Venezuela: Big shoes and misreports
I’ve been looking at headlines like “Chavez’ legacy fades in Venezuela as crowds fill the streets”. Whoever came up with that one misses the point altogether: It is Hugo Chávez’s legacy that has brought people out on the streets. As I have explained before,
For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?
The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.
Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.
One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins” by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.
Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media
Daniel Duquenal put it more succinctly:
The protests come from people who realize that their future has been robbed by a narco-kleptocracy. Almost anyone in Venezuela that has aspirations to a better future through education, hard work, you name it, questions more or less actively the regime.
Well, what the hell else do you expect, when the “big shoes” beat the country’s path to ruin?
Then there’s the outright dishonesty of some reports: Does this look like 5,000 people to you?
— El Nacional (@ElNacionalWeb) February 19, 2014
It did to AP’s Venezuela Bureau Chief Joshua Goodman. Alek Boyd takes Goodman to the woodshed over Misreporting Venezuela. Not that Goodman is alone. Why do they do it? (emphasis added)
In the opinion of Goodman et al, what we have here is a government supported by brown-skinned, poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive a wave of violence, unleashed by radical, conservative, educated middle classes, bent on wresting control through undemocratic means, to then surrender sovereignty to U.S. interests. Never mind the brutality, torture, and assassinations of innocent, and unarmed, students and civilians. Never mind the excessive use of military force to placate peaceful demonstrations. Never mind the presence of a de facto Cuban occupation army. Never mind the fact that chavismo has never won overall control of student and authorities bodies of Venezuelan universities, where voting is still done manually.
Chavismo needs / must advance this notion of it being democratic. Since parts of its discourse marries well with widespread anti Americanism, the BBC, Goodman et al do a fantastic job at misinforming the uninformed and the ignorant. Not only do they misrepresent the crisis, they also misrepresent the parties. No word would be read from this lot on how the “moderate” wing is supported by utterly corrupt chavista bankers and political operatives that are, in no small part, responsible for the current situation.
The “moderate” wing, by the way, that some refer to as the “official opposition”.
Boyd’s essay points to the importance of social media when the MSM abdicates its duty to present facts:
However, no amount of manipulated subjectivity passing as objective journalism can win the day against social media. While the reach of BBC and AP is, most certainly, global, it pales next to that of Twitter and Facebook, where the Venezuelan crisis is being reported in real time, unedited, by hundreds of thousands of citizen reporters armed with smartphones.
Go read the whole thing.
And while you’re at it, get rid of those “big shoes” of Chávez “reporters” are trying to throw at you.
A YEAR INTO MADURO REIGN, MORE PROTESTS AND AN OSCARS CRACKDOWN IN VENEZUELA