Dec
13
2012

Does Hugo Chavez Keep Fooling Venezuelans?

The New York Times updates readers today (12/13/12) on the health status of left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and the political implications for his country. But the paper starts out by suggesting that the people who keep electing him must have some kind of problem.  According to the Times' William Neuman,  life in Venezuela is pretty dismal. Christmas tree shipments were fouled up, a government ice cream factory closed down,  and "all of this happened while the economy was growing — before the slowdown many predict next year." He writes: Such frustrations are typical in Venezuela, for rich and poor […]

Dec
22
2011

New York Times Finds Noam Chomsky Fit to Print

Left-wing activist and author Noam Chomsky is in the New York Times today: The American linguist Noam Chomsky, a prominent source of intellectual inspiration for President Hugo Chavez, made a new appeal on Wednesday for the release of Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a judge arrested two years ago by the secret intelligence police. If you find it a little surprising that Chomsky's views on international affairs would be reported in the Paper of Record, and if you'd be inclined to believe the Times finds his views newsworthy only because Chomsky is criticizing Chavez (which they've done before)… well, you might not […]

Jun
30
2011

Hugo Chavez's Diabolical Conspiracies

The Washington Post's Juan Forero comments today (6/30/11) on how Hugo Chavez's illness means that he's off television: Chavez governs like the host of a reality show, cameras always rolling as he presides over summits, hectors opponents and warns of diabolical American plots to unseat him. Wherever would he get such ridiculous ideas.

Aug
09
2009

AP Reports 'Breached Basic Journalistic Principles'

In his latest "Dispatch from the Bolivarian Revolution", blogger Eric Wingerter (BoRev.net, 7/18/09) asks, "Man oh man, how bad does AP reporting have to get before a group of Latin American studies professors from top U.S. universities decides they need to take out a FULL-PAGE AD in the Columbia Journalism Review to respond?" His answer is "Bad bad"–as illustrated in the ad's text: The Associated Press has breached basic journalistic principles with these false reports: [Hugo] Chávez initially suggested the synagogue attack might have been carried out by Jews eager to portray his government as anti-Semitic. â┚¬”AP February 8, 2009 […]

Jul
17
2009

Newsweek's 'Selective Zeal for Democracy'

Newsweek has a rather curious take this week (7/20/09) on the Honduras coup in a short piece headlined "The World Goes Bananas Over Honduras": Poor, hot and fractious, Honduras–the original banana republic–rarely draws a second look from the global community. But on June 28, when President Manuel Zelaya was yanked out of bed by the military and bundled into exile, the world took notice. International leaders unanimously decried the "assault on democracy." The Organization of American States expelled Honduras, the only nation since Cuba to be so disgraced. Venezuela even threatened to send in troops to reinstate Zelaya. But in […]

Jul
09
2009

On 'Disingenuous' Reports of Antisemitic Chavismo

Robin Varghese's 3 Quarks Daily link (6/30/09) to a Boston Review piece purporting that, "over the past four years, Venezuela has witnessed alarming signs of state-directed antisemitism, including a 2005 Christmas declaration by President Hugo Chavez himself," has engendered some homespun media criticism from a commenter logged-in as "Pepito," who argues that "this canard about Chavez and Chavismo being anti-Semitic has been debunked several times in the past, but it comes backs very often." In response to the excerpt's lead example of "15 heavily armed men" who attacked a Caracas synagogue, "held down two guards, robbed the premises, and desecrated […]

Jul
06
2009

More Pro-Coup Free-Speech Martyrs in Latin America?

Author and blogger Nikolas Kozloff has a BuzzFlash posting (7/1/09) about how, if you "read or listen to the mainstream media these days," you get the impression that [last] Sunday's coup in Honduras was all about a simple disagreement over the constitutionality of presidential term limits. But as the coup unfolds, it's becoming clear that the authorities want something more: the restoration of Honduras' conservative political order and an end to President Manuel Zelaya's independent foreign policy that had reached out to leftist countries such as Cuba and Venezuela. As part of their effort to consolidate power, officials have moved […]

May
27
2009

Latin America Pundits Avoid Latin American Opinion

Observing that Latinobarómetro'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 Chávez 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": […]

Nov
27
2008

NYT vs. Venezuela's Election Results

Anyone who followed the results of Venezuela's regional elections last Sunday will know that President Hugo Chavez's party won 17 out of 22 contests up for grabs, garnering 52.5 percent of the popular vote to the opposition's 41.1 percent. Unless, that is, they were relying onNew York Times Latin America correspondent Simon Romero. Despite a well-documented pattern of media misinformation about Chavez, many media outlets, including L.A. Times and CNN, conceded the fact of Chavez allies' victory in Sunday's races. But not Romero! Yesterday, the Times published an article by Romero titled, "Chavez Supporters Suffer Defeat in State and Regional […]