Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Chavez Deceit

Once more, large sections of the media are representing the referendum in Venezuela in a very dubious light. The Observer's headline says much about the angle that they are taking:

Anti-Chávez lobby dares to hope for a last-ditch victory

The opening paragraph really underlines the standard Western view of Venezuela:

A ragtag coalition of university students, traditional elites and disillusioned "chavistas" will today try to end Hugo Chávez's dream of ruling Venezuela for life.

'Dream of ruling Venezuela for life'? That couches it in particularly disturbing terms. Do we talk of Gordon Brown or David Camerin dreaming of 'ruling for life'? Of course not. And yet there is little, if any, difference between the system being proposed in Venezuela and the system in the UK. Apart from one fundamental difference. The Venezuelan people are having a say in a change in the constitution. Can you imagine that happening in the UK? The idea would fill the political classes with dread.

One thing that characterises these reports about the situation in Venezuela, is the failure to put the opposition to Chavez into context. Quite often they are represented as respectable statesmen who are fighting to wrestle power away from an all too powerful President. What they fail to report is that many members of the opposition were deeply involved in the failed coup in 2002 that was backed by the Bu$h White House. These are not all democrats and respectable statesmen. Many of them are plotters and proxies for the interests of the United States. And yet, the opening quote in the Observer piece is from one of these fronts for the American government.

However, one of the most important quotes has been conveniently ignored:

"This is important for me as a human being and as a soldier in this fight.

"We'll recognize the result, whatever it is, once it is announced by the National Electoral Council."

Chavez swore last time that he would respect the result, and he did. What makes anyone think that this time it is any different?