New York Times Corrects False Statement on Venezuela.
Written by Mark Weisbrot
CEPR Center For Economic and Policy Research
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:29
Kudos to the New York Times for correcting its error regarding TV media in Venezuela. I had written about this error here on Monday (Feb 24). It was an important mistake--the Times had led its Friday report with this statement:“The only television station that regularly broadcast voices critical of the government was sold last year and the new owners have softened its news coverage.”The Times’ correction reads:Correction: February 26, 2014
An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to Globovision. Before its sale last year, it broadcast more voices critical of the Venezuelan government than any other TV station, but it was not the only one to regularly feature government critics.It sure wasn’t, and it still isn’t during the current protests, as documented here. This is important because the opposition leadership is trying to say that they are living under a dictatorship, and they are justifying their demands for the overthrow of a democratically elected government on this basis.Many other news outlets have made the same error in reporting on the TV media in Venezuela. Hopefully they will be more accurate in the future.Many thanks to Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy and the nearly 13,000 people who quickly signed a petition to the New York Times asking for this correction.People often ask what they can do to change U.S. foreign policy, and one important thing that almost anyone with an internet connection can do is hold the media accountable for these kinds of misrepresentations. On the one hand, the mass media can play a huge role in legitimating terrible crimes, as in the run-up to the Iraq War, which cost more than a million lives and probably wouldn’t have happened if the media had done its job. On the other hand, there are thousands of reporters and editors who are trying to do their job and adhere to basic journalistic standards of accuracy and balance. Readers and listeners can help them do this.Now, what about the Committee to Protect Journalists? Their statement was more outrageously false than the one corrected by the Times: "Nearly all TV stations in Venezuela are either controlled or allied with the government of Nicolás Maduro and have ignored the nationwide protests."Will they correct it? Ask them.
Posted by AKHANVoice of América,Wednesday, February 26, 2014.There is little more about Venezuela that I can offer my readers that has not already been said and can easily be found on the Internet. Most have probably definitively decided which side of the crisis they stand on - a Chavista or a "supporter of democracy" as if the two are mutually exclusive. I must confess - I am not neutral. I am biased. Unabashedly partisan and biased. Yet, for me, there is no option otherwise. Perhaps it is fitting I write this on the 2 year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, another case where there is not a grey area. In Venezuela, there is a battle going on - one that has been waged from time immemorial and has seen a recent pendulum shift in the past 15 years in the streets and countryside of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.The time has passed for turning back the gains that have been won by the people of Venezuela and, indeed, the world. It is true that challenges are still faced - there is no Utopia - but these challenges do not negate the successes. These successes have led Venezuela to a societal state where the debate among the working class is not survival or death, but rather elite-challenged stasis in a state of dignity or ultimate victory in a move to full socialism and ultimately a worker's state. The successes of the Bolivarian Revolution are not merely abstract, but concrete. Even the bourgeois international organizations that shudder at the thought of socialism and a lurch away from capitalism cannot fudge the data that shows the rates of poverty and extreme poverty slashed by more than half. Children going hungry is being eradicated. Health insurance is now the right of all. So too is secondary education - extended now to all the people of Venezuela and no longer a privilege of the light-skinned elite.The Revolution has loudly proclaimed that one's skin tone will not determine whether one is respected in society. The late Hugo Chavez proudly announced his African and indigenous heritage to a country where elitist colorism was endemic. The masses of Venezuela were not respected as a class or as individuals. They were never forgotten before the Revolution. No, never forgotten. They were always remembered. They were remembered when the time came to find servants, laborers, buckshot fodder. The people of Venezuela - those who created the wealth of the nation - were never forgotten. Their economic value was known for without them the elites would have collapsed. It was the sweat and blood of the masses that gave rise to the prosperity of the nation of Simon Bolivar.The time had come for change though - time for Revolution. The Revolution of the oppressed. It was a true revolution and one inspired not by hate, but by love of the people by the people as embodied in its leader, Hugo Chavez, a man who rose from the people, but never above the people. The Revolution began not as one to tell the masses what they must do, but rather one that served the masses as it came from the masses. No longer would the dictates of the few control the yearnings of the many. And so it was that the Bolivarian Revolution began and continued.So galling is this Revolution though to those who previously controlled the reins of power for not only did the Revolution bring mental liberation and societal dignity to the people - something often found in movements of the people - but the Revolution took the gears of the economy and began to grind them for the people. Not only would the people have mental and social liberation but their liberation would be backed by economic control as consolidated in the revolutionary government led by the PSUV.In the years before his death, President Chavez, who had transformed the nation, began to consolidate the power of the Revolution in the hands of the people setting out a path of popular control and elucidating the ideas of a present - not just a future - of the commune where the people would truly control their destiny. The State would stand as a bulwark against the reactionism of the opposition. Again, this putting control of the society in the hands of the previously oppressed was too much and the institution providing cover for this liberation would need to be vanquished. These attempts began early in the Chavez administration as seen in the short-lived coup of 2002 and later destabilization attempts egged on by the United States and Colombia. Yet unlike bourgeois reformist "revolutions", the popular masses were militantly in support of their government - a government of the people - and they refused to accept these attempts by the elite. The 2002 coup was reversed within 48 hours and the destabilization attempts merely hardened the will of the people.Today...the opposition is back, still elitist, still angry, still on the losing side of elections. And still destabilizing. Under the guise of democracy and behind Guy Fawkes masks, spoiled children of the elites are protesting in their streets against the Revolution. Protesting against corruption (read: hiccups in nationalization), protesting against inflation (read: higher costs for their luxury cars), protesting against shortages (which their class is creating) and protesting against...the Revolution. But most of all, protesting against the people. Protesting against universal education and health care and community power and nationalization and workers' control in the service of the people. Protesting with the filthy lucre of the Empire to the North. Protesting with the support of governmental NGOs. Protesting for democracy as they refuse to accept the result of democracy. Refusing to accept defeat and decrying liberation of the people.I am a partisan. I reject the machinations of the reactionary right. I reject their backers in Washington and Bogota. I reject their elitism. And their status as compradors of the Empire. I offer no apologies. I am a Bolivarian in the United States. But I am compelled not by rejection. I am impelled by the spirit of the Revolution as seen in the eyes of the people who have seized liberation and will not cede it. I am impelled by the example of the Revolution - by its successes and by the struggle of its militant supporters to rectify its shortcomings. I am impelled by the spirit of Tupac Amaru. And Bolivar. And Villa. And Castro. And Chavez. And the people. For it is the people that the Revolution is driven. It is for the people that the Revolution continues. It is for the people that errors may be made. But it is errors of passion and love. It is a Revolution that rejects both the reactionary Right and the laissez-faire liberalism of Western "humanitarianism". The people need their comrades, not mere words. The people need their power. Their power. The power of their government in the face of organized resistance of the traditional elites that are arrayed against this living, breathing Revolution of the People.The answer is not compromise. The answer is not falling over and apologizing to those who never cared for us- the people - for mistakes. There is no perfection in the world. Perfection is God's. I offer no apologies. No apologies to the elite are needed for the Revolution and it is the elite that is attempting to topple the government of Nicolas Maduro, of the people. Constructive criticism is fair...and needed. Destabilization and rejection of democracy and people's liberation is not. A return to the past where freedom was a mere dream will not occur. No apologies. No apologies for stumbling. The only apology would be compromising the Revolution.We, the people, will not turn back. We will admit mistakes and analyze our actions but we will not end this Revolution to please anyone. We will not be told to moderate ourselves. We will not be told to stop loving ourselves. We will not be told to negotiate our death. We are. We will be. Our Revolution began and will continue.With one voice, our voice, the Voice of America, the voice of the people across the world, we militantly declare:
¡Viva La Revolucion!
¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
KAHN1224 at 6:15 PM
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.
Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.
Mweh ka allay!