His government is bankrolling a new television network, Telesur, that has plans to broadcast news, sports and educational programs across Latin America beginning this summer.
Its organizers say it will not be a Venezuelan government mouthpiece, but Chávez is providing 70 percent of its funding, fueling concerns that the organizers of the network may not have a choice in the matter.
Not that it comes as a surprise, considering how Fidel hosted Hugo and Sheik Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, vice-president of Qatar, in charge of energy and industry last April 28.
Would Hugo’s al-Jazeera have any success in Latin America? It remains to be seen. Certainly the TV audience generally has much greater access to local programming that features a variety of uncensored political viewpoints, international events, and local and trans-national entertainment. Many countries in Latin America have substantial middle-classes, and different religions, so the demographic is much different.
I am certain, however, that Hugo’s weekly 5-hr program won’t be rising to the top of the ratings in Puerto Rico.
Mora at Babalu posts that
a Mexican newspaper is reporting Havana played the middleman in the purchase of weapons for Mexican Marxist guerrillas seeking to overthrow the government. The cash reportedly came from the Mexican mayor’s office, and the purchase was done by fidel’s obedient colony, Venezuela. The Mexican mayor is currently poised to be the next Mexican president.
If this is the kind of thing Chavez and castro have in store for Mexico, colluding with the leftist mayor of Mexico City to bankroll violent Marxist guerrillas, there are some very grim times ahead for the U.S. We don’t need that kind of castro garbage on our border.
Raymundo Riva Palacio at El Universal (who claims that the USA is creating — where have I heard this one before — “another Vietnam” in Colombia, as if the Columbians themselves had nothing to do with the deplorable state of their own country) writes (my translation)
El gobierno federal, que sigue con atención los movimientos del EPR, no ha puesto una alarma roja por las armas de Chávez a la guerrilla con la intermediación de Cuba porque el volumen de la carga, según las fuentes, no es considerable. No obstante, hay una creciente preocupación por la posibilidad de que López Obrador no pueda tener el control de lo que están haciendo cuadros perredistas de influencia a sus espaldas y que, ante el creciente deterioro en las relaciones con Cuba, lo que el gobierno de Fidel Castro nunca hizo en el pasado apoyar a las guerrillas mexicanas comience a darse como un nuevo patrón en la real politik actual de México y La Habana
The Federal government, which attentively follows the EPR’s moves (Ejército Popular Revolucionario, EPR, the strongest guerrilla operating in México), hasn’t raised a red flag on Chávez’s weapons transaction with Cuba’s help, because according to their sources the shipment was not all that large. Nonetheless, there’s an increasing concern that López Obrador can’t control what influential members of his own party are doing behind his back, and that, in view of the deterioration in Mexican-Cuban relations, what Castro never did before — supporting Mexican guerillas — might become part of the new pattern of real politik between Mexico and Habana
I hasten to clarify that Riva Palacio’s article is couched in terms of “anonymous sources” and “allegations”. It is, however, interesting to read about the deterioration in Mexican-Cuban relations. For decades Mexico was very supportive of Castro.
Chávez hasn’t really been doing a great PR job with other Latin American countries. The Devil’s Excrement and Venezuela News And Views are posting on A Chavez faux pas in Brazil during last week’s Latin-Arab Summit (which Al-Jazeera claims Brazil summit policies at odds with US). INFOBAE reports that Chávez arruinó la Cumbre de presidentes en Brasil: Aprovechó la reunión con países árabes para criticar a los EE.UU. y provocó el enojo de Da Silva. Kirchner volvió antes de lo previsto (Chávez spoils the Presidents’ Summit in Brazil: He used the meeting with Arab countries to criticize the USA and angered [Brazilian president Inacio Lula] da Silva. [Argentinian president Néstor] Kirchner left earlier than anticipated).
Lula held the summit to promote free trade among Southern-Hemisphere countries, and to showcase Brazil as a leader among those countries. (I am rather sympathetic to Lula — with some reservations, considering the Summit’s statement on Israel, and property rights — but that’s a subject for another post).
Among the things Hugo did that annoyed Lula were his statements that the USA wants to impose its own brand of capitalism on other countries, that the Summit’s statement condemning terrorism should have a proviso allowing for a country’s resisting its occupation by another country (which prompted several to ask, “so we’re talking about good terrorism and bad terrorism?”).
Kirchner, after signing the PETROSUR agreement on the development of an oil company comprising the Orinoco region of Venezuela, the Refinería Abreu Lima in NorthEastern Brazil, and the Cuenas Marítimas Hidrocarburíferas Argentinas, returned home and missed Hugo’s rants. However, Daniel speculates whether that might not have much to do with Chávez’s speech and more with the spat between Argentina and Brazil.
Last March Hugo generously offered to Buy $150 Million of Argentine Bonds, blaming Argentina’s default on “neo- liberalism”. Would the funds come from that $2.391 billion missing from PDVSA’s accounts? Where will Hugo go shopping next?
One thing’s for sure: Chávez certainly can’t blame his own country’s ruin on neo-liberalism.
For prior posts on Venezuela, look here.
UPDATE HansBricks calls the summit BitchFest ‘05
UPDATE 2 Read about the General Meeting in Havana of the General Assembly to Promote the Civil Society in Cuba. I’ll be posting on it tomorrow.