[News] Anniversary of the Venezuela Counter-Coup

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 13 13:05:39 EDT 2006


Today marks the fourth anniversary of the end of the coup against 
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. On April 13, 2002, hundreds of thousands of 
Venezuelans rose up and demanded the return of their 
democratically-elected President, after a bizarre 2-day series of 
events which pitted the country's business elite, along with corrupt 
union bosses and select members of the Venezuelan military against 
the principals of democracy. Eighteen Venezuelans were killed, and 
more than a hundred were injured.

The coup would never have taken place without the support of 
Venezuela's highly consolidated private media. For weeks before the 
takeover, television anchors signed off their broadcasts with calls 
for Chavez to resign; reporters urged viewers take to the streets of 
Caracas, even though this was a set up for a bloody confrontation 
many knew was pre-planned as part of the destabilization attempt.

As we honor the heroic struggle to restore democracy and rule of law 
to Venezuela, North Americans must recommit ourselves to challenging 
the media in our own country that provides distorted information 
about the events of four years ago and the story of Venezuela today.

In just seven months, Venezuela will hold yet another Presidential 
election. According to polls from the government, from the 
opposition, and from independent firms Chavez will easily win 
re-election. But in the months ahead we will all read slanted stories 
in our local newspapers attempting to discredit President Chavez and 
undermine the legitimacy of his re-election. This is a campaign. We 
need you to help participate in our own version of Venezuela's counter coup.

What You Can Do: Start With the Washington Post

The first volley in this stepped-up disinformation campaign was 
launched earlier this week, as Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl 
published a column, titled 
Venezuela, Locking up the Vote,"

where he accuses the Chavez administration of systematically 
targeting political opponents with jail. Click 
to read more about Mr. Diehl and this particular column.

Storylines like these, left unchallenged, will shape the U.S. public 
and policymakers' perceptions of what is happening in Venezuela.. 
Today, in honor of those who continue the struggle to preserve 
democracy in Venezuela, please take 10 minutes to respond. Letters to 
the Washington Post may be sent to: 
<mailto:letters at washpost.com>letters at washpost.com, and should be 
limited to 150 words.

Here are just a few of the false allegations that Diehl makes:

* He claims that "for years" Chavez "has been nursing along 
prosecutions of politicians, human rights activists, labor leaders, 
journalists and election monitors." The statement is unsupported by 
the reports of any human rights organization. No one has been 
prosecuted in Venezuela under Chavez for political offenses.

* He argues that Chavez "has never enjoyed overwhelming support in 
Venezuela; his ratings have mostly fluctuated a few points above and 
below 50 percent." The reality is that Chavez has three times won an 
election with 60 percent of the vote, and current polling places his 
popularity even higher today.

* He implies that president is "rooting" for the opposition to 
boycott the election. The truth is that Chavez will handily win the 
presidency this December regardless of the actions taken by the 
opposition. It is clearly in the interests of the administration to 
have this victory be within the context of an open and competitive race.

* He suggests that Chavez is immersed in "a tidal wave of corruption 
revelations." No specifics are given to back this up, but Mr. Diehl 
is well aware that it is enough to simply float the rumor in a paper 
with the reputation of the Washington Post, and the perception will 
become reality.

There are many more false claims in Mr. Diehl's piece. Please take 
the time to read 
editorial and 
response, and to write a letter from the heart.

For tips on writing an effective letter to the editor, please 

NOTE: The Venezuela Information Office is dedicated to informing the American
public about contemporary Venezuela, and receives its funding from the
government of Venezuela. More information is available from the FARA office
of the Department of Justice in Washington DC.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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