posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 01:35 AM
Before we make any further comments on "Democracy" and "Free" nations, let us all get our facts straight first. I read a comment here that stated
"Dictators get their power from the poor" What? You seemed to have lost me there. Dictators are usually brought to power via a coup and by military
force. Usually supported by the CIA. The Shah of Iran, Pinochet, Noriega, Batista,Videla, Somoza, Marcos, Suharto....etc and then cease elections.
Chavez was elected, yes elected by the poor of Venezuela. Which happens to be around 80percent of the population. Therefore he was elected by the
majority of the people. Which is what a democracy is all about.
As far as lack of freedom of speech in Venezuela, well:
In an editorial on January 14 attacking the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Washington Post wrote, “Mr. Chavez has pushed
through a new law that allows the government to fine or shut down private media for vaguely defined offenses against 'public order'.”
That this is not true has not stopped repeated claims in the US media that the “authoritarian” Chavez is attempting to “silence critics”. Such
claims have become a standard feature of US media articles about Venezuela.
The law referred to by the Washington Post is the Law on the Responsibility of Radio and Television passed by the National Assembly in November. It
does not allow for the silencing of dissent, but merely introduces the same type of regulation of content that exists in most countries in the world.
The law regulates when sexual and violent content can be shown, prevents slander against public officials and private citizens and seeks to guarantee
space in the media market for independent media. The law does provide for fines and the suspension of broadcasting for 48 hours for repeated
violations, but the law is not administered by the government, but by an independent body.
To understand why the Venezuelan government has felt it necessary to introduce this law, it is important to understand the role of the private media
in Venezuela since Chavez came to power six years ago. The overwhelming majority of private TV, radio and print media have not only made no pretense
at impartiality — they have led the campaign to overthrow the legitimately elected Chavez government.
In a comment piece posted at Venezuela Analysis on September 25, Eva Golinger argues that the two traditional parties that had governed Venezuela for
four decades were so discredited because of their support for neoliberal policies that the private media stepped in to fill the role of political
opposition to the pro-poor policies of Chavez.
The five main private TV channels and nine out of 10 national newspapers campaign against Chavez. Golinger reported that the five major TV stations
control at least 90% of the market. Demonstrations by opposition supporters have received blanket coverage, while much larger pro-government
demonstrations have been ignored.
A media coup The private media played a crucial role in the military coup of April 11, 2002, that overthrew Chavez and installed the head of the
Chamber of Commerce in power — before a popular uprising of the poor restored Chavez as president. The private media gave blanket coverage to calls
for opposition demonstrations on the day of the coup.
When government supporters on the streets returned fire against unknown snipers, the private media distorted footage to make it appear as though they
were firing on unarmed opposition supporters. This footage became the key justification for the coup. After Chavez was overthrown, coup leaders
appeared on TV thanking the media for their assistance. When the uprising by the poor began, the private TV channels refused to broadcast it, showing
soap operas and cartoons instead.
Somewhat like what happened in the US when a US District judge ruled warrantless wire taps broke constitutional law, but the media decided to focus on
a 10 year old murder case when some lunatic claimed he did it.