Tag Archives | Venezuela
Francisco Toro writes that the international press is missing the big picture when it comes to covering unrest in Venezuela. Toro and his colleagues at the Caracas Chronicles say that the pictures we’re getting aren’t random scenes of unrest, but are instead evidence of a highly organized government crackdown.
… Read the rest
Dear International Editor:
Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.
What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.
Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.
People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees.
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, also known as Chávez: Inside the Coup, is a 2003 documentary focusing on events in Venezuela leading up to and during the April 2002 coup d'état attempt, which saw President Hugo Chávez removed from office for two days. With particular emphasis on the role played by Venezuela's private media, the film examines several key incidents: the protest march and subsequent violence that provided the impetus for Chávez's ousting; the opposition's formation of an interim government headed by business leader Pedro Carmona; and the Carmona administration's collapse, which paved the way for Chávez's return.”
In less than a month, tens of thousands of devotees to the cigar-smoking and liquor-swilling Venezuelan religious cult, El Espiritismo Marialioncero, will make their yearly pilgrimage to Sorte Mountain. Located there is their most important spiritual site: a shrine to Maria Lionza, their highest deity, the spirit of a departed native chief’s daughter.
It is impossible to pin down exactly who Maria Lionza was, the differing accounts of her history being numerous and varied. Whether or not she was an actual historical figure is still argued. Few hints can be gathered from the many disassociated images of her, some showing a crowned, green-eyed girl surrounded by the forest and animals, and some, like the famous statue by Alejandro Colina standing beside the Francisco Fajardo Highway in Caracas, depicting a warrior woman, astride a tapir, holding a female pelvis above her head.
One of the more common stories places her birth sometime during the 16th century, among the native Nivar tribe. Her birth name was Yara, which, in an attempt by the Spanish to Christianize her story, would later be changed to Maria. It is said that the tribe’s shaman prophesied the coming of a green-eyed girl who would have to be sacrificed to the Great Anaconda to divert the destruction of the tribe. Yara’s father, upon seeing her eyes, decided to save the baby from her would-be killers, and hid her in a cave. She grew up there, watched over by twenty-two warriors, until the day she sneaked away and visited the nearby lagoon. There, the Great Anaconda caught sight of her, and, falling in love with her, demanded she come away with him. Yara refused, and in retaliation, he swallowed her whole. But immediately, the Great Anaconda began to swell, displacing the waters of the lagoon, and flooding the village, destroying the tribe. He continued to swell until he burst, and the unscathed Yara emerged.… Read the rest
A Venezuelan government minister on Wednesday urged citizens to shut Facebook accounts to avoid being unwitting informants for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, referring to recent revelations about U.S. surveillance programs. Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who is stuck in a Moscow airport while seeking to avoid capture by the United States, last month leaked details about American intelligence agencies obtaining information from popular websites including Facebook. "Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts, you've been working for free as CIA informants...
The western media can’t comprehend why Hugo Chavez used Venezuela’s oil wealth to pull his nation’s population out of poverty, when he could have built an indoor artificial ski mountain like in Dubai. Earlier this month from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:
… Read the rest
One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death comes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):
‘Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.’
That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre.
This past fall, the Independent‘s Owen Jones wrote that Hugo Chavez’s towering feat was “proving it is possible to lead a popular, progressive government that breaks with neo-liberal dogma”:
… Read the rest
Even opponents of Chavez told me that he is the first Venezuelan president to care about the poor. Since his landslide victory in 1998, extreme poverty has dropped from nearly a quarter to 8.6 per cent last year; unemployment has halved; and GDP per capita has more than doubled. Rather than ruining the economy – as his critics allege – oil exports have surged from $14.4bn to $60bn in 2011, providing revenue to spend on Chavez’s ambitious social programs, the so-called “missions”.
But when it comes to his relationship with his opposition, Chavez has arguably been pretty lenient. Many of them – including [recent presidential opponent] Capriles – were involved in a US-backed, Pinochet-style military coup in 2002, which failed only after Chavez’s supporters took to the streets.
Kim Monaghan and I recorded an epic episode of Coincidence Control Network today. It’ll likely go live by Thursday. During the recording Monaghan was moved to declare his love for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The legally elected Chavez has been vilified as a mad dictator despite the fact that his political roots reach back to his heroic resistance of the former Venezuelan government that ordered soldiers to kill citizens during an uprising.
Tonight, news reports that Chavez has died are all frantically emerging across the mediascape. Chavez had cancer and had contracted a severe infection.
Oliver Stone’s South of the Border (2009) profiles Chavez, picturing a hero of the Venezuelan people who is vilified for his anti-business politics – in other words, he wouldn’t take orders from America. The film also pictures Chavez as the de facto leader of a “pink wave” of socialist leaders who have emerged throughout the region: : Evo Morales of Bolivia; Cristina Kirchner and former president Néstor Kirchner of Argentina; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; Raúl Castro of Cuba; Fernando Lugo of Paraguay; and Lula da Silva of Brazil.… Read the rest
Fancy a trip? The Guardian reports:
The as-yet-unexplained disappearance last Friday of the plane carrying six passengers and crew, including Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni, has prompted some to blame the “Los Roques curse”.
There have been a series of mysterious plane crashes and “vanishings” over the past decade or so between the Caribbean archipelago of Los Roques, where Missoni’s plane disappeared mid-air, and the Venezuelan capital Caracas, 140km to the south. Inevitably, comparisons have been made with the infamous Bermuda Triangle, the area between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico that has long had a reputation for unexplained disappearances of ships and planes.
To date, no wreckage of Missoni’s plane has been located since it took off from Los Roques for Caracas. Venezuela’s civil aviation authority said the aircraft’s last recorded position was 18km south of the Los Roques.
Humanitarian organization Survival International made headlines last week when it announced that a village of the Yanomami, an indigenous people living in a remote region of Venezuela, had been massacred by gold miners. Now, it seems, Survival International is in the unenviable position of having to withdraw the story after Venezuelan authorities found the Yanomami alive and well. Read and cringe:
Venezuelan officials said a team sent to the area had found no bodies and no evidence of an attack.
The attack was alleged to have happened in the remote Irotatheri community, close to the border with Brazil.
Survival carried reports from Yanomami organisations which described how illegal gold miners had set fire to a communal house, and how witnesses said they had found burnt bodies.
There were said to be three survivors.
On Monday, Survival International said this account did not appear to be correct…
While Survival International states that the report was incorrect, other advocacy groups have claimed that the Venezuelan government simply may have found the wrong village.… Read the rest