The U.S. Media and Government Launch an All-Out Campaign Against the Venezuelan Revolution

As the forces of revolution and counter-revolution collide once again in the country of Bolivar, the U.S. government and its servants in the mainstream media have launched yet another a blitzkrieg propaganda offensive against the Venezuelan people’s right to determine their own destiny.

This is no conspiracy. A detailed CIA plot called “Operation Pincers”, which aims to destabilize the country in the days around the vote on the proposed changes to the Constitution, has been exposed. A major component of this plan is to create an atmosphere of distrust, uncertainty, and confusion, with the Venezuelan and international media playing their usual pernicious role. The goal is to prepare public sentiment for possible U.S. intervention to “restore order”. It’s an old but all too effective tactic.

The media mouthpieces of the U.S. ruling class are foaming at the mouth in an all out effort to throw mud on the Venezuelan revolution. With misleading headlines implying that all that is at stake is the elimination of presidential term limits – never mind that the president would still need to be re-elected for each of those terms – they seek to disorient even those who have until now sympathized with the revolution and opposed U.S. intervention. The real stakes are far higher. The Venezuelan masses understand the vote as a referendum on their current and future quality of life, while the oligarchy and their imperialist masters understand it as a threat to their centuries of privilege and domination of the majority.

For example, the New York Times has played up Thursday’s opposition rally, while minimizing yesterday’s pro-Chavez rally, which dwarfed the former, and was perhaps as much as five times larger. They have also focused on corruption and scarcity of basic goods in Venezuela, blaming these things on Chavez. But the fact is, this is largely the product of counter-revolutionary sabotage, and many of the proposed changes to the Constitution are intended to address this. However, it should come as no surprise that the NYT takes this superficial approach. Let us not forget that the NYT was an early and avid supporter of the April 2002 coup against Chavez. On April 13, 2002 they “reported” the following:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.”

As for the circumstances surrounding the coup, this is how they described it:

… Armed Chávez supporters fired on peaceful strikers, killing at least 14 and injuring hundreds. Mr. Chávez’s response was characteristic. He forced five private television stations off the air for showing pictures of the massacre. Early yesterday he was compelled to resign by military commanders unwilling to order their troops to fire on fellow Venezuelans to keep him in power. He is being held at a military base and may face charges in Thursday’s killings.”

A lie in every line!

  1. The snipers were anti-Chavez provocateurs;

  2. In what way was the response “characteristic”? No media was shut down – except for he pro-Chavez Channel 8 and Catia-TV – both shut down by the coup-mongers, not the government;

  3. Chavez did not resign, but was kidnapped by the pro-coup generals that had threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace and all those inside it if he did step down;

  4. Chavez was not even going to get a chance to stand “trial” for “crimes” he did not commit; at one point he was about to be executed, but the soldiers guarding him refused to do it; he was then about to be remanded to U.S. custody and flown out of the country, when pro-Chavez special forces turned up to rescue him and bring him back to the capital. This is the actual course of events, as documented in the film “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

Fortunately for the people of Venezuela and the world, the masses of Caracas and across the country refused to accept the New York Times‘ version, and came onto the streets by the millions to overthrow the coup-mongers and restore Chavez to power.

As for the Washington Post, it has opened its opinion pages to none other than Donald Rumsfeld, the disgraced former Secretary of Defense and “architect” of the Iraq quagmire. In an op-ed titled “The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez”, Rumsfeld churns out his venom, couched in high-sounding diplomatic Newspeak [and by the way, his piece is dated Sunday, December 2nd, the day of the referendum – today is Saturday, December 1st!]

In line after line of distortions and outright lies, Rumsfeld laments that “not enough” is being done to “prevent Venezuela’s once vibrant democracy from receding into dictatorship” [!]. Of course, the “vibrant democracy” he is referring to is the “good old days” of violent repression of social movements, capitalist cronyism, and billions in easy profits for U.S. oil companies and their Venezuelan lackeys while 80 percent of the population languished in squalor and misery. And the “dictatorship” he refers to is the political awakening and participation in the political process of millions of Venezuelan workers, peasants, youth, and urban poor. In Rumsfeld’s view, the “global order is threatened … by violent extremists, rogue regimes, failing states and aspiring despots such as Chávez.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! He even suggests using NATO as a force to “contain” undesirable elements around the world – i.e., anyone who does not follow the dictates of U.S. imperialism.

As for the U.S. government itself, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had this to say at a press conference held yesterday (Friday, November 30, 2007): “We are concerned that people would not be able to have the free and fair elections that they deserve. I think there is good reason for them to be unhappy.” He then added, “[The decision] is up to the Venezuelans to make and we’ll see what they decide on Sunday.” This is quite ironic considering that at least $8 million in U.S. taxpayer money has been spent on anti-Chavez propaganda in the run up to the referendum, as detailed in the leaked memo to CIA headquarters! Not to mention the millions of dollars spent supporting anti-Chavez organizations in Venezuela and literally buying off many of his former supporters.

The bottom line is, the example of Venezuela’s revolution can no longer be tolerated by those who believe it is their divine right to exploit the vast majority of humanity. U.S. imperialism and its agents will never rest until the Venezuelan revolution is snuffed out. They will use every trick in the book – and then some – to ensure the example does not spread. After all, what would happen if the workers, youth, and poor of other countries – for example the United States – also got the crazy idea that society’s wealth should be used to provide universal health care, education, quality jobs, a reduced workweek, a full pension, to rebuild infrastructure, etc.? That neighborhood assemblies and factory councils should be organized to democratically manage the economy and the needs of our communities? That perhaps the banks should be used to develop the economy and improve everyone’s quality of life, instead of providing mega profits for the few? That perhaps we, the vast majority, don’t need a handful of parasites on our backs to effectively and democratically run society in the interests of all? This is the real reason for the hatred being spewed by the representatives of the ruling class against the Venezuelan revolution.

Tomorrow’s referendum will be another historic milestone in the Venezuelan revolutionary process. Workers and youth in the U.S. and worldwide must be on the alert in order to do their part to prevent U.S. intervention from derailing this process, which is a beacon of hope for the future of humanity. Let the Venezuelan People Decide! Hands Off Venezuela!

John Peterson
U.S. HOV National Secretary


One Response

  1. Donald Rumsfeld has an editorial in the Washington Post about Chavez

    The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez
    By Donald Rumsfeld
    Sunday, December 2, 2007; Page B03

    Today the people of Venezuela face a constitutional referendum, which, if passed, could obliterate the few remaining vestiges of Venezuelan democracy. The world is saying little and doing less as President Hugo Chávez dismantles Venezuela’s constitution, silences its independent media and confiscates private property. Chávez’s ambitions do not stop at Venezuela’s borders, either. He has repeatedly threatened its neighbors. In late November, Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe, declared that Chávez’s efforts to mediate hostage talks with Marxist terrorists from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were not welcome. Chávez responded by freezing trade with Colombia.

    With diplomatic, economic and communications institutions designed for a different era, the free world has too few tools to help prevent Venezuela’s once vibrant democracy from receding into dictatorship. But such a tragedy is not preordained. In fact, we face a moment when swift decisions by the United States and like-thinking nations could dramatically help, supporting friends and allies with the courage to oppose an aspiring dictator with regional ambitions.

    The best place to start is with the prompt passage and signing of the Colombian free trade agreement, which has been languishing in Congress for months. Swift U.S. ratification of the pact would send an unequivocal message to the people of Colombia, the opposition in Venezuela and the wider region that they do not stand alone against Chávez. It would also provide concrete economic opportunities to the people of Colombia, helping to offset the restrictions being imposed by Venezuela — and it would strengthen the U.S. economy in the bargain.

    The importance of the Venezuela-Colombia clash goes beyond turmoil in the U.S. back yard. The episode can help us understand what’s at stake in a new age of globalization and information, an age in which trade networks can be as powerful as military alliances. Extending freedom from the political sphere to the economic one and building the global architecture, such as free trade agreements, to support those relationships can — and should — be a top priority for the United States in the 21st century.

    Since the first years of the Cold War, 10 presidential administrations have operated within an institutional framework fashioned during the Truman administration: NATO, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the CIA, the Defense Department, Voice of America and the National Security Council. Over six decades, the United States and the rest of the free world have benefited from those institutions, which led to victory in the Cold War and helped maintain international order thereafter.

    But with the passage of more than half a century, the end of the Cold War, the attacks of 9/11 and the rise of an Islamic extremist movement that hopes to use terrorism and weapons of mass destruction to alter the course of humankind, it has become obvious that the national security institutions of the industrial age urgently need to be adapted to meet the challenges of this century and the information age.

    At home, the entrenched bureaucracies and diffuse legislative processes of the U.S. government make it hard to creatively, swiftly and proactively handle security threats. Turf-conscious subcommittees in Congress inhibit the country’s ability to mobilize government agencies to tackle new challenges. For example, U.S. efforts to build up the police and military capacity of partner nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to fight al-Qaeda and other extremists have been thwarted over the past six-plus years by compartmentalized budgets, outdated restrictions and budget cycles that force a nation at war to spend three years to develop, approve and execute a program.

    The United States has also lost several tools that were central to winning the Cold War. Notably, U.S. institutions of public diplomacy and strategic communications — both critical to the current struggle of ideas against Islamic radicalism — no longer exist. Some believed that after the fall of the Soviet Union such mechanisms were no longer needed and could even threaten the free flow of information. But when the U.S. Information Agency became part of the State Department in 1999, the country lost what had been a valuable institution capable of communicating America’s message to international audiences powerfully and repeatedly.

    Meanwhile, a new generation of foes has mastered the tools of the information age — chat rooms, blogs, cellphones, social-networking Web sites — and exploits them to spread propaganda, even while the U.S. government remains poorly organized and equipped to counter with the truth in a timely manner. The nation needs a 21st-century “U.S. Agency for Global Communications” to inform, to educate and to compete in the struggle of ideas — and to keep its enemies from capitalizing on the pervasive myths that stoke anti-Americanism.

    Many existing international institutions are also falling short. The United Nations — which elected Syria and Iran to a commission on disarmament, Sudan to one on human rights and Zimbabwe to one on sustainable development — can hardly be considered a credible arbiter of international issues and dialogue. Endemic inertia and corruption threaten to render the United Nations even less effective in the 21st century.

    NATO, the great bulwark against communist expansion, could be usefully reoriented toward today’s threats to the nation-state system — global problems that can be successfully dealt with only by broad coalitions of nations capable of efficiently executing collective decisions. By building bilateral and regional partnerships with other like-thinking countries — such as India, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Israel — NATO could evolve into a diplomatic and military instrument of the world’s democratic and capitalist societies.

    We also must reinvigorate the structures that support global prosperity. Free trade seems to be slipping out of fashion in Congress and the presidential campaign, with some candidates calling for a “timeout” for free trade and the abolition of current agreements, such as NAFTA and CAFTA. But the world will need a network of trading nations to provide a way to change the circumstances of people in poor nations. Strong U.S. economic relations with the countries of Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East would encourage international development and investment even as they build closer ties among the United States and its allies. The prosperity that trade pacts foster has proved to be one of the most effective weapons against internal instability and international aggression.

    Today’s global order is threatened not only by violent extremists, rogue regimes, failing states and aspiring despots such as Chávez. It is also threatened by the complacent assumption that our domestic and global institutions, in their present form, can meet these growing menaces.

    In the first years of the Cold War, the free world’s leaders created the new institutions necessary to prevail against communism. Sixty years later, six years into a new ideological struggle, in the face of new challenges from asymmetric warfare, in an age in which information mixes with weapons of unprecedented lethality, these old institutions by and large remain arrayed to deal with the enemies of the last struggle, not the enemies of today.

    Pundits tend to focus on individuals, not institutions. Personalities, after all, garner more headlines than do bureaucracies and agreements. But when institutions no longer serve our interests well — or, worse, hamper important efforts — we need to hear more about reform through public commentary, in Congress and on the campaign trail. The next president will face the issue of reforming domestic and international institutions — and will need to accelerate the efforts begun by President Bush. We can prevail by mustering the same resolve that President Harry S. Truman and others demonstrated 60 years ago.

    Donald Rumsfeld is a former secretary of def

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