Attacking Venezuela's Democratic Process
Attacking Venezuela's Democratic Process
by Stephen Lendman
Jimmy Carter calls Venezuelan elections the world's best. He does so for good reason. They shame America's sham process. Duopoly power controls things. People have no say.
Venezuelans get the real thing. It's constitutionally mandated. It's democracy the way it should be. It's one of many Bolivarian successes. They reflect Chavez's extraordinary legacy. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
He's gone. Chavismo lives. On April 14, Venezuelans again vote. Acting President Nicolas Maduro carries Chavez's torch.
He's PSUV's (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) candidate. He'll face opposition Rountable of Democratic Unity (MUD) leader Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Last October, Chavez defeated him decisively. He represents what most Venezuelans deplore. Polls show Maduro way ahead. Expect him winning easily. Only his victory margin remains to be determined. It may be more than predicted.
On April 8, the Carter Center accepted Venezuela's National Election Council invitation. It'll "send a small delegation to accompany the Venezuelan people during the April 14 presidential election."
"While respecting the norms of non-intervention in internal affairs of other countries, The Carter Center hopes the political parties will preserve an appropriate climate to hold constructive dialogue after the election."
There's good reason for concern. Destabilization may precede or follow election day. Washington and internal dark forces prioritize disruptions. Anything is possible now or later.
Roger Noreiga is a former neocon US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. He's an unindicted war criminal.
He wants neoliberal harshness replacing Bolivarianism. His March 5 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) post-Chavez checklist states:
"As Venezuelan democrats wage that struggle against chavismo, regional leaders must make clear that Syria-style repression will never be tolerated in the Americas."
"We should defend the right of Venezuelans to struggle democratically to reclaim control of their country and its future. Only Washington can make clear to Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and Cuban leaders that, yes, the United States does mind if they try to sustain an undemocratic and hostile regime in Venezuela."
"Any attempt to suppress their self-determination with Chinese cash, Russian arms, Iranian terrorists, or Cuban thuggery will be met with a coordinated regional response."
His follow-up April 3 article said "Maduro's campaign speeches consist of goofy gestures, lame jokes, and trivial anecdotes - mixed in with macabre accusations about plots to murder his opponent - that may be desperate attempts to mask his incompetence but only serve to demonstrate his ineptitude and inability to lead."
"In virtually any other serious country, (he'd) be dispatched at the ballot box. But in Venezuela, this silly character will take power by hook or by crook."
Noreiga called his agenda "malicious." "Cuban puppeteers manage him."
Right-wing think tanks and media scoundrels attack Bolivarian successes relentlessly. They do so maliciously.
On April 9, Foreign Policy contributor Peter Wilson headlined "An Election for the Birds," saying:
Maduro's "gone to great lengths to imitate" Chavez. He wears "the same red, yellow, and blue jackets."
He "often breaks out in song." His "stump speeches, which have a Bible-tent revival-meeting flavor, are peppered with the same insults that Chavez" used in October.
"In this crazy Venezuelan election, anything is possible."
Wall Street Journal contributor Mary O'Grady reflects the worst of right-wing journalism. She deplores democracy. She champions neoliberal harshness.
She turns truth on its head. She supports wealth, power and privilege. She features managed news misinformation.
On April 4, she headlined "Cuba's Venezuelan Pawn," saying:
"Cuba has long had its eye on Venezuela's oil, and Mr. Maduro seems to have been in training to help with that goal for decades."
"Venezuela has a constitution but doesn't use it much."
"Cuba seems to have been grooming" Maduro for president post-Chavez. He's a "Castro intelligence" collaborator. He's Chavez's "natural heir. All that's left now is the formality."
O'Grady deplores Bolivarian successes. She's malicious. Her mandate is distorting truth. She wouldn't recognize it if it bit her on the rump.
Other media scoundrels have their own crosses to bear.
On April 6, the Washington Post headlined an AP report "Say again? Venezuela's presidential candidates trade barbs, zingers in animated campaign."
It quotes Capriles saying "Of course I can win. The act of voting is a rational, and emotional, act." It matters little how far behind he is. Days ahead of Sunday's election, popular sentiment is one-way.
According to Capriles:
"I don’t think there is any poll that can take a snapshot of what is happening in Venezuela."
Voters, of course, have final say. Few doubt who they favor.
On April 7, the Post headlined a follow-up AP report headlined "Venezuelan opposition floods streets of capital in show of support for candidate," saying:
Capriles called "the big turnout….evidence that he'd win….Today the streets of Caracas were filled with happiness, today the streets of Caracas were filled with hope, today the streets of Caracas confirm what’s going to happen."
Chavista turnouts consistently way outnumber public opposition support. It doesn't surprise. Bolivarianism's institutionalized. Most Venezuelans won't tolerate oligarch rule. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
On April 7, the BBC accused Chavez of putting a curse on rival voters. It suggested Maduro is crazy, vengeful, or out-of-control.
When Chavez died, the BBC asked "Is the era of the anti-American bogeymen at an end?"
Chavez was anti-empire. Conflating it with being anti-American doesn't wash. The term itself is oxymoronic. No one in France suggests opposing government policies is anti-French.
Challenging Canadian, UK, or German ones isn't anti-Canadian, anti-British or anti-German. It's true virtually everywhere in democratic societies or quasi-ones.
Noam Chomsky calls the anti-American "concept….an interesting one. The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships."
"Thus, in the old Soviet Union, dissidents were condemned as 'anti-Soviet.' "
"That's a natural usage among people with deeply rooted totalitarian instincts, which identify state policy with the society, the people, the culture."
"In contrast, people with even the slightest concept of democracy treat such notions with ridicule and contempt."
Only in America. What's largely unimaginable or exceptional elsewhere in free societies, or quasi-free ones, is commonplace here.
Throughout his tenure, Chavez was relentlessly assailed. New York Times articles, commentaries and editorials did so. They still do. On March 6, it headlined "Hugo Chavez," saying:
He "dominated Venezuelan politics for 14 years with his charismatic personality, populist policies and authoritarian methods before his death this week."
"His redistributionist policies brought better living conditions to millions of poor Venezuelans."
"But his legacy is stained by the undermining of democratic institutions and the embrace of malevolent foreign leaders like Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran."
Chavez advocated unity and solidarity. He treated world leaders respectfully. He challenged imperial Washington responsibly.
Times editors support returning Venezuela to its ugly past. They want Big Oil able to plunder its resources freely.
They accused Chavez of "squander(ing billions) through inept and careless management." They falsely claim "the financial ability to sustain (his) social programs has been seriously eroded."
On April 8, The Times headlined "Even in Death, Chavez Is a Powerful Presence," saying:
Maduro isn't "the first political candidate to invoke (his) name (to) win votes."
"With all the temporal troubles Venezuela faces….Maduro's campaign has done its best to leverage the spiritual, emphasizing his close, continuing ties to the deceased leader."
"At times, it seems as if Mr. Chavez is running again himself." His images appear everywhere. His campaign songs "blast from loudspeakers."
Maduro calls himself "the son of Chavez."
He was "a charismatic populist and a thorn in the side of Washington. (He) pilloried (America) as an imperial force of evil as he reaped the financial benefits of Venezuela's being the fourth-largest foreign supplier to the the United States."
Maduro "accuses former American diplomats of plotting to kill him. (He) slammed the door on talks aimed at improving relations between the two countries."
Truth and full disclosure isn't The Times' long suit. Managed news misinformation substitutes. It's longstanding editorial policy. Same old, same old continues.
On April 10, The New York Times headlined "Star Hurls Musical Barbs Before Venezuela's Vote," saying:
Bronx-born Willie Colon has Puerto Rican roots. "Without naming Mr. Maduro outright, (his) song refers to him as "Fresh Lies," a nickname that opposition candidate (Capriles) use(s) for his opponent."
"Mr. Chavez, a socialist, was a polarizing figure." Colon's song accuses him of a litany of problems. Exaggeration, distortion, and misinformation substitute for Bolivarian achievements.
The web site SoundCloud features it. Through Wednesday, it's been played "more than 670,000 times." It's "one of the most frequently played Latin songs since last Friday."
On April 5, Los Angeles Times editors headlined "Pull back the curtain, Venezuela," saying:
"It's not too late for the country to show it wants fair and transparent elections. Monitors should be invited in to observe the vote to replace President Hugo Chavez."
Venezuelan elections are the world's best. International monitors observe them. They concur unanimously. They're open, free and fair.
LA Times editors claimed Venezuela's National Election Council didn't invite international monitors this time. Not so.
As explained above, the Carter Center accepted its invitation. It's sending a small delegation to observe.
On April 9, ABC News/Univision headlined "Radical Socialists Attack Student Protesters in Venezuela," saying:
They "demand fair elections." They claim Venezuela's process is "rigged." Maduro supporters "descended from their vehicles and verbally insulted" them. "A chaotic melee ensued."
Al Jazeera features pro-Western propaganda. Qatar despots run it. It partnered with Washington-lead NATO's anti-Gaddafi coalition. It's involved the same way against Syria.
On April 9, it headlined "Chavez's cult figure shaping Venezuelan polls," saying:
Unnamed "critics say the government, including administration candidate Nicolas Maduro, is shamelessly exploiting Chavez's image for electoral gain."
Quasi-progressive organizations, web sites, and media operations support Western imperialism.
CIA/CFR/Trilateral Commission-connected corporate foundations provide funding. Well-known ones include Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Soros, and MacArthur.
Money from these sources is tainted. It's dirty. It expects services rendered in return. Conflicts of interest are rife. NGOs like Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) are imperial agents.
HRW claims Chavez's presidency was characterized by "open disregard for basic human rights guarantees." It lied saying so.
On April 4, AI listed five priorities for Venezuela ahead of elections. They include "public security, prisons, freedom of expression and association, violence against women, and international human rights scrutiny."
It maliciously distorted truth. It omitted Bolivarian successes. It's not surprising. It's common AI practice. It's well rewarded for doing so.
On April 14, Venezuelans vote. Expect lots more misreporting. It's what media scoundrels and anti-progressive organizations do best. They shill for power and show it.
Propaganda substitutes for truth and full disclosure. Readers, viewers, and loyal followers are betrayed in the process. It's happening again now.
A Final Comment
On April 10, Venezuela Analysis said PSUV leader Diosdado Cabello "presented evidence, including phone recordings, documents, and emails, allegedly proving that the opposition has plans to not recognise the 14 April presidential election results."
It doesn't surprise. Destabilization is policy. Washington provides generous funding. Dark forces sabotage Venezuela's electricity system.
On April 11, a Caracas friend, Jose Herrera, emailed this writer saying Venezolana de Television (VTV) said "some people purchased or had someone send them guns the military just caught."
They "had 100 and magazine dispensers." What's happening raises concerns. Expect anything ahead of Sunday's election. Washington and dark Venezuelan forces operate that way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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