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Forum Post: Why The US Demonises Venezuela's Democracy By Mark Weisbrot

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 5, 2012, 1:04 p.m. EST by flip (7101)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

On 30 May, Dan Rather, one of America's best-known journalists,announced that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez would die "in a couple of months at most". Four months later Chávez is not only alive and campaigning but widely expected to win re-election on Sunday.

Such is the state of misrepresentation of Venezuela – it is probably the most lied-about country in the world – that a journalist can say almost anything about Chávez or his government and it is unlikely to be challenged, so long as it is negative. Even worse, Rather referred to Chávez as "the dictator" – a term that few, if any, political scientists familiar with the country would countenance.

Here is what Jimmy Carter said about Venezuela's "dictatorship" a few weeks ago: "As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world."

Carter won a Nobel prize for his work through the election-monitoringCarter Center, which has observed and certified past Venezuelan elections. But because Washington has sought for more than a decade to delegitimise Venezuela's government, his viewpoint is only rarely reported. His latest comments went unreported in almost all of the US media.

In Venezuela, voters touch a computer screen to cast their vote and then receive a paper receipt, which they verify and deposit in a ballot box. Most of the paper ballots are compared with the electronic tally. This system makes vote-rigging nearly impossible: to steal the vote would require hacking the computers and then stuffing the ballot boxes to match the rigged vote.

Unlike in the US, where in a close vote we really have no idea who won (see Bush v Gore), Venezuelans can be sure that their vote counts. And also unlike the US, where as many as 90 million eligible voters will not vote in November, the government in Venezuela has done everything to increase voter registration (now at a record of about 97%) and participation.

Yet the US foreign policy establishment (which includes most of the American and western media) seethes with contempt for Venezuela's democratic process. In a report timed for the elections, the so-called Committee to Protect Journalists says that the government controls a "media empire", neglecting to inform its readers that Venezuelan state TV has only about 5-8% of the country's audience. Of course, Chávez can interrupt normal programming with his speeches (under a law that pre-dates his administration), and regularly does so. But the opposition still has most of the media, including radio and print media – not to mention most of the wealth and income of the country.

The opposition will probably lose this election not because of the government's advantages of incumbency – which are abused throughout the hemisphere, including the United States, but because the living standards of the majority of Venezuelans have dramatically improved under Chávez. Since 2004, when the government gained control over the oil industry and the economy had recovered from the devastating, extra-legal attempts to overthrow it (including the 2002 US-backed military coup and oil strike of 2002-2003), poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income. Millions have access to healthcare for the first time, and college enrolment has doubled, with free tuition for many students. Inequality has also been considerably reduced. By contrast, the two decades that preceded Chávez amount to one of the worst economic failures in Latin America, with real income per person actually falling by 14% between 1980 and 1998.

In Washington, democracy has a simple definition: does a government do what the state department wants it to do? And of course here, the idea of politicians actually delivering on what they promised to voters is also an unfamiliar concept. So it is not just Venezuela that regularly comes under fire from the Washington establishment: all of the left and newly independent governments of South America, including Argentina, Ecuador, and Bolivia are in the crosshairs (although Brazil is considered too big to get the same treatment except from the right). The state department tries to keep its eyes on the prize: Venezuela is sitting on 500bn barrels of oil, and doesn't respect Washington's foreign policy. That is what makes it public enemy number one, and gets it the worst media coverage.

But Venezuela is part of a "Latin American spring" that has produced the most democratic, progressive, and independent group of governments that the region has ever had. They work together, and Venezuela has solid support among its neighbours. This is the former president of Brazil, Lula da Silva, last month: "A victory for Chávez is not just a victory for the people of Venezuela but also a victory for all the people of Latin America … this victory will strike another blow against imperialism."

South America's support is Venezuela's best guarantee against continuing attempts by Washington – which is still spending millions of dollars within the country in addition to unknown covert funds – to undermine, delegitimise, and destabilise democracy in Venezuela.



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[-] 3 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Great post.

Sad that our media is too fascist to report the comments of an ex-President.

To all those who call Chavez a dictator, you're insane. Bush stole his elections (why isn't he in jail?), Chavez won his.

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

it is pretty crazy how they deal with him but he is a huge threat to their plans.

[-] 5 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

No wonder he is. Read this.


With the confirmation that Venezuela possesses the largest oil reserves on Earth, the predatory capitalists are aching to knock the Venezuelan economy and government to its knees. When President Hugo Chavez deflected the coup launched against him in 2002, he showed the world that David can still beat down Goliath, that the bully in the North can be defeated. His actions gave hope to people and politicians throughout the hemisphere.

Since then a revolution has swept Latin America. Ten countries voted in presidents who have said “NO” to exploitation by foreign corporations and governments. It is especially significant that every one of those countries was ruled by dictators with close ties to the CIA for many of the post-World War II years.

One of the new Latin American leaders, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Illinois. He says that he can see no reason why capitalism should not permit his country to use its petroleum resources to help the poorest of the poor pull themselves out of poverty. He will, he says, work with international oil companies because they have the necessary technology, but only if they share a much larger portion of the revenues with the people of his country. He also publicly proclaimed that Ecuador is not obligated to pay much of its foreign debt since its loans were signed by unelected military dictators, coerced and bribed by the World Bank, CIA, IMF, and people with my old job (economic hit men).

Today Correa is under attack. His administration is accused of collaborating with international crime syndicates and drug traffickers. While I have not seen inside information to confirm or deny these accusations, I can say that character assassination is always a risk for those who oppose predatory capitalism.

[-] 4 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago

Thank you Builder. Important post!

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

You're most welcome.

Information dissemination is what we are here for.

[-] 3 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

land of the free and home of the brave - right?

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

What better front could a gang of criminals hope to possess?

Perhaps that's why religious piety is part of the sham?

Gotta demonise those who fail to play the game.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 5 years ago

poor pull themselves out of poverty.

it's like the oil was already there, and they just pulled in out of the ground

but nothing is for free...

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 5 years ago

Good post Builder. "Collaborating with international crime syndicates and drug traffickers"------That sounds like the US government.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

I hate to say it Nevada1, but I'm thinking that most of the crime syndicates and drug traffickers have "lobbied" their way into our political system.

The Mexican cartels were supplied with weapons just recently?

Fast and Furious, or something like that.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 5 years ago

You are correct.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Greedy people will kill us all.

So keen to see the end, now that I can see it coming.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago

Wow...that's heavy, Builder.

Norman Dodd explains exactly how they did it in this brilliant interview (which I think should be OWS mandatory education) that 'Middleaged' brought to our attention...


After that you may need to listen to something like this. He's one of your own...and I haven't been able to stop listening to him.

Tommy Emmanuel



[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

Oh, the man on the axe?

Love Tommy. He's such a devoted father as well as a great guitarist.

My comment meant that I want all the worst of what the oligarchs have planned to come in my lifetime, because I want to be at the coalface, doing my best to battle the bastards.

I'm so over telling people how bad things really are. Nobody here believes me. Got a good feedback today posting a link to some people, but it's a slow road here in the land of OZ.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago

The axe? Not quite sure what that means.

I hear this a lot from 'awakened' people...and its the same for me. My family doesn't believe me either. Very recently, I got a glimmer of hope when my wealthy political brother-in-law from the US finally started speaking about the elite oligarchs and how they operate. You could have heard a pin drop in the room, but they actually looked like they were contemplating what he was saying. I don't get it...I take every opportunity to learn everything I can...and am frustrated when I can't enough time to learn even more. And they don't even want to know.

I love 'em, but man, its like they're twanged or something. You know?! I see the wheel spinning...but the hamster looks dead.

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

The "axe" means the guitar.

I hear what you're saying with trying to spread the real word. People look at me like I'm a born-again trying to get them to come to a revivalist meeting. Online, I get called everything from "foil-hatter" to "minisculist" (tiny brainer), and everything in between.

I'm guessing that the penny drops for some thinkers, but they simply can't comprehend that those at the controls aren't like Captain Kirk and Doctor Spock. They don't have everyone's well-being in mind when making major decisions about policy.

Greed and personal gain rules parasitic state capitalism. There's no "me" in there at all.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago


Oh gees...I've only understood the bigger picture for a little over a year. Big pharma(mandatory vaccines) was how I got into it initially. Then I went on a major learning curve. I have to say, it blew me away and took a while before I got my equilibrium back.

They'll slightly listen if I talk about it from the 'banker' financial side of it. But if I even hint at NWO or globalists. Glazed eyes.

I see it happening all around us. If it were just me, I'd be able to put it in perspective...but its difficult watching my kids' lives be affected by the NWO, especially regarding their education. The globalists' meddling, and the 'dumbing down' is frustrating. I talk to my kids about it openly, so at least they are aware. The latest issue is, my 9 year old daughter came home from school with papers for me to sign for her class to be involved in a '2 year study', by US (we're in Canada) 'psychiatrists' to evaluate their 'math' skills, as a group...not as individuals. I've read of this NWO 'giving up the self for the good of the group' mentality. I'm livid! As you can imagine. I did not sign the papers.

You're doing good here though. You have people's respect, while still getting the word out. We gotta keep on keepin' on

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago


What do you think of Lee Camp's work?


[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago

Ran out of reply space to below.

Peace back at you, Builder. I'm at 4:30 am....and I'm deliriously tired. Time to 'hit the hay'. G'nite.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

More power to you, Renneye.

Sleep like it don't matter.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 5 years ago

Hahaha! Love it! He's brilliant! I saw him for the first time only a couple of weeks ago, then I saw your earlier post this evening with him. I don't quite know how I can laugh so hard, when the subject matter is so dire. Lee Camp is beyond hilarious. I think it is very effective when you mix genius and comedy.

I love it when I see these young contemporary voices talking and singing about this stuff. It gives me hope.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 5 years ago

The deadpan sneery sarcasm gets me in.

I've only just "found" him too, so it's a revelation to both of us.

Was watching the young turks when the sidebar came up with Lee.

It makes the job of sharing info that much easier for me here in OZ.

Hope it works for you in your country too. Peace.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Chavez wins!!

I guess we are the banana republic, with a completely bogus, trust-me, opaque voting system.

"The U.S. – a beacon of democracy, and an example to be followed by the rest of the world. One big source of pride is its' fundamental concept of free and fair elections.

“American elections are a disgrace. It's like looking into a kitchen of a world-class restaurant and losing your appetite at what you see, because we have an election system, a voting system that is completely non-transparent,” said Mark Crispin Miller, Professor at NYU and author of “Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Elections.” . . . “If you were to hand your vote to a man in a magician's suit who then went behind a curtain and came out having first shredded the ballots, to tell you who won – would you trust that process?” said the co-founder and director of the Election Defense Alliance Jonathan, Simon. "

Stealing a US election? Nothing’s easier! http://rt.com/usa/news/us-election-voting-system-785/


[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

So you do know we tried to over throw Chavez in early 2000's I'm sure.

And I suppose our right wing still demonizes the socialist wave Chavez leads in South America, but the American Left isn't really demonizing him are they?

If Dems win here in Nov I think there will be improvement in relations.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

Hugo Wins!

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

easily - does that make obama sad?

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

I don't think so. Do you think Obama is sad about that?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

yes -

President Obama made his comments in an interview with the Venezuelan newspaper, El Universal.

He said the US was closely watching the build-up to Venezuela's general elections, due in October 2012, when President Chavez is seeking re-election.

"We have felt great concern at actions taken to restrict the freedom of the press and to erode the separation of powers that are so necessary for a democracy to flourish," he said.

"We are concerned about government actions that have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security of the region."

Mr Obama said the US did not "pretend to dictate" foreign policy to sovereign nations but said Venezuela had not benefited from its close ties with Cuba and Iran.

"It is up to the Venezuelan people to determine what they gain from a relationship with a country that violates universal human rights and is isolated from much of the rest of the world," he said.

War of words

Since taking office in 1999, President Chavez has forged a close alliance with communist Cuba and cultivated political and business ties with Iran.

He has also been a relentless critic of US policy around the world, and accused Washington of being behind an attempted coup against him in 2002.

Mr Obama's election in 2008 led to a brief warming of ties, but Mr Chavez soon expressed disappointment that there had been little change in US foreign policy.

Last year the US revoked the visa of the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington after Mr Chavez rejected Mr Obama's choice of a new envoy to Caracas.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

Well we have improved our approach to Venezuela because we are not trying to overthrow the govt as you point out.

So that is good.

We have criticized them, they have criticized us. So what? We have to placate the ring wing wacko population here in America. Criticism, is not war so I'm ok with that. I think the criticism both ways probably has some truth. This is goodthing no?

You state, and I know that the relationship has warmed, I submit it will warm further. In fact as I think has been mentioned on this thread Chavez said if he was American he would vote for Pres Obama.

I think the relationship is fine, and we are poised for great improvement with all the South American socialist countries (incl Cuba) if we can keep the right wing wackos out of the White house

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

so you think maybe another 4 years and i can visit cuba like a normal country?

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

Sure. The Cuba situation WILL be resolved finally if we can keep the right wing wackos out of the White house.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

don't bet on it - let's see 8 yrs of clinton and 4 of your boy and how do i get there - through mexico and then paying some fines or is it jail time

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

Times are changing. The Cuba embargo WILL end!

I don't bet, but it is a good bet if you can find it.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 5 years ago

poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income.


[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 5 years ago

Good post flip.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago


[-] -3 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

That's cool. So when can we start drilling his backyard? Our military budget is like twice that of the entire world - we should act like it.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

we do you moron - don't you read the newspapers. but like any good mafia don we don't pick on countries that can fight back - at least not since vietnam. haven't you noticed? that's why they haven't attacked iran or north korea.

[-] -2 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

Two generations ago places like Iran, Pakistan, North Korea were far more civilized than they are today; the only progress they have made is in the globalization of their pathology. While we're busy celebrating diversity to no end, unable to even secure our borders, these two bit basket cases are nuclearizing. Remember Sudan and "Save Darfur"? While we partied in Massachusetts with celebrity activists, the machete crowd continued to pile up bodies in Sudan - hundreds of thousands were murdered with machetes, which let's face it, is somewhat labor intensive - it would be much easier if they had a bomb.

If we acted like a military superpower which is what we are, there would be no need to engage in economic political wars. And Iran would not be offering nuclear support to Venezuela.

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

sure the world was a sweet place in the 50's - savak in iran helping people every day, korean villages being bombed and burned. negroes being lynched in the good old usa and no crime commited. and how about south america in those days - nice place right - nice place to be a rich white man

[-] -2 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

Without a doubt, the world was a much more civilized place. We have allowed our tolerance to empower apocalyptic ideology, which makes no sense in light of our military capability.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

really - that is your opinion - you could use a bit of education but can you handle it - here is my boy noam to begin the process - read it carefully and please no long winded silliness - please! take note of vasca de gamo - use google - and note the dates also! The Responsibility of Intellectuals Noam Chomsky The New York Review of Books, February 23, 1967 TWENTY-YEARS AGO, Dwight Macdonald published a series of articles in Politics on the responsibility of peoples and, specifically, the responsibility of intellectuals. I read them as an undergraduate, in the years just after the war, and had occasion to read them again a few months ago. They seem to me to have lost none of their power or persuasiveness. Macdonald is concerned with the question of war guilt. He asks the question: To what extent were the German or Japanese people responsible for the atrocities committed by their governments? And, quite properly, he turns the question back to us: To what extent are the British or American people responsible for the vicious terror bombings of civilians, perfected as a technique of warfare by the Western democracies and reaching their culmination in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, surely among the most unspeakable crimes in history. To an undergraduate in 1945-46—to anyone whose political and moral consciousness had been formed by the horrors of the 1930s, by the war in Ethiopia, the Russian purge, the "China Incident," the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi atrocities, the Western reaction to these events and, in part, complicity in them—these questions had particular significance and poignancy. With respect to the responsibility of intellectuals, there are still other, equally disturbing questions. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us. The responsibilities of intellectuals, then, are much deeper than what Macdonald calls the "responsibility of people," given the unique privileges that intellectuals enjoy.

The issues that Macdonald raised are as pertinent today as they were twenty years ago. We can hardly avoid asking ourselves to what extent the American people bear responsibility for the savage American assault on a largely helpless rural population in Vietnam, still another atrocity in what Asians see as the "Vasco da Gama era" of world history. As for those of us who stood by in silence and apathy as this catastrophe slowly took shape over the past dozen years—on what page of history do we find our proper place? Only the most insensible can escape these questions. I want to return to them, later on, after a few scattered remarks about the responsibility of intellectuals and how, in practice, they go about meeting this responsibility in the mid-1960s.

[-] -3 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

I'll tell you quite frankly that I see people like Dwight, or rather his stance on militarism, as our alter ego. It's an alter ego that exists in every individual, in the resultant organizational structure, and our political mentality. If we allow this side to repeatedly win, we cease to exist, and evolution does not permit such an option.

By the way, I don't accept his guilt of atrocity or his minor theory of complicity; it's factually incorrect, intended as a means to persuade.

[-] 2 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

You're a sick f*ck, aren't you? And you feel no need to hide it. Do you have a conscience?

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

you do realize that chomsky is writting about dwight - don't you - you are really a complete waste of time

[+] -7 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

Gods you people are getting more surreal everyday! If you think Hugo Chavez is so wonderful then go live in Venezuela. You can build your socialist paradise!


[+] -6 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

You are gonna have to kill a shitload of people before that happens. But that's just a small matter to your kind. Proven by history.


[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 5 years ago

communication, trade and transportation is entirely different

[+] -6 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

I agree. We are WAY past due. But I wouldn't bet on your side to win that war.

[-] 3 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Believe me douchebag, we know this is a death match. "This is a death match between the American middle class and Wall St. 1%ers. One or the other will cease to be." http://occupywallst.org/forum/whats-the-difference-between-a-tapeworm-and-a-wall/#comment-849006

Welcome to the nonviolent second American Revolution. No doubt you would have sided with the British, worms always side with power.

[+] -4 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

Oh, how fucking precious!

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

you know what jim morrison said - "they got the guns but we got the numbers!"

[-] -2 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

Will the "numbers" outnumber the bullets?

[-] 2 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

spoken like a true fascisti - always good to show your colors early in the debate. that isn't really the question - you are not well versed in history obviously. the question is will your soldiers fire on the people! or do they turn their guns towards you!

[-] -3 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

I'd be willing to bet I'm better at historical knowledge that you. But my point is don't assume those soldiers are on the side of you Marxists.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

your point was obvious as is your class bias - are you rich or just a quisling - not as impressed with your knowledge of history as you are.

[-] -1 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

You didn't answer the question. And I fail to see how Quisling fits here.

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

shows your ignorance of history - or maybe simply your stupidity - as to your question only time will tell


[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 years ago

just sent this to your evil little quisling friend - i thought you might like to be reminded of it - you know what jim morrison said - "they got the guns but we got the numbers!"

[+] -4 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

I truly believe that my side would see the end of it. Your subtraction from the equation would mean nothing.

[-] 2 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

You threatening us, asswipe?

[+] -4 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

I threaten no one. I simply state the fact that you egotistical asswipes don't speak for all of the so called 99%. Oh, and fuck off red scum.

[-] 2 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Sorry that "red scum" attack don't hunt, don't bite, don't bark. Your ilk have used that as a shield to hide your hatred of American freedoms and love of fascism since WWII. Begone, you have no power here.

[+] -4 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

Yeah. As if you socialist/Marxist/facist assholes understand this nation or it's Founders or freedom. Keep spreading you propaganda Red boy.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

You resort to childish insults 'cause you have no substantive arguments?

If you can't discuss these issues in a civil & respectful way you should be an adult, admit defeat, refrain from the schoolyard bullying tactics of your candidate Romney, & just don't comment at all.

If you can't say anything nice don't say anything. (lol)

Don't make me tell you again.!

[+] -4 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

No answer? Big surprise.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Well, I saw you sneaking off with your Eva Braun photos. I didn't want to interrupt you while you were doing what you do best.

[-] 3 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

You would have called George Washington a communist (or whatever the equivalent was back then). Obviously you don't share American values or understand the principles and ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

[-] -1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 5 years ago

what a pile of meaningless accusations

[+] -5 points by Clicheisking (-210) 5 years ago

Yeah. Your interpretation of the history of this nation is the only true one. Go away Marxist butt boy.