Monday, November 19, 2007

Chavistas: Reporters Without Borders 'Working for US intelligence, Organizing Coup'

Hugo Chávez now controls a score of radio stations, the sole telecommunications operator (CANTV), the main national daily (Ultimas Noticias), and about 60 local newspapers. All radio and television stations are obliged to broadcast his speeches without interruption. Chávez has invoked this fiat 1,500 times since 1999, for a total of more than 900 broadcast hours. Add to that roughly 1,000 hours of his Sunday programme (record to date: a monologue lasting 7 hours and 43 minutes).

Reporters Without Borders asserts: "Rarely has a president posed so many obstacles to free expression in such a short space of time. President Chávez has used the abortive coup against him of April 2002 - which, it is true, some media supported - as grounds not only for silencing critical and dissident media but also for gradually eliminating all forms of checks and balances and democratic opposition, especially the press.”

"In all of these matters, Reporters Without Borders’ offers of dialogue 'met with the grotesque and baseless claim that our organisation was working for US intelligence and was trying to organise a new coup.' "

Canada has it bad. It's downright unhealthy. But Venezuela is worse, and getting worse still.

UPDATE: The French "left" press isn't fooled by this caudillo: "One thing is rather surprising in the French press: the left and center left are the most vocal critics of Chavez. Liberation, a rational left newspaper, akin to the Guardian of London, was the first newspaper consistently criticizing Chavez. Le Monde, the reference newspaper of France and of a large part of the world started later but has been as much anti Chavez as one could expect. Yet, Le Figaro, the center right paper, to this day is still to write a strong anti Chavez piece."

UPDATE II: Chavez has ordered Venezuela's state prosecutor to investigate CNN on charges of instigating a murder plot against him and engaging in "psychological warfare."


Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Canada has it bad. It's downright unhealthy. But Venezuela is worse, and getting worse still.

Two other even worse cases of note: Bilal Hussein and all of Pakistan.

By the way, I'm not sure if you recently modified your comment page template, but the top few lines ("Show Original Post") run over the first comment, at least in Firefox.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm since all the prime Hollywood useful idiots have paid visits to L'oncle Hugo for a photo op, must be time for Jack Layton to pop down for a chat and encourage Canadian snow birds to visit and support the great socialist cause.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

DPU: Yes, Pakistan is worse. So is North Korea, Burma, Cuba, Iran. . .

(By the way, I don't know how to fix the template to stop the top comment lines running over. Stumped.)

9:10 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

By the way, I don't know how to fix the template to stop the top comment lines running over. Stumped.

Have you made any template changes recently? I'm looking at the source for the page, but don't see the problem yet.

9:30 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Weird. I compared the code for your comment section and mine, which works correctly, and there are no significant differences that would cause this.

Has the template for the main blog changed recently? I seem to recall noticing that the column width increased a while back.

9:34 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Aha. It's due to the length of your blog post titles. The position of the first comment is fixed, so if the title is long enough to go to three lines, it pushes stuff down over the first comment.

Keep 'em short, word-boy, and that'll fix the problem :)

9:49 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

but i like big headlines.

er, reubenesque headlines.

10:45 AM  
Blogger kurt said...

Chavez has lost it. People are losing confidence and leaving Venezuela. Even those with no money.

10:18 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

I guess the right-wing newspapers are quiet for a simple reason. Chavez provides material damaging the left cause so consistently that the rightists could just sit back and relax with satisfaction. Unfortunately.

8:26 AM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

Ha HA Ha
no solidarity with the people of Venezuela,Terry...
Where's your outrage at the US meddling and their support for the attempted coup(more than once) against a democratically elected government.You do know coup's are the anti-thesis of democracy.
How dare Chavez be distrustful of the US right,must be "paranoia" ?
You do know the vast majority of the people in Venezuela voted for and elected Chavez more than once.You do realize the majority support Chavez.And that every major change made to the constitution were put before the people in the form of referendums.You know real democracy !You also know that international observers found the elections to be run openly and that they met every criteria of free and fair.You also must know,that even in some Western democracies there are no limits on how many times a person can run for the top office.
So tell me exactly what is your beef?
But don't worry Terry I am sure the people of Venezuela know what's in their best interest.In fact most would probably scratch their heads when trying to figure out what exactly your point is.Democracy is healthier today in Venezuela today than at any time in its past.
So please spare us the self righteous indignation

4:21 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"So tell me exactly what is your beef?"

Dirk: You should really think just the tiniest but before you go off your rocker like that.

My "beef"?

Read the post. Click the link to which it refers, and there you will find a statement, issued the same day that I linked to it, from Reporters Without Borders, an orgnization that I have long supported, as a working journalist.

If you do not find the developments in Venezuela cited by RSF/RWB even the slightest bit disturbing, that's your business. I do find these developments gravely disturbing.

Go and lecture someone else.

11:29 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

So let me get this straight you actually believe Chavez is a threat to freedom of the press or democracy.
But first Terry you have to look at things in context where was all the concern about the Venezuela media before Chavez.
It was the furthest thing from fair or balanced.The airwaves are public and governments do have a right to license.There are only so many frequencies/channels.Chavez made space for other view points other than just that of the elites and corporate media.
I did not go off my rocker,in fact I found your post rather naive,& disappointing.You obviously did not research the actual situation in Venezuela before you repeated the easily refuted "criticisms" of RWB.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is that Venz society is extremely polarized.The so called opposition is not the freedom democratic loving victims as they and the US/Western media claim.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"So let me get this straight you actually believe Chavez is a threat to freedom of the press or democracy."

Dirk: Again, read the post before you start ranting at me.

I support RSF in this. I trust the RSF in this. Their allegations are verifiable. They are not even being denied by the Chavistas. Instead, the Chavistas are claiming RSF is a front for the CIA and is plotting a coup.

"But first Terry you have to look at things in context where was all the concern about the Venezuela media before Chavez."

No, actually I don't. If you want to go searching for excuses for and apologizing for and arguing bogus "context" for the trampling of free-press rights in Venezuela today, then you're welcome to. I'm more concerned about press freedom in Venezuela. That's why I posted on this.

But you subject yourself to ridicule by arguing that this is simply a matter of there being only so much airwave frequency space to go around - even Chavez haven't embarassed themselves by trying to make that case, so not only do you make an utterly outrageous statement, you display a bottomless depth of naivete - and yet you now say "I found your post rather naive,& disappointing."

First, it's more than odd that in both your screeds you haven't been able to explain what you object to in the content of the post, exactly, and instead resort to hyperbole and ranting about the evil U.S. empire.

Again, Dirk, read the post. I merely summarized and linked to the RSF letter. If you insist on claiming that RSF's concern for media workers in Venezuela its observations about the suppression of the media in Venezuela are "naive" - but for some reason we should take some guy named Dirk Buchholz seriously on the subject - go right ahead.

But I'm going to defer to RSF on the matter, thanks, not Dirk Buchholz.

Those links of yours don't go anywhere, but that's okay too. Somehow I doubt that ZMag or Common Dreams will have anything more authoritive on the subject of press freedom in Venezuela than RSF.

But thanks to you, i will be paying closer attention to poor old Hugo, to whose defence you have so madly rushed.

12:30 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

wow your arrogance know now bounds.
..."but for some reason we should take some guy named Dirk Buchholz seriously on the subject - go right ahead"...
Read what I said Terry,you know thats not what I said or implied
I deferred to the people of Venezuela,I trust the judgment of the people,and the people of Venezuela support Chavez.
Reporters w Borders are not the absolute authority on freedom of the press,please...
Reality is the final arbiter,like I said check around,the media in Venseuela is not in anyway censored.
Like what the fuck Terry does history or facts even matter to you anymore.Its quit telling though you seem to ignore everything Chavez has done and the support he gets,you fail to understand how polarized that country is.You chose to focus on something that is not even a real issue.
For sure Chavez is not infallible and on some issues criticism is justified.But over all Chavez is the best option for his country at this time,more importantly the ordinary people believe so.In fact the continually re-elect the guy.So your opinion or that of RWB or any number of western media outlets etc etc matters in the least.
Check out the links(though I have noticed you seem to dismiss info or facts based on the messenger i.e Z Net Chomsky etc )I provided they will lead you to reams of info on the current situation.
Or is RWB the only authority on media issues?
One other thing I have to ask where is your concern for US meddling in the region,or does that even exist for you.Where is your outrage over the coup?
Would you concede Chavez is justified in his skepticism and lack of trust in western countries particularly the US ?

1:09 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...


At last we agree on something.

This is about something you don't understand.

I'm not interested in expressing outrage at the attempted coup to oust Chavez, or the attempted coup Chavez mounted in an attempt to gain power a few years earlier. I'm concerned about what's happening now, and you make a complete fool of yourself accusing me of arrogance and then showing up here proposing to cross-examine me about matters irrelevant to the original post.

"You chose to focus on something that is not even a real issue."

That's pathetic, but if you don't think the trampling of press freedom in Venezuela is an issue, that's your business. I do think it's an issue, and so does RSF, and so does the Committee to Protect Journalists, and so does the Inter-American Press Association, and so does the Index on Censorship.

If what Chavez is doing isn't an "issue" for you, fine. Just don't let me ever hear you complaining about corporate concentration of the media in Canada. And with this: "they continually re-elect the guy." Fine, too. Canadians continually re-elect Conservatives and Liberals; don't let me ever hear you complain about the government in Canada, then.

Do yourself a favour, Dirk. Do some reading and a little bit of thinking before you post your delerium here. You're embarrassing yourself.

Do yourself another favour: Don't read my latest post on Chavez. You'll burst a bloodvessel.

2:09 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

Terry said..."Do yourself another favour: Don't read my latest post on Chavez. You'll burst a bloodvessel"..

Don't flatter yourself Terry,your half truths and generalized trivia mostly causes me to chuckle.
But regardless,the bottom line is Chavez was democratically elected and he has the peoples support.And that's the crux of the matter
Watch Venezuela media and then tell me its censored in favor of Chavez.I have a few friends that speak Spanish,trust me Chavez does not get a free ride,in fact 80% of the media outlets are run by the so called opposition.That lovely "freedom/democratic" loving group who just wants to be "free".
You do know the coup attempted by Chavez was in response to, the shooting down of thousands of workers etc in the streets,back in the mid-80's.I believe the government was made up of the same "democrats" that led the attempted coup against Chavez.
But regardless,what you or any number of "Western"writers/journalists have to say,matters in the least.
Chavez does,you write about people who do.Or signing ridiculous little "manifestos" such as the EM that has as much chance at changing anything as a fart in the wind.While ridiculing anyone who actually participates in the on going struggles to make this world a better place.But never a peep when the West fucks up,that would be anti-americanism right...

2:01 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"But regardless,the bottom line is Chavez was democratically elected and he has the peoples support. And that's the crux of the matter."

Same goes for Stephen Harper. Nice work, comrade.

Now would you please go away and insult someone else' intelligence? This isn't Tyee comments.

3:12 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

Like it or not Terry Chavez has real support everything he has done was done democratically with the full participation of the citizenry.Your Harper remark is apples and oranges
Insulting people intelligence? well here is Zizek(of whom I am also a fan),on Chavez(I believe you linked to the same article a while back_...
..."It is striking that the course on which Hugo Chávez has embarked since 2006 is the exact opposite of the one chosen by the postmodern Left: far from resisting state power, he grabbed it (first by an attempted coup, then democratically), ruthlessly using the Venezuelan state apparatuses to promote his goals. Furthermore, he is militarising the barrios, and organising the training of armed units there. And, the ultimate scare: now that he is feeling the economic effects of capital’s ‘resistance’ to his rule (temporary shortages of some goods in the state-subsidised supermarkets), he has announced plans to consolidate the 24 parties that support him into a single party. Even some of his allies are sceptical about this move: will it come at the expense of the popular movements that have given the Venezuelan revolution its élan? However, this choice, though risky, should be fully endorsed: the task is to make the new party function not as a typical state socialist (or Peronist) party, but as a vehicle for the mobilisation of new forms of politics (like the grass roots slum committees). What should we say to someone like Chávez? ‘No, do not grab state power, just withdraw, leave the state and the current situation in place’? Chávez is often dismissed as a clown – but wouldn’t such a withdrawal just reduce him to a version of Subcomandante Marcos, whom many Mexican leftists now refer to as ‘Subcomediante Marcos’? Today, it is the great capitalists – Bill Gates, corporate polluters, fox hunters – who ‘resist’ the state"...

and more on the Media in Venezuela,

6:51 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Dirk: If you had bothered to read the post in the first place, you might have noticed that it had absolutely nothing to do with any of Chavistas' political reforms, for or against. Regardless of any progressive aspects of the Bolivarian agenda, which I might otherwise support, I am disgusted with Chavez' increasing restrictions on the press, and I consider Chavez a demagogue and a head case.

See updated post.

8:08 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

So if I understand Zizek / Dirk et al. the next time my local co-op doesn't stock marmite I just have to consolidate 24 political parties into one?

Seriously, if Chavez doesn't win the weekend's refendum he'll say he has, not unlike the Pakistani president-general for life has. They're all cut of the same cloth.

It's all about power, the ultimate kind. Chavez hasn't solved the fundamental problems: official corruption is rife, crime and narcotics abuse is an epidemic, pollution is rampant (try taking a breath of air in Caracas) and the people are disillusioned and unhappy about the lack of social and economic progress.

The conferred ability to rule without hindrance and critical voices, and to declare martial law at whim, will not solve these problems.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

By the way, Dirk, you appear to be misreading Zizek. He's arguing that we should not expect Chavez to "withdraw, leave the state and the current situation in place," but that doesn't sanction the Chavistas as "a typical state socialist (or Peronist) party."

You should have read to the end of the Zizek essay, where he explicitly counsels against loopiness: "The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands."

I'm with Kurt, at least to this extent: Yet another caudillo president-for-life is not something any intelligent progressive would wish for.

10:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home