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We should back Chávez.

Posted by QB on May 25, 2007

This article is written by Colin Burgon published by Guardian and he is the only European or US law maker who has the courage to speak truth. USA and Canada talk about the free speech and both countries have refused to give Al Jazeera permission to reach to its North American audience.

Neoconservative forces, via compliant media outlets and Christian right groupings within the European parliament, are preparing their latest attack on Hugo Chávez and the government of Venezuela. The latest focus of the campaign is the decision of Venezuela’s broadcasting authorities not to renew the licence of the private television channel RCTV. The anti-Chávez apparatus once again presents a test for Foreign Office ministers.

Washington’s outriders characterise the decision as an affront to freedom of speech, yet the facts speak in louder tones. Over 80% of Venezuelan television and radio outlets are privately owned; this excludes a number of cable and satellite television networks that are widely available. Of this 80%, significant sections are owned by corporate groups. According to a recent New York Times editorial, this has led to a situation in which “even the best news outlets tend to be openly ideological…so the owners’ views can permeate reporting”.

Almost all Venezuelan newspapers remain in private hands. The press is free to report, and express opinions, without government interference. Most do so with considerable brio on a daily basis. No media outlet has encountered licensing problems for the expression of political views. No journalist has been imprisoned or punished for report or comment.

In RCTV’s case, the broadcaster failed to meet basic public-interest standards. The criterion for this assessment is similar to that used by the US Federal Communications Commission. RCTV will be free to broadcast via cable and satellite, which are available across the country.

In the UK, if Channel 4 aided an attempted coup against the government that resulted in civil unrest and even death, would anyone be supporting the renewal of its licence? RCTV has lost its licence because its wealthy owners slanted news coverage to provide support to the April 2002 coup against Chávez and the elected government. This will not be news to those who gathered in parliament last week to view John Pilger’s excellent documentary The War on Democracy, which shows footage of RCTV involvement.

As the coup failed and Venezuelans questioned Chávez’s “resignation”, RCTV prohibited correspondents from airing these developments.

So what hope that our representatives in the EU might withstand rightwing pressure and argue against a discriminatory move against Venezuela at a meeting in Strasbourg next week? If the Foreign Office’s public strategy document Latin America to 2020 is anything to go by, not very much.

Lord Triesman, the document’s main author and a Foreign Office minister, outlines an adherence to free-market liberalism and singularly defined democracy as the prerequisites for UK engagement in Latin America. The document shows our government remains committed to the neoliberal model as a means of tackling the highest levels of social inequality in the world. However, anyone interested in nations such as Venezuela or Bolivia can see that the “Washington consensus” trade and aid packages have failed the most desperate people of those nations.

In the document, many Latin American leaders are named and congratulated, yet Chávez receives no such recognition. The Foreign Office appears to ignore the reasons for the popularity of Chávez, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador: the failure of neoliberal policies imposed by Washington and endorsed by the EU.

It is not too late for a Labour government to engage with those who wish to achieve justice for their peoples. Events in Strasbourg next week provide an opportunity for the UK government to show reason and goodwill.

· Colin Burgon is Labour MP for Elmet and chair of Labour Friends of Venezuela

Source Link : We should back Chavez.

This is the true face of US and European democracies. They have set rule for themselves which only protects their governments and expect rest of the world to blindly follow their wishes and anyone who is criticising US or its European allies government policies become dangerous enemy.

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6 Responses to “We should back Chávez.”

  1. […] We should back Chavez […]

  2. bettinathenomad said

    Well… I disagree. Of course it’s not right that Al Jazeera should not be allowed to broadcast in the US. But if RCTV is as bad as you make it out to be, then why are hundreds of Venezuelans out in the streets demonstrating against the withdrawal of the license? Even some who voted for Hugo Chávez in the last elections? Just a thought.

  3. The hundreds of people who are demonstrating against Hugo Chavez are pro-western anti Hugo Chavez elites of Venezuela. The number of demonstration of hudreds shows that they are minority not backed by majoritify of Venezuelans.

  4. Mick said

    You are a disgrace to human rights. You don’t understand what freedom means.

    Are you of the “religion of peace?

  5. Mick
    I know you are typical conservative who believe to kill in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, torture detainees, keep people in jail without any charges. The people who talk about the social justice like me Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are monsters. Look at the issues you support in the name of “war on terror” and “patrotism” are all worst human rights violations.
    The closing of TV channel has nothing to do with religion. Hugo Chavez took the right decision to close down US propaganda channel which supported Bush coup against this very popular elected leader.

  6. in2thefray said

    Actually elites are finding ways to enjoy Chavez. You see they are currently benefiting from the petro economy. Who is buying boats and luxury cars ? Not Chavistas. Chavez supporters,the poor are getting education and medical care. I can’t fault Hugo on that. He is however a dictator who is relentless in tightening his grip on the collective throat of Venezuelan Freedom.And like all dictators of history they eventually use the poor as cannon fodder. If you would allow me also since clogging Doug is something I don’t want to do. Russia is a cry baby country that feels isolated. Sabre rattling won’t help the Russian people. China is growing and is following it’s long post Mao history of economic and military aggression,stance wise anyway. I accept that as a sovereign nation China has that right. I only took a quick look at your site. ilook forward to a return. Take care.

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