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NY Times editorial: ""Hugo Chavez Departs"

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  • Walter Lippmann
    Definitely worth re-reading this as the braying media proceeds with all it can muster to mobilize hatred of and opposition to Chavez in the upcoming reform
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2007
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      Definitely worth re-reading this as the braying media proceeds with all
      it can muster to mobilize hatred of and opposition to Chavez in the
      upcoming reform referendum on Sunday. As, of course, was quickly shown,
      Chavez never did resign, but the NYT, like the rest of the corporate
      media, reported the story circulated by the coup plotters as if it was
      fact, hoping, of course, to turn it into fact. We're getting something
      very similar in the reporting on supposed poll results now in Venezuela.

      Walter Lippmann
      Havana, Cuba

      From: Michael Munk <lastmarx@...>
      To: walterlx@...
      Subject: [national] NYTimes: Hugo Chavez Departs
      Date: Dec 1, 2007 4:34 AM

      It's hard to avoid the hysteria the NYTimes is trying to generate about the
      Venezuelan vote on Sunday. Simon Romero, its dependable critic of the
      elected President in Caracas, has contributed major articles in recent days
      (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/world/americas/30venez.html) and
      Friday Jens Gould joined him in the business section
      Saturday an oped appearsd from a general Baduel who previously supported the

      President and who Romero has been boosting in his dispatches

      As the following ediorial makes clear, the Times is not an objective
      observer of Venezuela. If we remind ourselvesof its editorial support for
      the military putsch that, with US backing, briefly overthrew an elected
      President, perhaps we will better understand its current campaign.

      Hugo Chávez Departs
      New York Times: April 13, 2002

      With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan
      democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez,
      a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and
      handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona. But
      democracy has not yet been restored, and won't be until a new
      president is elected. That vote has been scheduled for next spring,
      with new Congressional elections to be held by this December. The
      prompt announcement of a timetable is welcome, but a year seems
      rather long to wait for a legitimately elected president.

      Washington has a strong stake in Venezuela's recovery. Caracas now
      provides 15 percent of American oil imports, and with sounder
      policies could provide more. A stable, democratic Venezuela could
      help anchor a troubled region where Colombia faces expanded guerrilla
      warfare, Peru is seeing a rebirth of terrorism and Argentina
      struggles with a devastating economic crisis. Wisely, Washington
      never publicly demonized Mr. Chávez, denying him the role of
      nationalist martyr. Rightly, his removal was a purely Venezuelan

      Public faith in Venezuela's institutions began eroding well before
      Mr. Chávez burst on the scene with a failed 1992 coup. Corruption
      discredited both main parties, and a patronage-fueled bureaucracy
      devoured the country's abundant oil revenues, leaving many
      Venezuelans desperately poor. Mr. Chávez was elected president in
      1998 promising change he never delivered. He courted Fidel Castro and
      Saddam Hussein, battled the media and alienated virtually every
      constituency from middle-class professionals, academics and business
      leaders to union members and the Roman Catholic Church.

      This week's crisis began with a general strike against replacing
      professional managers at the state oil company with political
      cronies. It took a grave turn Thursday when armed Chávez supporters
      fired on peaceful strikers, killing at least 14 and injuring
      hundreds. Mr. Chávez's response was characteristic. He forced five
      private television stations off the air for showing pictures of the
      massacre. Early yesterday he was compelled to resign by military
      commanders unwilling to order their troops to fire on fellow
      Venezuelans to keep him in power. He is being held at a military base
      and may face charges in Thursday's killings.

      New presidential elections should be held this year, perhaps at the
      same time the new Congress is chosen. Some time is needed for
      plausible national leaders to emerge and parties to reorganize. But
      Venezuela urgently needs a leader with a strong democratic mandate to
      clean up the mess, encourage entrepreneurial freedom and slim down
      and professionalize the bureaucracy.

      One encouraging development has been the strong participation of
      middle-class citizens in organizing opposition groups and street
      protests. Continued civic participation could help revitalize
      Venezuela's tired political parties and keep further military
      involvement to a minimum.
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