[News] Group Slams U.S. 'Disinformation' Against Venezuela

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Thu Jan 8 19:42:29 EST 2004

Group Slams U.S. 'Disinformation' Against Venezuela

Thu Jan 8, 4:16 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - A group of African-American activists 
including actor Danny Glover on Thursday criticized what they called a U.S. 
government and media "disinformation" campaign against Venezuelan President 
Hugo Chavez's leftist government.

The delegation from the TransAfrica Forum, which studies African-American 
issues, began a week-long visit to Venezuela that included talks with 
political leaders and visits to schools and social programs in the racially 
mixed South American nation.

At a news conference in Caracas, Glover, an opponent of the U.S. invasion 
of Iraq 
sites) and Washington's trade embargo against communist Cuba, joined other 
members of the delegation in criticizing the treatment of Venezuela by the 
U.S. media and government officials.

Chavez, a populist former paratrooper elected in 1998, has angrily rejected 
persistent accusations by U.S. officials and media reports that he supports 
Colombian Marxist rebels and that he has formed an anti-U.S. alliance in 
Latin America with Cuban President Fidel Castro 

"We receive disinformation from the news media," said Glover, the star of 
hit movies like "The Color Purple" and the "Lethal Weapon" series.

TransAfrica Forum president Bill Fletcher Jr. said the American people were 
being bombarded with "innuendo, lies and half-truths" about Venezuela, 
which is a leading supplier of oil to the United States.

"The most right-wing elements in the (U.S.) administration feel they do not 
have to be constrained by the facts, that it is sufficient to throw out 
allegations (against Venezuela)," he added.

The delegation visited a government health clinic in a Caracas slum, one of 
hundreds around the country that are staffed by more than 10,000 Cuban 

Opponents of Chavez, who are campaigning for a referendum this year on 
whether he should stay in power, say his self-styled "revolution" is an 
attempt to implant Cuba-style communism in Venezuela.

Chavez denies he is a communist and says his aim is to improve the lives of 
Venezuela's poor with health, education and community development programs.

"I'm not here to pass judgment on the Venezuelan government, I'm here to 
talk to people on the ground," Glover said.

The delegation, which included trade unionist Patricia Ford and columnist 
Julianne Malveaux, was due to meet Chavez and appear on his weekly Sunday 
television and radio show.

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