Venezuelan Elections

Venezuelan elections are held today, past elections have been democratic and fair. Hugo Chavez governs democratically and within the rule of law. Nevertheless, Chavez will not allow Washington and multinational corporations dictate his policies and thus remains a target of the CIA. We wish the people of Venezuela well and hope that America refrains from landing “freedom fighters” to overturn the election results.


As the Venezuelan Presidential elections near, the obsession of the US mainstream media with bringing down the administration of
President Hugo Chavez resurfaces. The standard
story line is generally the same: Venezuela is
allegedly led by a dictator who is carrying out
repression against his opponents. What is so
striking about these allegations is not only their
inaccuracy but how noticeably they contrast with
the same mainstream US media’s views of
developments in our neighbor, Mexico.

In our silence we let myths and distortions pass for

In each of the elections President Chavez has won,
since his first victory, there have been no credible
charges of fraud. Wish as the US political elite
might, Chavez has held onto significant popular
support, illustrated not only in the elections but in
on-going polls. Despite this, the mainstream US
media insists on painting a picture of Chavez and
his administration that can, at best, be described as
caricature. That Chavez and his party – the
Venezuelan United Socialist Party – wish to
transform Venezuela is no secret. They believe in
what they call “21st Century Socialism,” which
amounts to a shift of Venezuela (and Latin America)
away from the domination of corporate capital and
foreign control, and the creation of a socio-economic
system based on popular power and social
cooperation. It is not that Chavez is an autocrat, in
other words, that bothers the US political elite but
that he and his party wish to move the country
along a very different path of development than is
approved by the political elite in the USA.

Contrast this caricature with the manner in which
Mexico is presented. On the one hand, we witness
the near civil war like conditions between elements
of the Mexican government and the narco-terrorist
gangs, and then the wars among the narco-
terrorists. At the same time, the recent Mexican
presidential election was filled with allegations of
electoral fraud, resulting in the supposed victory of
the candidate of the former ruling party (the
Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI). In the
aftermath of this election, thousands of Mexicans
demonstrated against what they perceived as
electoral fraud and a silent coup by one of the two
parties of the Mexican political elite. Despite the
scale and militancy of these demonstrations, little
coverage was made available in US mainstream
media circles.

Chavez and his party wish to move the country
along a very different path of development than is
approved by the political elite in the USA.

This bias in coverage is neither accidental nor
recent. The demonization of other opponents of the
US, such as Cuba, has a long history and is
regularly ignored in discussions of US foreign policy.
As the mainstream US media further consolidates,
there are fewer opportunities for alternative views to
be expressed, and fewer opportunities for broader
coverage to be made available. As a result, we have
to rely on independent media for a more accurate
portrayal of the situation.

At the same time, it is worth contesting the portrayal
of reality by the mainstream media. Progressive-
minded people need to take a cue from the political
Right and `bombard’ the media with our own
concerns. When we see bias, such as in the case of
the demonization of Venezuela, compared with the
hands-off of Mexico, we need to call them on it. In
our silence we let myths and distortions pass for
truth. And when those myths and distortions are
accepted as truth by masses of people, they can
translate into support for governmental policies that
not only hurt the lives and sovereignty of other
countries, but also take us, in the USA, further
down the road toward authoritarianism.



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