'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Iron Fist of FOX News 

Below are somes excerpts from a FOX News article called, I kid you not, "The Iron Fist of Hugo Chavez":

Hugo Chavez, the left-wing leader who is moving toward totalitarian rule at home in Venezuela and backing guerrilla movements in the region, could become a test for the new Bush administration.

"I think we have to view, at this point, the government of Venezuela as a negative force in the region," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearings last month.

Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil producer; Chavez basically controls 15 percent of U.S. oil imports. He allegedly is taking billions of dollars in revenue to grease the way to one-man rule of a country with a 50-year history of democracy.

His critics say the government's use of its oil wealth threatens the region.

Venezuela's oil revenues subsidize food prices for the poor, although a large bottle of cooking oil can cost just pennies. The money generated from the $50-per-barrel cost also is being used to buy weapons such as 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 30 attack helicopters from the Russians. There also have been discussions about a possible $4 billion purchase of advanced MiG fighter jets.

One U.S. State Department official noted, "We shoot down MiGs."

Yeah, state subsidy of food prices really is crazy. Everybody knows that the only sensible thing for a Latin American country to do with public assets is hand them over to transnational corporations. The line in the above about "a large bottle of cooking oil" only costing pennies is just priceless. I'm not even sure what it means really. It's like FOX News is denying that the Venezuelan poor actually exists. You know, everybody can afford things that are just pennies.

And military spending? That's nuts too. Chavez obviously is a bloodthirsty psychopath. What could Venezuela possibly need with 100,000 Kalashnikovs? -- I mean it's not like the most powerful nation in the history of mankind has been rattling its saber at little Venezuela for the past several months or anything. It's not like said nation actively backed an attempt to overthrow Venezuela's popular and democratically elected president a few years ago, and it's not like said nation's private propagandists publish news articles with names like "The Iron Fist of Venezuela's Popular and Democratically Elected President".

It's just too bad the Soviet Union is gone because now FOX News can't paint Chavez's Venezuela as a Soviet client state as it would have if 2005 was 1985 and Venezuela was Nicaragua. But there must be a way ... let's see what could it be ...

Political science professor Anibal Romero called Chavez a "dangerous fellow, a confused person who is deeply anti-American and is prepared to do terrible things."

Oil also is sold at cut-rate prices to Cuba, which in exchange supplies doctors, teachers and military advisors to Venezuela. Chavez opponents say Cuban leader Fidel Castro is his model.

"Some people here are very worried about what's going to happen. … If you don't have rules or somebody who respects the rules, they can do whatever they want — they can be [another] Fidel Castro," said Baruta Mayor Henrique Capriles.

Oh, yes, Cuba! The Soviet Union may be gone but thankfully for propagandists everywhere we still have little Cuba, fearsome and all-powerful.

Chavez's opponents admit he is popular, especially among the poor. But being popular, they say, does not give the president the right to do whatever he wants. The police, military and armed thugs have been tools used freely by Chavez to hang on to power during a coup attempt and a national strike in 2002.

Yeah, what gives a president the right to do whatever he wants apparently is winning an election with 51% of the popular vote.

"Our own journalists don't know whether they can show whatever it is they are trying to cover," said Ana Christina Nunez, legal counsel for Globovision, the country's only 24-hour news channel.

But Chavez's program, "Hello, President," sometimes runs for six hours.

FOX News complaining about bias in Venezuelan television ... you'll have to make up your own joke about that...

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