VENEZUELA: Wash Post’s Obsession with Chavez

Posted on January 17, 2008

If you are in the mood to submerge yourself in someone else’s hissy fit, check out this week’s Washington Post editorial on Hugo Chavez, Ally to Kidnappers: Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez endorses Colombian groups known for abductions, drug trafficking and mass murder. The subtitle gives you the basic thrust and makes it easy to dispense with the entire editorial in the following paragraph.

The Post condemns Chavez for his suggestion that the guerrilla group FARC in Colombia is not a terrorist organization. The Post calls Chavez an “ally to kidnappers,” though the Venezuelan leader has consistently stated that his involvement in hostage negotiations does not mean he sides with the guerrillas. The Post does not mention that it was the US State Department that put FARC on its terrorist list in 2002 (some 40 years after the group formed). The ‘terrorist’ designation upped US military aid to the Uribe government to over $1 billion annually as part of ‘Plan Colombia,’ and approved US counter-insurgency funding and training. Enough said.

Now, let’s talk about what is important. What’s really going on here? Obviously, these kinds of editorials take up space that could be devoted to topics far more important to the US public: global warming, voting machine fraud, fixing the health care system, racism and its deadly endgame, the failed US education system, the need for a living wage, the military-industrial-prison complex and the ever-growing US “war on terror” which is preventing us from having the money and the wits to do anything about the aforementioned.

Instead the Wash Post editorial staff burns the midnight oil producing one rant after another about Chavez. Shortly after the December 2nd constitutional referendum in Venezuela, the Venezuelan ambassador to the US, Bernardo Alvarez, issued a statement that included the following:

“The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times dedicated over 11,000 words in 14 op-eds or editorials to attacking Venezuela just in the last month. The Miami Herald alone published more than 15 op-eds and editorials in that same period.”

And why such obsession? Is Chavez that fascinating? What these three newspapers and many others are doing is partnering with the US government in destabilizing democratically-elected governments in order to ready the public for some form of US intervention. Period.

In the case of Haiti in 2004, these newspapers convinced us that the highly intelligent and talented president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was a dictator and his followers were chimeres or thug-monsters. Further, these newspapers formed a chorus and pronounced that a groundswell of Haitians forced Aristide to resign and flee the country. The truth is that the US had to kidnap Aristide precisely because there was no groundswell and the 200 Haitian “rebels” who the US equipped and trained for the job couldn’t get near the capital, Port-au-Prince, because they would have been squashed like bugs by Aristide’s supporters.

In the case of the April 2002 coup in Venezuela, these newspapers played a similar role in demonizing Chavez and damning the efforts of the government to bring better health care and education to people who rarely, if ever, had access to such things. Yet, the only thing these newspapers could focus on was Chavez’ relationship with Fidel Castro — “he wants to make Venezuela another Cuba!” Their fictional accounts of events leading up to the coup paved the way for the US to applaud the illegal kidnapping and incarceration of Venezuela’s democratically-elected president and congratulate the illegal seizure of the presidency by businessman, Pedro Carmona.

When newspapers distort facts, malign leaders, and help the US government set coups (and worse) in motion, there are far more casualties than the leaders themselves. It is estimated that in the lead up to the coup and the years since, upwards of 10,000 of Aristide’s supporters were killed largely in an attempt to “make the coup stick” because it never had public support in the first place. When Aristide was kidnapped, over 8,000 Lavalas (Aristide’s political party) officials throughout the country had to go into hiding and, when not done quickly enough, faced incarceration or murder. And for those still alive, progress made by Aristide’s administration came to a halt — children had to drop out of school, vital literacy and many health programs were abandoned, road projects vital to public commerce were abruptly ended, etc. Of course, the international embargo on aid that the US orchestrated in 2000 had already nearly strangled Haiti to death.

During the 2002 coup in Venezuela, several people were gunned down in the street during the “Bridge” incident in which Caracas police sharpshooters set upon Chavez and opposition demonstrators in an attempt to make it look like Chavez supporters were the perpetrators. A private TV station in collusion with the scheme aired footage of the incident later in the day in which they claimed that Chavez supporters were firing on unarmed demonstrators. Chavez supporters did use their guns that day –to fire at the sharpshooters in self-defense. Further, there were no demonstrators in the direction in which the Chavez supporters were firing as the TV station proclaimed. These scenes were shown repeatedly throughout the world and especially in the US to pave the way for acceptance of a coup that came hours later. But, not all the cameras could lie that day when, after Chavez was kidnapped, close to a million of his supporters surrounded the presidential palace, Miraflores, demanding his return. Pedro Carmona and his thugs new the jig was up and ran for their lives out of the palace. Fortunately, Carmona’s “Attorney General” was captured and his proclamation to dissolve the national assembly, supreme court, and the central bank did not come to fruition. Luckily, for Venezuelans, they didn’t lose the admirable gains of the Bolivarian revolution, but it easily could have gone the other way. And, still could. By virtue of the plethora of “trash Chavez” editorials, the US is still trying and President Chavez is wise to warn the world about attempts to kill him and overthrow his government.

In both Haiti, Venezuela and many other countries to come, the pattern is the same. An elite segment of the population collaborates with the United States to “arrange” for the destabilization of countries which is paid for by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED moves in and establishes fake human rights organizations that accuse democratically-elected leaders of “human rights abuses” (it may sound ludicrous, but the US and Canada did this in the case of Haiti and the Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, spent 24 months in prison on such a trumped up charge). In addition, NED establishes NGO’s to organize opposition “support” in which people are often paid to participate. And in lockstep, at every juncture, the US press is there completing the lie, sharpening the knives, and preparing the public for the kill.

What a way to make a living. How do these bastards sleep at night?