as a nation, we could debate legislation as your government has enabled that debate in Venezuela.

Many of us understand what a threat your government is to the multinationals and to their cronies and to the structures of our government that depend on them. And, we wish you great good luck in that struggle because it is our struggle, too. Here in the United States, we are struggling for jobs, for health care, for privacy, for basic human rights.

This is a terrible time for us, here. And you and the other progressive leaders of Latin America give us hope that the vampires of this world have met their match. Because it takes more than cash and a co-dependent media to destroy the people’s sincere dedication to making life better for the next generation and not to fall for accusations that a child could disprove.

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Andale, Senor Presidente. For my sons and for my nieces, for my homeless neighbors here in this wealthy city, for our veterans returning from Iraq to neglect and disregard. Andale.



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Elizabeth Ferrari is a San Francisco author and activist.

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