Venezuela and Hugo Chavez’ service as its president are among the most maligned topics in US (and much of European) media. In spite of valiant efforts by solidarity activists to refute the unfounded and shameless accusations hurled at President Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution, it is tough to stay ahead of the endless stream of propaganda spewed by cable news, the LA Times, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, etc. And then, there are those snotty State Department briefings where the reporters are treated with disdain and Venezuela is a perennial punching bag.
I think it’s time to resurrect one of the most powerful antidotes I can think of to counter the poisonous US government and media lies — the brilliant documentary about the 2002 coup in Venezuela, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Two Irish filmmakers were in Venezuela in early 2002 working on a film about President Chavez when the coup began to unfold before their cameras. If it had not been for Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain, we might never have known the depth and breadth of the people’s resistance to the US-backed, elite military coup in which the democratically-elected president, Hugo Chavez, was taken hostage.
If you have not seen this film, I urge you to watch it. If you have seen the film, please share it with someone who has not. Why am I so insistent that people see a film about an unsuccessful coup d’etat in Venezuela that took place five years ago? Because it provides background, context, and information about the Bolivarian revolution that will never break the “fact barrier” at Fox News or much of anywhere else. In addition, the more you know about the Venezuelan coup, the more you will know about US-backed coups that came before and after it.
In 2004, the US pulled off a coup in Haiti that was shockingly similar to the one that occurred in Venezuela just two years before: The democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and his supporters were maligned in the domestic and international press long before the coup unfolded; the number of people said to be in opposition to Aristide was grossly inflated; the US lied to the world when it claimed that Aristide had resigned; and the “government” put it place after the coup would serve only the interests of the US. These were components of the Venezuelan coup as well.
“Soft” coups, as they are known, unfold over a series of months and even years (not like the old days when heads of state were simply assassinated) and involve a variety of US government agencies which funnel money to so-called “opposition groups” to create the impression that there is majority resistance to a leader’s policies. But, like violent coups they often produce deadly results. Upwards of 8,000 people died in Haiti during and after the coup and hundreds of political prisoners thrown in jail in 2004 are still there today.
In the Venezuela coup of 2002, many people died as well. As is so often the case, the US lied and people died.
Finally, this film is an exhilarating tribute to the people of Venezuela whose explosive defense of their president, their constitution and their sovereignty brought Hugo Chavez back to the presidential palace, Miraflores, within 48 hours of the coup. “Uh ah, Chavez no se va!”
The film is 74 minutes long.