Sunday, November 21, 2004

Onward, Democracy!...

It seems the US press is again a willing cheerleader for further interventions. It is no problem when the intervention is against a democracy - they will just declare black is white, and use the very examples of democracy as a proof of anti-democratic behaviour. Of course, I am talking about Venezuela - and from here I'll simply quote Eli at Left I:

I rarely comment on editorials, preferring to stick to the news. But actually, when a key ruling class organ like the Washington Post encourages the Bush administration to end its "passivity" towards Venezuela, that is news. Not surprising news, since Venezuela, like Iraq and Palestine and Cuba and North Korea and Iran and on and on and on is one of the many places where the ruling class is in complete agreement, as we saw during the Kerry campaign.

The Post, ignoring the repeated democratic elections and the increased participation of the actual people (imagine that!) in the governing of the country, describes Venezuela as a place where democracy is not "thriving." A telling point in the motivation for this policy comes in the very first sentence of the relevant section:

"The likely focal point of trouble is Venezuela, a country of 25 million that supplies the United States with 13 percent of its oil."

Do you suppose if they supplied the United States with 13 percent of its coffee, that fact would have been mentioned in the editorial?

The editorial goes downhill from there. Here's the next sentence:

"In August, after months of heavy-handed governmental actions to influence the outcome, President Hugo Chavez survived a recall referendum; since then his supporters have gained control of 21 of 23 states, as well as the capital, in local elections."

The "months of heavy-handed governmental actions" included their allowing a special, completely a-constitutional period by which the recall proponents could "re-validate" signatures which had been questioned, something which has never been allowed in any signature-gathering effort in the United States. And note the curious phrasing of the second sentence, which first notes that Chavez supporters have "gained control," as if that were some nefarious thing, and later in the sentence throws in the word elections. The fact that they won those elections and that's how they "gained control" may be obvious to anyone who thinks about it, but the sentence is clearly worded in an attempt to influence the reader to think otherwise.

Sunk low enough? The Post continues:

"Those triumphs have prompted the erratic former military rebel to accelerate what he calls his 'Bolivarian revolution' -- a push toward authoritarian rule at home and a deepening alliance abroad with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and other antidemocratic movements."

I will grant the Post their ability to interpret actions in Venezuela as promoting "authoritarian rule" and an alliance with Cuba. But putting that in a parenthetical phrase immediately following the words "Bolivarian revolution" implies that is how Chavez interprets or promotes the Bolivarian revolution. The fact that the Bolivarian revolution involves more participation by the people in their government, and the use of government funds and actions to benefit the people as opposed to the corporations, seems to have escaped the Post.

The conclusion makes it clear that the Post is intent on following George Bush into lack-of-self-awareness-land. In one sentence, they talk about how Chavez "has adopted Mr. Castro's practice of portraying the United States as an enemy bent on imperial intervention in Venezuela," and in the very next sentence they quote Condoleezza Rice as saying Chavez is "a real problem" and how we need to "mobilize the region" to "pressure him," and then in the very next sentence the Post urges the Bush administration to "end [its] passivity." "Imperial intervention"? Where on earth would Chavez get that crazy idea? U.S. involvement and support for the coup against Chavez? Not even worth mentioning in this editorial. Wouldn't want to give the readers the impression that the U.S. is anything less than noble in its actions and intentions.

Make no mistake about it. Whatever minor divisions cropped up during the election, from Iran to North Korea to Venezuela, the ruling class is throwing itself wholeheartedly behind the Bush agenda.

As for the car-bombed judge, here is the Reuters story.


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