This is a obvious lie. The only support for this claim comes from some made up organization that no one’s ever heard of before. [tags]lies[/tags]
This is a obvious lie. The only support for this claim comes from some made up organization that no one’s ever heard of before. [tags]lies[/tags]
Not true. Not even close. The right-wing is just dusting off the old smear against Fidel Castro and applying it to Chavez. I applaud you for citing a source, but it’s bullshit. This is a bogus rumor that started when Forbes magazine claimed Fidel Castro was among the world’s richest people [because he owned everything in the entire country of Cuba](http://amte.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/is-fidel-castro-one-of-the-richest-men-in-the-world/). Castro himself challenged the claim, and called for evidence of his alleged wealth… >Even the Miami Herald, a rightwing newspaper with ties to the Cuban-American mafia that is historically hostile to the Cuban Revolution admits that **Fidel Castro lives in about the same conditions as everyone else in Cuba**. The newspaper has previously printed articles in which it acknowledges that “*The houses of Fidel and Raúl are large but simply appointed*…. The living room of [Fidel’s] house is described by visitors as furnished with simple wood and leather sofas and chairs and Cuban handicrafts…. The only luxury visible to visitors is a big-screen television….” ([some blog, but good enough](http://amte.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/is-fidel-castro-one-of-the-richest-men-in-the-world/).)
It’s fascinating to see which websites they try to infiltrate with propaganda.
To be fair, I don’t think it is as intentional as you seem to be suggesting. *English speaking Venezuelans who rant against Chavez on reddit are just as entitled to express their opinions and viewpoints as others on the site.* I don’t think they are necessarily making a conscious decision to deceive (any more than anyone else). Sure, some of it can be labeled ‘propaganda’, but it not always easy to tell. The problem, as I see it, arises when their perspectives are given disproportionate weight by the reddit community–that is, for example, when personal anecdotes (that may or may not be true) are given more weight than, say, facts and statistics provided by reputable sources.
Seeing as how Hugo Chavez’s’s wikipedia article is very long (as you note) and that, even after reading it, there is nothing there that stands out as an explicit or implicit sign that he has become “very paranoid” or has “lost touch with reality to some extent”, would you be so kind as to cite your specific reasons for making these claims?
I have been following Venezuelan politics closely over the years, and I really resent the erroneous (and calumnious) image of Chavez that is often painted by some parts of the international press (and those misinformed by it). If you do not have specific reasons for claiming Chavez is “paranoid” and “has lost touch with reality”, reasons that hold up to a reasonable amount of scrutiny, perhaps you should not be making such claims.
For a noteworthy example of this type of ad hominem (even ‘propaganda’, one could call it), consider this 2010 article from Slate, in which Christopher Hitchens brags about hanging out with Sean Penn on a trip to Venezuela, and, in a patronizing tone, claims to have insight into President Chavez’s mental health (and alleged ‘necrophilia’).
I never meant to imply that Toro is the worst person in the world, or anything close to that. There are probably hundreds of journalists (writing on the topic of Venezuelan politics) who are worse than he is. Really, to be honest, I still harbor a grudge from the way he mistreated me in those blog comments. It was clear (and made almost explicit to me) that, at least at that moment in his life, he was far more interested in pushing a hyper-partisan agenda, than in having honest discussion about complex issues. (It frustrates me that those who read him may not know how politically motivated–and selective in their reporting of the facts–his writings are.) I have no problem discussing the failures of the Chavez government, but I believe that it’s only fair to recognize its accomplishments too, so we can start envisioning a plan for the future of the country.
Where do I begin? Toro runs the anti-chavez site caracaschronicles.com, once described by venezuelanalysis.com as “perhaps the most sophisticated and intelligent anti-Chavez commentary by Venezuelan expatriate Francisco Toro”. I’m afraid the words “sophisticated and intelligent” no longer apply. To give you a sense of what the community on that site is like, I was once chased out of the comments section for questioning the claim that “The [Chavez] government has insisted to attempt controlling all aspects of everyday life in Venezuela. [So] it’s not surprising that they’re trying to control life… after death” too. This was a bit too much for me; on other occasions whenever I disagreed, ever so slightly with the rabid anti-Chavez consensus in the nicest way possible, I was treated in a similarly hostile manner. (I self-identified as someone sympathetic to the Bolivarian revolution, but not blind to the existing problems under the Chavez administration, hoping to find common ground….) Frustrated, I even appealed to Toro himself, pleading with him to encourage more tolerance on the site for those who are not entirely in lock-step with the opposition’s thinking all of the time. In response to my thoughtful, carefully worded letter, he basically told me to fuck off.
So this is someone who is taken seriously by the New York Times, the Guardian, etc. who has absolutely zero interest in having civil debates with fellow academics such as myself. He even said that, while he used to do this, he doesn’t anymore. Instead he uses his platform to spin the news coming out of Venezuela in a one-sided way. Even worse, he does give a platform to despicable, detestible creatures like Alek Boyd: who for years has called for a “Venezuelan Pinochet”–writing in 2005 that General Pinochet should “come out of retirement and become a [fascist] dictator of Venezuela”. No joke. Boyd has consistently promoted terrorism against the democratically elected government of Venezuela and its supporters. In 2005, he declared: “Re: advocating for violence yes I have mentioned in many occasions that in my view that is the only solution left for dealing with Chávez.” Most bizarre of all, he wrote in March 2004:
“I wish I was the Khan [Genghis Khan] an order my hordes to capture them [Hugo Chavez and followers] and pour melted silver into their eyes … I wish I could decapitate in public plazas Lina Ron and Diosdado Cabello [two Venezuelan politicians]. I wish I could torture for the rest of his remaining existence Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel … I wish I could fly over Caracas slums throwing the dead bodies of the criminals that have destroyed my country … Only barbaric practices will neutralize them, much the same way the Khan did. I wish I was him.” [The Guardian]
So these is someone whose perspectives Toro respects and trusts. I said Toro was a dishonest journalist (because, for example, he is selective in his reporting of events, so as to advance what is clearly a thinly veiled political agenda). I am reluctant to cite his articles because I do not want to drive up his pageviews. But read the comments I made in response to these articles of his, posted on the NYTimes blog, Latitude: here, here, and here. You can find other takedowns, criticisms, and exchanges with Toro here:
Francisco Toro is a dishonest journalist. That is all I have to say. I would be more than happy to elaborate if anyone is interested.
This bit of news comes from an opposition lawmaker, Representative Maria Corina Machado. Not from Chavez, not from anyone in his administration, not even from a Chavez supporter. I’m not saying that Venezuela wouldn’t defend itself from an invasion, or that Chavez isn’t concerned about possible US aggression, just that this latest news about "Plan Sucre" should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I won’t speculate about the possible motivation behind an opposition lawmaker going to the newspapers with this story but I’m wondering why this news isn’t coming from the Chavez government, or from the President himself, since it’s not like he’s shy about discussing things like this, denouncing US imperialism, etc.
I assume the OP only referenced Chavez as a way of setting up a thought-experiment, but, as someone who follows Venezuelan politics closely and is often annoyed by the way that country’s President is portrayed in the Western news media, I feel compelled to point out that the premise in the submission title is not correct. The media erupted in hysteria last December after Chavez expressed “suspicions” about the fact that so many left-wing Latin American presidents had been recently disgnosed with cancer. But here is actually what he said:
“It’s difficult to explain, at this point, what is happening to some of us in Latin America,” Chavez said. “It’s strange that [Paraguayan president Fernando] Lugo, [Brazilian president] Dilma [Rousseff], and then myself, and a few days later [ex Brazilian president Luiz Inacio] Lula [Da Silva] and now [Argentine President] Cristina [Fernandez] have contracted cancer”.
“Would it be strange if the U.S had developed the technology to induce cancer? I don’t know, I leave it to be reflected on,” he added.
“I don’t want to make any reckless accusations, but just a while ago I heard president Alvaro Colom [of Guatemala] telling the United States that it should accept its responsibility and seek forgiveness from the Guatemalan people, because it was shown, fifty years later, that they ran a biological and chemical operation, venereal diseases included, in the country, for scientific tests,” Chavez added.
Chavez later clarified his remarks, denying that he had not accused anybody of inducing cancer, and saying that doing so would have been ‘irresponsible’.
Did you not read my explanation that I wouldn’t be responding to all of your points (even though I’ve probably addressed them all somewhere in my comment history)? I apologize but this just isn’t a good use of my time.
The fact that the two corrupt individuals fled the country prior to being arrested by the Chavez government means that the system is working as it should, and by effectively routing out corruption even from within!
It may be “interesting to listen to” these disgraced former magistrates, but you’re only kidding yourself if you think there is any truth to their allegations. There isn’t a shred of evidence for any of their anti-Chavez claims!
Moreover, to call Aponte and Makled “Chavistas” is a lie. It’s all the more strange that you would mislabel them, considering that you have accused me of mislabeling the “oligarchs” now seeking to return to power!
Oh yes, I almost forgot that people of your political persuasion still believe that the fourth republic was a ‘democratic’ regime, just like the U.S., not an oligarchy! The two dominant parties just happened to have signed a formal agreement (Punto Fijo Pact) to keep power in the hands of a small circle of political/economic elites!
You aren’t even being consistent in your use of political labels. Literally 1 hour earlier, you said:
You can say someone’s left or right depending on who they’re standing next to. In Venezuela the economic center is waay left so compared to venezuelan standards he [Capriles] is right winged, however compered to logical international standards he is center left.
I assume you are just freaking out about Chavez’s 16-point lead, like the rest of the opposition, who are finally realizing that “the already slim chances of challenger Henrique Capriles of winning are now almost null.”
I find it really obnoxious and slimy how you attempt to sneak in a comparison of Hugo Chavez with Saddam Hussein without coming out directly with (unfounded) allegations of electoral fraud in Venezuela (lest someone challenge you to cite some evidence). But then, why would you be making an allegation of “electoral fraud” when the actual presidential election is still three months away (it’s scheduled for October 7th)?
Did you read the article, or even the headline? Reuters is reporting the results of a new opinion poll conducted by the “respected local pollster Datanalisis”; these are NOT the results of the government-held election!
And the reason why Chavez’s 16-point lead in the poll doesn’t look “mighty suspicious” is because Datanalisis’s poll results are the most reliable, and most likely accurate reflection of Venezuelans’ actual voting preferences available. It isn’t just my opinion. The anti-Chavez blogs are taking these results seriously. Besides, this isn’t the first poll to show a big lead for Chavez; other polls have been reporting similar results for months. There has been some variation, just as you would expect in a democracy, and in a genuinely competitive political race!
Winning something like 57-43 looks like it might be legitimate.
Where did you get “57-43”? The article is reporting 43.6% for Chavez, and 27.7% for Capriles. I don’t think you read the article! But whatever the results of Venezuela’s election turn out to be, why wouldn’t they be legitimate?
I thought cancer spreading to the bones was more characteristic of late stage.
First, though I am no medical expert, I believe you are correct. If Chavez’s cancer had spread to his bones, it would mean “Chavez’s cancer has ‘entered the end stage’” (Dan Rather).
It should have been more clear in the article that it was citing a conflicting news report that has come out about Chavez’s health (one at odds with what Chavez or the government have said).
The newspaper [ABC] did not divulge its sources or detail how it checked the information’s accuracy, and CNN was unable to verify the report. An official in Venezuela’s information ministry said the newspaper’s report was invalid and the government would not comment on its contents. (CNN)
Chavez has consistently denied reports that his illness was advanced. Though he has stopped short of declaring himself “cancer free” (as he did last year), Chavez is saying that medical tests following his cancer treatment (three operations to remove tumors from his ‘pelvic region’, and about a dozen rounds of chemotherapy, and radiation therapy) show that he is in good health.
It is true Chavez has not released his medical records; nor has he provided full details about his medical condition and history. His political opponents won’t be satisfied until they can confirm that one of the tumors Chavez had removed from his pelvis was, in fact, the “size of a baseball”.
Chavez insists he is fit enough to run for re-election in October. Two-thirds of Venezuelans believe he will recover, and he is currently holding a double-digit lead over his opponent. Of course, no one can know whether, if re-elected, he will remain healthy for long enough to serve out what would be his third consecutive six-year term, through to 2019! But we hope so.
There is zero truth to claims that Chavez ‘hates Jews’. Yet, earlier this year, the LA-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the New York-based Anti-Defamation League inexplicably injected themselves into Venezuelan politics and accused President Chavez of making anti-semitic remarks. The only evidence is a column written by a Chavez supporter and published on the website of a state-run radio station which opposed ‘Zionism’. President Chavez has repeatedly condemned and vowed to punish acts of anti-semitism (this is only mentioned in the last line of the Associated Press article). Venezuela’s Jewish community has defended Chavez against such ridiculous accusations. Forgive me for dropping a list of links, I don’t have any patience for any of this. In 2010, “‘We Respect and Love the Jewish People,’ said Chavez, who added that opponents have falsely painted him as ‘anti-Jewish’”. Also in 2010, Jewish Representatives Meets with Venezuela’s President Chavez:
>During the meeting, Chavez repeated what he has said on previous occasions, especially in response to opposition claims that he is against the Jewish community, “They have tried to wage a little campaign that I’m anti-Jew, an enemy of the Jews… the reality is we respect and care about the Jewish community”.
You called it a “government sponsored massacre” yet even now you cannot defend that description honestly. If the Tupamaros were involved in the shooting, it still falls short of being a government sponsored massacre. I am not aware of any order that the government had instructed them to shoot peaceful protesters. You are also ignoring the fact that people from both sides of the political divide were killed, and that both sides participated in the shooting. However, CIA documents show that only one group of people had advanced knowledge of what happened that day, and these were the opposition leaders against the Chavez government at that time. These leaders planned to “exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month“; the blood of the dead is on their hands, not the Chavez government, no matter how strongly you may oppose it.
By pretending that “the Chávez government provoked the crisis,” even when you know the truth, you’re literally repeating the same propaganda points issued by Ari Fleischer, spokesperson for the Bush administration. This is a profound betrayal of the Venezuelan people. I see no point in continuing to argue with you. What you said does not amount to a “government sponsored massacre” even if it were true. The coup leaders had advanced knowledge of civil unrest that day (how did they know this?) and, rather than attempt to stop it, proceeded to exploit that violence to attempt a takeover of government–CIA documents prove that. And the Chavez government did not.
I assumed that, as someone who was so worried about losing contact with your parents that day, you would be a little bit more concerned to blame the people who were truly responsible for instigating the violence that day.
I regret that you have held to this wrongful position, because I’ve found the other things you’ve had to say very insightful, and I’m sure that we could have had a very positive, productive exchange about your home country.
I understand the frustration in not having someone address your comments. But ever since I started responding to you, I have had one major complaint. And I believe I deserve to have that answered first. Why did you lie? So far you’ve agreed with me about Carmona, and just about everything I’ve said. So why the fucking lie? I can provide a lengthier response, but where would that get us? I pretty much agree that you have some valid concerns, which is why I didn’t choose to refute them. I just don’t understand why you lied about April 11, 2002. Edit: I’ll address each of those issues individually, if it pleases you. It’ll have to wait. As I’ve suggested, we could see eye-to-eye on a lot of these issues, which is why I’m disappointed that you’ve chosen to lie so brazenly.
Listen, we can debate the small points another time, but I see that you are a reasonable person. So *why* did you feel the need to misrepresent the tragic events of April 11 2002 as a "government sponsored massacre"? Why did you take an event for which the opposition was by far the more responsible party, and blame it on the government instead? The lying seriously undermines your credibility! I am only a ‘supporter of the current system’ because I find myself having to defend what I see as true against the lies being spread about the Chavez government, like this one. If you were instead honest about the facts, and if the facts truly spoke for themselves, we could have seen eye-to-eye on these matters.
This is not the first time that the ‘anti-semitism’ card has been played against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and supporters of the current government. The political opposition has elected a candidate with Jewish heritage to run in this year’s presidential election against Chavez. Is it not possible to point out that a Capriles presidency would be likely to represent the interests of the former elites who once ruled the country and who are now backing him, interests that are contrary to the aspirations of the Venezuelan people, without being accused of anti-Semitism?
There’s an explanation for this: the corporate newsmedia, and the reddit contributers who love them, go completely apeshit every time they see a chance to portray President Chavez in a negative light. In the last 24 hours, by blowing out of proportion Chavez’s reflections ON THE FACT that several leaders in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, etc.) have been diagnosed with cancer, and ON THE STRANGE COINCIDENCE that these cancer-striken leaders all just happen to be leftists, Chavez’s opponents are painting Hugo Chavez as paranoid and deranged! But what is often overlooked or ignored by many news readers is that Chavez DOES NOT (ever) ACCUSE ANYONE (such as the U.S.) OF actually INDUCING CANCER!
Responding to the hysterical reaction in the international press, Chavez has clarified his original comments by saying he was merely reflecting on the unfortunate coincidence that Latin America’s left-leaning leaders are all so busy taking care of their health, they have been unable to work together in the ways he had hoped. Since some have had to pull out of important meetings dealing with the development of regional blocs between countries that exclude or oppose the United States as a member, the U.S. has benefited from their absence.
CLARIFICATION: The Venezuelan President “HAS NOT ACCUSED ANYONE OF INDUCING CANCER.” Responding to the hysteria incited by the American press, Hugo Chavez explains he “just made a reflection” about THE FACT that several leaders of South America have been diagnosed with cancer. (This has caused many problems, not the least of which have to do with the scheduling of meetings dealing of various regional blocs of Latin American countries (like MERCOSUR, UNASUL or the new CELAC); it is vital that all regional leaders attend because many decisions are made by consensus.). It’s a strange coincidence, is it not? In other words, one could say that Chavez was doing little more than offering a joke; however, given that he is undoubtedly all too aware of the history of the U.S.’s nefarious activities in Latin America (which have included various assassination plots), Chavez isn’t exactly in the mood to laugh about such possibilities, no matter how far-fetched they might seem.
As a grad student always scanning news reports for information on Venezuela, I was blown away by the HUNDREDS of news articles published today about these comments, taken out of context; the media clearly rushes at the chance to depict the Venezuelan President as paranoid and deranged. Whose interests do the media serve when they so uniformly distribute misleading propaganda in an obvious attempt to mock and delegitimize the democratically elected leaders of foreign countries? For shame!