Aug
19
2009

Wishful Thinking on Latin America Trumps Logic at Newsweek

Mac Margolis, who wrote recently about the "selective zeal for democracy" of those who condemned the Honduran coup, wrote another little piece on Latin America for Newsweek this week: "Latin America Rights Itself" (print only). He argues that "the region now looks on the brink of a rightward shift," pointing to upcoming elections in Chile, Brazil and Uruguay in which the more liberal incumbent party is projected to lose, contrasting that with the great popularity of Colombia's president Uribe, "who enraged the left by befriending the Bush administration." Margolis suggests that "pragmatism is trumping charisma" and concludes: "Castigating the gringo […]

Jun
30
2009

NYT Reports Honduras (Opponent Opinions) From Afar

Looking at a June 28 New York Times report that the "Honduran President Is Ousted in Coup," A Tiny Revolution blogger Bernard Chazelle (6/28/09) writes that "from the byline alone, you know this is going to be good": "Elisabeth Malkin, in Mexico City, with reporting by Simon Romero from Caracas." To Chazelle this all "makes perfect sense since, as we all know, Mexico City and Caracas are the two major cities in Honduras. (Too bad they had no reporter in Bangkok. I hope the Pulitzer committee doesn't notice.)" Moving on to the piece's actual content [since altered by the Times], […]

May
27
2009

Latin America Pundits Avoid Latin American Opinion

Observing that Latinobarometro's 2008 report on Latin American public opinion again "went entirely unreported in almost all of the world's major media outlets," with "only small snippets selectively analyzed by writers at the Economist, Christian Science Monitor and Washington Times," Latin American history major Kevin Young's ZNet analysis of the survey (5/27/09) gives some probable reasons: Washington's contempt for the Chavez and Morales governments is readily apparent given frequent Bush administration denunciations and threats directed at the two leaders, U.S. support for violent opposition groups and coup attempts in Venezuela and Bolivia, and its ongoing and well-documented (though still highly […]

May
20
2009

Knocking Down Big Media's Hugo Chavez 'Caricature'

NACLA has Latin America writer Daniel Denvir's review (5/11/09) of a new Bart Jones biography of Hugo Chavez. In it, Denvir's reasons for having "never been a big reader of biographies"–"the product of our most unfortunate and idol-indulging tendencies"–give way to the fact that some leaders' "images become proxies for larger ideological, social and cultural debates–often to the point of caricature." Denvir's contention that "a good biography can take on this echo chamber residuum and tell a more reality-based story" becomes that much more urgent when, "in the case of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, this is a politically necessary task": […]

May
06
2009

Press Ignorance Competes with Distortions on Bolivia

The North American Congress on Latin America has published (NACLA Magazine, 5-6/09) Dan Beeton's account of how, following Evo Morales' huge win in the Bolivian presidential referendum of last August, his opponents instigated "riots, economic sabotage and the massacre of more than 20 indigenous"–during which Bolivia threw out the U.S. ambassador for attempted spying and allegedly providing "funding for violent opposition groups." Yet, Beeton tells us, "save for one Washington Post article, the [subsequent U.S.] Morales visit garnered no full-length reports in major U.S. papers." This could arguably be a good thing, considering the results of what little attention was […]

Apr
27
2009

The Dark Side of MSNBC's 'Crazy Political Uncle'

Noting that, "for the last decade or so, Washington has indulged Pat Buchanan as a sort of crazy political uncle" by having "agreed to forget about his long track record of racially questionable commentary and writing," TPM Muckraker's Zachary Roth and Justin Elliott (4/24/09) have caught a column "for the far-right web magazine, Human Events," that doesn't quite jibe with the image portrayed on Buchanan's "frequent MSNBC appearances, where he plays a mostly well-mannered, if hardline, conservative." The commentary in question asserts that "family-and-faith, God-and-country" America "does not comprehend how the president could sit in Trinidad and listen to the […]