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137,026. Look what’s going on in Venezuela right now … Millions of people are crossing the border destabilizing Bolivia. (Biden & Venezuela) Joe Biden, December 2020, cited Washington Examiner
124,612. John Bolton states regime change in Venezuela is about the country’s oil. ‘It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce oil capabilities in Venezuela.' (Venezuela & Empire US) Iraqi Christian HRC online, Bolton statement Fox News
94,767. Until the Venezuelan people could be trusted to make the right decisions concerning their political and economic direction, and that time was deemed to be in the very distant future – it was best for all concerned that they be kept safe from democracy. Michael Krenn, US Policy Toward Economic Nationalism in Latin America
49,781. Democracy, as I said recently, before our people (as Lincoln said) has a simple definition – the difficulty is making it a reality. We are making it a reality: a government for the people, by the people and for the people. A society where people are included and are equal, where there is no exclusion, there is no poverty, where human values reign. (Democracy & Venezuela) Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president, interview John Pilger
49,977. I always say that we don’t want to be rich. Our aim is not material wealth. It is to live with dignity. Of course to come out of poverty, and to come out of extreme poverty, above all. And to live, to live with dignity, this is the objective ... The issue of poverty affects us deeply. It’s most of our daily struggle. (Poverty & Venezuela) Hugo Chavez
51,656. I'm a man with many defects. I love. I sing. I dream. I was born in the poor countryside. I was raised in the countryside, planting corn and selling sweets made by my grandmother. My children, my two daughters are with me and I want a better world for my grandchildren, for your grandchildren. (Countryside & Venezuela & Defects) Hugo Chavez
83,470. Mr Obama decided to attack us. Now you want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don’t be irresponsible. You are a clown. A clown. Leave us in peace ... Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people. (Obama & Venezuela) Hugo Chavez
92,593. Venezuela is a free country and we will not be blackmailed by anyone. We will not accept being told what to do over Iran; we will not accept being anyone’s colony. Hugo Chavez
99,044. The BBC described Chavez as ‘not so much a democrat as an autocrat’, echoing the Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, who abused him as ‘a ranting demagogue’. Alex Bellos, the Guardian’s South America correspondent, reported, as fact, that ‘pro-Chavez snipers had killed at least 13 people’ and that Chavez had requested exile in Cuba. ‘Thousands of people celebrated overnight, waving flags, blowing whistles …’ he wrote, leaving the reader with the clear impression that almost everybody in Venezuela was glad to see the back of this ‘playground bully’, as the Independent called him.
Within 48 hours, Chavez was back in office, put there by the mass of the people, who came out of the shanty towns in their tens of thousands. Defying the army, their heroism was in support of a leader whose democratic credentials are extraordinary in the Americas, south and north. Having won two presidential elections, the latest in 2000, by the largest majority in 40 years, as well as a referendum and local elections, Chavez was borne back to power by the impoverished majority whose ‘lot’, wrote Bellos, he had ‘failed to improve’ and among whom ‘his popularity had plummeted’.
The episode was a journalistic disgrace. Most of what Bellos and others wrote, using similar words and phrases, turned out to be wrong. In Bellos’s case, this was not surprising, as he was reporting from the wrong country, Brazil. Chavez said he never requested asylum in Cuba; the snipers almost certainly included agents provocateurs; ‘almost every sector of society [Chavez] antagonised’ were principally members of various oligarchies he made pay tax for the first time, including the media, and the oil companies, whose taxes he doubled in order to raise 80 per cent of the population to a decent standard of living. His opponents also included army officers trained at the notorious School of the Americas in the United States.
In a few years, Chavez had begun major reforms in favour of the indigenous poor, Venezuela’s unpeople. In 49 laws adopted by the Venezuelan Congress, he began real land reform, and guaranteed women’s rights and free healthcare and education up to university level.
He opposed the human rights abuses of the regime in neighbouring Colombia, encouraged and armed by Washington. He extended a hand to the victim of an illegal 40-year American blockade, Cuba, and sold the Cubans oil. These were his crimes, as well as saying that bombing children in Afghanistan was terrorism. Like Chile under Allende and Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, precious little of this was explained to the western public. Like the equally heroic uprising in Argentina last year, it was misrepresented as merely more Latin American chaos.
Last week, the admirable Glasgow University Media Group, under Greg Philo, released the results of a study which found that, in spite of the saturation coverage of the Middle East, most television viewers were left uninformed that the basic issue was Israel’s illegal military occupation. ‘The more you watch, the less you know’ - to quote Danny Schechter’s description of American television news - was the study’s conclusion.
Take US secretary of state Colin Powell’s ‘peace mission’. Regardless of America’s persistent veto of United Nations resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, and regardless of Powell calling Ariel Sharon ‘my personal friend’, an American ‘peace mission’ was the absurd news, repeated incessantly. Similarly, when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights last week voted 40-5 to condemn Israel for its ‘mass killing’, the news was not this near-unanimous expression of world opinion, but the British government's rejection of the resolution as ‘unbalanced’.
Journalists are often defensive when asked why they faithfully follow the deceptions of great power. It is not good enough for ITN to say dismissively, in response to the Glasgow Media Group findings, that ‘we are not in the business of giving a daily history lesson’, or for the BBC to waffle about its impartiality when some recent editions of Newsnight might have been produced by the Foreign Office. In these dangerous times, one of the most destructive weapons of all is pseudo-information. John Pilger, article April 2002 ‘The response of Britain's media to the conspiracy in Venezuela provided an object lesson in how censorship works in free societies’
92,584. This is Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, the voice of the barrios. Chavez and his supporters have won ten elections in eight years. He is the symbol of an awakening of people power, driven by great popular movements that are unique to Latin America. It’s no surprise that Chavez with the help of an aggressive media coverage has become a hate figure in the United States, because what he represents is another way and a threat to American domination. John Pilger, The War on Democracy
92,585. Ten years ago this clinic would not have been dreamed of. Now all over Venezuelan people have free health care. Many seeing a doctor for the first time in their lives. For the first time children of the poorest have a full day at school, and at least one hot meal a day ... And all of this is free. Under the constitution the poorest housewives are paid as workers. There is now close to full literacy. ibid.
92,586. Three years of modest democratic reform had been overturned. The plotters and their friends had everything to celebrate, or so they thought ... But hope had not gone. The truth began to emerge that the kidnap of Hugo Chavez had been faked. And the people in the barrios started to fight back. Down from the shanties they came to rescue their president ... Hundreds of thousands surrounded the palace, demanding the return of Chavez. Faced by such people power, the army turned! ... Roared on by such huge crowds, the Presidential Guard who had gone into hiding retook the palace and the plotters fled. Just forty-eight hours after being kidnapped, Chavez was back in power ... As ordinary Venezuelans celebrated the defence of their democracy, some of the leading plotters fled to Miami, and within days, it was clear that Washington had cast its shadow over the failed coup. The Bush administration had gone along with the lies of the plotters ... Not only did Washington know about the coup but it was backing and funding the plotters indirectly. ibid.
98,984. There are straightforward principles and dynamics at work here. Washington wants to get rid of the Venezuelan government because it is independent of US designs for the region and because Venezuela has the greatest proven oil reserves in the world and uses its oil revenue to improve the quality of ordinary lives. Venezuela remains a source of inspiration for social reform in a continent ravaged by an historically rapacious US. An Oxfam report once famously described the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua as ‘the threat of a good example’. That has been true in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez won his first election. The ‘threat’ of Venezuela is greater, of course, because it is not tiny and weak; it is rich and influential and regarded as such by China. The remarkable change in fortunes for millions of people in Latin America is at the heart of US hostility. The US has been the undeclared enemy of social progress in Latin America for two centuries. It doesn’t matter who has been in the White House: Barack Obama or Teddy Roosevelt; the US will not tolerate countries with governments and cultures that put the needs of their own people first and refuse to promote or succumb to US demands and pressures. A reformist social democracy with a capitalist base – such as Venezuela – is not excused by the rulers of the world. What is inexcusable is Venezuela's political independence; only complete deference is acceptable. The ‘survival’ of Chavista Venezuela is a testament to the support of ordinary Venezuelans for their elected government – that was clear to me when I was last there. Venezuela’s weakness is that the political ‘opposition’ – those I would call the ‘East Caracas Mob’ – represent powerful interests who have been allowed to retain critical economic power. Only when that power is diminished will Venezuela shake off the constant menace of foreign-backed, often criminal s ubversion. No society should have to deal with that, year in, year out. John Pilger, article February 2015 The Struggle of Venezuala Against a Common Enemy, viz website
92,587. I think the supreme test was the coup d’etat of 2002. I was made a prisoner, they took me away and I thought I was going to die. Now the Venezuelan people, the poor without weapons, went in. Hundreds of thousands went on to the streets to ask for my life, asking for Chavez to return. And so I have nothing left to do especially after that but dedicate all my life I have left to those people, and above all the most deprived, the poorest. Jim Fleischer, interview The War on Democracy
123,429. President Obama you remember called Venezuela a threat to the security of the United States. John Pilger, Going Underground, RT 662 October 2018
92,588. It is interesting to me how this system has continued pretty much the same way for years and years and years, except the economic hit-men get better and better and better. Then we come up with very recently what happened in Venezuela in 1998 when Chavez gets elected president, following a long line of presidents who had been very corrupt, and basically destroyed the economy of the country ... Chavez stood up to the United States, and he’d done it primarily demanding that Venezuelan oil be used to help the Venezuelan people. Well, we didn’t like that in the United States. So in 2002 a coup was staged, which is no question in my mind and in most other people’s minds, that the CIA was behind that coup. The way that that coup was fomented was very reflective of what Colonel Roosevelt had done in Iran of paying people to go out into the streets, to riot, to protest, to say this Chavez is very unpopular. If you can get a few thousand people to do that, television can make it look like it’s the whole country, and things start to mushroom, except in the case of Chavez, he was smart enough, and the people were so strongly behind him that they overcame it; which was a phenomenal moment in the history of Latin America. John Perkins, author Confessions of an Economic Hitman
92,589. It’s finally clear this is a coup. The President has refused to resign. He is being taken prisoner – this is a coup. Let the world know. It’s a coup! [loud applause from people assembled] A coup against the people who love him! (Venezuela & Coup) Ana Elisa Osorio, environment minister, 2002 coup attempt by opposition, announcing ultimatum delivered by opposition troops for president Hugo Chavez to resign
92,591. November 25 2008: He calls Castro his idol. And the United States an enemy. To his followers he is Venezuela’s hope; to his critics he is at worse a dictator and at best a master of the media. Frontline: The Hugo Chavez Show, PBS
92,592. The fact is ... that when totalitarian nations like China and Saudi Arabia play ball with US business interests, we like them just fine. But when Venezuela’s freely elected president threatens powerful corporate interests, the Bush administration treats him as an enemy. Robert Scheer
94,873. In oil-rich Venezuela, over 40 percent live in extreme poverty according to official figures, and the food situation is considered ‘hyper-critical’ the Chamber of Food Industries reported in 1989. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
100,539. ‘Here in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America we were being taken over by the savage project of neo-liberalism with its claim that there’s a hidden hand which regulates the market. It’s a lie, a lie! A lie a thousand times over! Of course there are alternatives and we in Venezuela we are proving it! (Venezuela & Lie & Market) The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Chavez: Inside the Coup, 2003, Chavez to crowd
100,540. 2002: ‘Following a military coup, Venezuela is apparently under the control of the army.’ ibid. news
100,541. Chavez had promised to redistribute the wealth and involved people in political projects. ibid.
100,542. Chavez held a weekly radio and television show where any citizen could phone in and talk directly to the president. ibid.
100,543. ‘We need to inspire the community to get involved.’ ibid. Chavez
100,544. Under Chavez there was now total freedom of expression. ibid.
100,545. For decades the state oil company had been run like a private corporation by the traditional ruling class. (Venezuela & Oil) ibid.
100,546. Soon it became clear we were being shot at by snipers. (Venezuela & Coup) ibid.