[News] Reuter's uses socialism to elicit negative images of the Chavez administration

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Mon Feb 28 12:24:20 EST 2005

Reuter's Fletcher uses socialism to elicit negative images of the Chavez 


AxisofLogic.com editor & publisher Les Blough writes: The following 
analysis of a February 25, 2005 Reuters article is meant to demonstrate the 
extreme prejudice against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its 
president, Hugo Chavez Frias.  The Reuters article serves as an excellent 
example of the corporate media attacks on President Chavez and the 
democratic government created by his administration.  Reuters billed this 
piece as an  "International News Article."

I ask, is it "News" or is it  "Opinion"?

US, Venezuela's Chavez Embraces Socialism

Fri Feb 25, 2005 02:59 PM ET
By Pascal Fletcher

Fletcher:  "CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez 
on Friday embraced socialism as his ideology of choice in a political 
statement that sharpened his antagonism against the United States."

"Chavez, a firebrand nationalist (would Reuters call George W. Bush a 
"firebrand nationalist" or a "patriot"?) who has governed the world's No. 5 
oil exporter for six years, has persistently declined to define the precise 
ideology of his self-styled "revolution."

(Note: The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is "styled" after the governing 
principles of 19th Century Simon Bolivar who liberated Venezuela from the 
rule of Spain - The republic is not "styled" after President Chavez as in 
"self-styled."  The term "revolution" involves "revolving" from one 
condition to another, whereas the corporate media has fostered the notion 
that "revolution" has something to do with blood on the streets and mob-rule)

Fletcher: "But, addressing an international meeting on poverty in Caracas, 
he said Western-style capitalism was incapable of solving global economic 
and social problems.

(Note:  We ask Mr. Fletcher - when and where has "Western-styled 
capitalism" solved global economic and social problems?)

Fletcher continues quoting Chavez: " 'So, if not capitalism, then what? I 
have no doubt, it's socialism,' said Chavez, who also rebuffed US criticism 
of his left-wing rule in Venezuela and denounced President Bush as the 
"great destabilizer of the world."

(Note: Of course, all Fletcher needs to do is to use the term, "socialism" 
to elicit negative images of the Chavez administration due to decades of 
media-conditioning of the US population.

Chavez "rebuffed US criticism"?  The nerve! Would not the leader of any 
nation "rebuff" criticism of his country's government by a foreign country? 
Does Fletcher think President Chavez should thank the US it's critical 
media barrage against him and Venezuela? Should he thank the US government 
for funding a coup against him in 2002?  With the world in upheaval as a 
result of President Bush's unprovoked war on Iraq, a destabilized Middle 
East and world economic stability threatened by Bush's US economic decline, 
can Mr. Fletcher rationally argue with Chavez' statement?

Fletcher: "Since coming to power, he has irritated Washington by developing 
alliances with China, Russia and Iran and flaunting a close personal 
friendship with Cuba's Communist President Fidel Castro, a longtime foe of 
the United States."

(Note: Does not any sovereign nation have the sovereign right to have close 
relationships with any other sovereign nation of their choice?  Is this 
statement not crafted to rouse the ire of the US population to whom 
President Castro has been maligned for decades?)

Fletcher: "Chavez's public support for socialism recalled Castro's defining 
announcement in the early 1960s that his 1959 Cuban Revolution was 

(Note: So President Chavez should be upbraided for his support of socialism 
because Fidel Castro, President of Cuba described his government as 
socialist 45 years ago?)

Fletcher: "Chavez said he had up to now avoided labeling his political 
program in Venezuela as 'socialist'."

"But he added his personal experience in power, which included surviving a 
brief coup in 2002, had convinced him that socialism was the answer. 'But 
what kind?'

(Note: When a brilliant leader thinks innovatively, creating a new form of 
government, is he expected to label that form of government during its 
formation and before it is realized?  "Fletcher: "His personal experience 
in power ..." - Would it not be just as accurate to say, "His term as an 
elected president?")

Fletcher: "Chavez, who won a referendum in August ratifying his rule until 
early 2007, said previous experiences of socialism in the world -- an 
apparent reference to the former Soviet Union -- might not be the example 
to follow."

(Note: It may sound absurd to complain about Fletcher's choice of words 
here, i.e. "His rule".  But do we ever here about "Bush's rule"?  Doesn't 
"His rule" makes Chavez sound more like a monarch than a president? Could 
Fletcher as easily have referred to "His presidency"?  Regarding Chavez' 
reference to the Soviet Union, would Fletcher prefer that President Chavez 
follow the example of the Soviet Union?)

Fletcher quoting Chavez: "... 'We have to invent the socialism of the 21st 
century,' he added."

(Note:  Is there something wrong with thinking creatively - inventively - 
to respond to the problem of the poverty of 80% of the Venezuelan people 
that resulted from 40 years of US-backed, corrupt regimes in Venezuela 
before Chavez was elected in 1998?)

Fletcher: "Venezuela's 1999 constitution promoted by Chavez enshrines a 
multi-party political system and he has denied he is a communist. But he 
has intensified state intervention in the economy, encouraged the formation 
of cooperatives and is pursuing land reforms critics say threaten private 

(Note:  Rhetorical question - Doesn't the United States government 
"intensify state intervention" in the economy of the United State on a 
daily basis in myriad ways and at multiple levels? Some may choose to call 
the land reforms which are written into the Venezuelan constitution, 
"communism".  Others may choose to call it the attempt to problem-solve 4 
decades of control by wealthy landowners who crushed domestic agriculture 
by buying up and in some cases, illegally annexing large tracts of land, 
forcing the Venezuelan people dependent on foreign food imports, primarily 
from the United States)

Fletcher: "Chavez resumed his aggressive stance just a day after his vice 
president, Jose Vicente Rangel, called for talks with the United States and 
said Caracas was ready to help fight terrorism and drug-trafficking and 
keep oil flowing to the United States."

(Note: Is Fletcher complaining that Vice President Rangel called for talks 
with the US and offered to help fight terrorism and drug trafficking and to 
"keep oil flowing to the United States"?  Where's the beef?)

Chavez has taken an "aggressive stance"?  Who is the aggressor in this 
case? Chavez' "stance" is not "aggressive" at all.  It is rather a 
sovereign nation owning the right to have trade relations with other 
nations of their choice.  One must ask, "Who is the aggressor?" - when it 
was the United States who funded the 2002 coup attempt through US 
institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy and the Carnegie 
Endowment for International Peace.  One must ask, "Who is the aggressor?" - 
when the US continues to foment hatred through the corporate media and 
instigate insurrection in Venezuela.  One must ask "Who is the aggressor?" 
- when the US gives safe refuge to a former Venezuelan president who 
publicly calls for the assassination of the duly-elected president of a 
foreign country.  One must ask, "Who is the aggressor?" - when it is the US 
who funds the Uribe regime in Bogota with more foreign aid than to any 
country in the world, save Israel for Plan Colombia, designed to overthrow 
the democratic republic of Venezuela.

Fletcher: "But Rangel had also echoed Chavez's anti-U.S. criticisms, and 
U.S. diplomats here complain their requests for meetings with government 
ministers are turned down."

(Note: President Chavez has made numerous attempts to meet with the Bush 
Administration and been turned down.  Earlier in the article, Fletcher 
stated that Venezuela's Vice President "called for talks with the US and 
offered to help fight terrorism and drug trafficking").

"While Venezuela remains a key oil supplier to the US, Chavez has this year 
stepped up a war of words with the United States. Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice has called him a "destabilizing influence" in Latin America."

(Note:  "Who is Destabilizing?"  A very good question.  What evidence did 
Condoleezza Rice provide for her claim that President Chavez is a 
"destabilizing force"?  None at all.  It was simply a parroted phrase that 
has received wide publication in corporate news agencies like Reuters.  But 
we would agree that Chavez is a "destabilizing force" -- i.e. destabilizing 
to the decades of US programs of interference, death squads, economic 
control and oppression of Latin American countries.  He is certainly 
"destabilizing" for Plan Colombia -- the US program directed at 
overthrowing the democratic government of Venezuela!)

Fletcher: "A former paratroop officer, Chavez was first elected in a 1998 
election, six years after leading a botched coup bid."

(Note:  I sometimes smile at the oft-repeated description of President 
Chavez which I read in the corporate media: "A former paratroop 
officer".  Of course the description is crafted to elicit the racist 
notions to which US citizens have become aclimated for countries in Latin 
America -- like "banana republics" and "military dictator".  President 
Chavez was a Leutenant Colonel in the Venezuelan Army before being elected 
president of his country by 80% of the Venezuelan people. Nearly all of the 
US presidents have served in the military and in fact, military service is 
almost a pre-requisite for candidacy in the US.  "A botched coup 
bid"?  President Chavez led the people of Venezuela in a revolt against US 
domination of their country in 1992 which was one step toward freeing 
Venezuela from corrupt, US-backed regimes)

Fletcher: "Opponents of the Venezuelan leader, whom Chavez dismisses as 
puppets of the United States, accuse him of ruling like a dictator and 
dragging the country toward Cuba-style communism."

(Note:  Who are these "opponents".  Are they the same people who attempted 
to violently overthrow the Venezuelan government in 2002?  Are these the 
same people who shut down the PDVSA, Venezuela's oil industry for 3 months 
in December, 2002 in an attempt to bring the Chavez administration to its 
knees? Is the reader expected to give credibility to such a statement?)

Fletcher: "In what Caracas calls "impertinent" meddling, U.S. officials are 
also opposing Venezuela's purchase of Russian helicopters and automatic 
rifles for its armed forces."

(Note:  Does a foreign nation, i.e. the US, have the right to dictate where 
another sovereign nation purchases their military hardware?  Is this 
rhetoric meant to awaken tired, old, cold-war images in the US population 
of a dangerous enemy of the U.S. who once delivered missiles to Cuba?)

Fletcher: "The only destabilizer here is George W. Bush, he's the big 
destabilizer in the world, he's the threat," Chavez said. He has condemned 
the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(Note: Hugo Chavez' condemnation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 
stands alongside the condemnation of these wars by many world leaders.  Who 
can argue that the Bush "war on terrorism" has not created more terrorists 
than it has killed and captured -- as promised by George Walker Bush just 
after the September 11, 2001 attacks?   Who can argue with Chavez' 
statement that Bush is not "the threat" to global instability?  Whoever it 
may be, I would pay to watch the debate.)

Fletcher: "Chavez also repeated charges that the increased US criticism was 
preparing the ground for an attack against Venezuela and included a plan to 
assassinate him. US officials have rejected this as 'ridiculous.'

(Note: Credible evidence exists that the CIA has been involved in 2 
previous assassination attempts and the coup attempt on President 
Chavez.  But you won't read about it in the New York Times.  Based upon the 
current US invasion and occupation of oil-rich Iraq, and the invasion of 
"Caspian-oil-pipeline-Afghanistan," is it realistic to be concerned about 
the possibility of a US invasion and occupation of oil-rich 
Venezuela?  Particularly when one considers the angry, aggressive, 
Washington rhetoric against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, one would 
be naive' to ignore the possibility.  In the US it is called, "In the 
interest of national security."  Of course the US rejected this charge as 
"ridiculous."  Did Fletcher expect them to admit to it?)

Conclusion:  The private media in Venezuela is owned and controlled by a 
handful of very wealthy people who oppose Chavez and who fully supported 
the violent overthrow of the Venezuelan government in 2002. The corporate 
media in the US has been fiercely critical of the Chavez administration 
from the very beginning of his term as President.  It is important for us 
to recognize extreme bias against the Bolivarian government in both media 
coalitions and their choice of inflammatory terms and outright defamation 
when considering the "news" reports of the corporate media.

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