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Mar-31-2013 14:07printcomments

US to Keep Vilifying Caracas Even With Chavez Dead

Moros says his government believes foul play was involved in President Chávez’s death.

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(TORONTO) - On the day that it was announced Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez had died from an unidentified cancer, two US diplomats were expelled as persona non grata from Caracas for trying to organize some type of coup and conspiracy against Venezuela.

Not trying to attract any more negative attention, the Obama Administration would calmly wait until March 9, a day after Chávez’s state funeral, to retaliate by expelling two Venezuelan diplomats.

Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro Moros would publicly announce that his government believed that foul play was involved in President Chávez’s death. Maduro alleged that Latin America’s “imperialist” enemies (read the US government) had infected Chávez with some type of pathological agent that caused terminal cancer.

This was a sentiment that was echoed by a few world leaders, including Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that said they too suspected foul play. Maduro also announced that a scientific investigation would be launched to see if Venezuela’s late leader was murdered.

Venezuelan acting president Nicolas Maduro raises his clenched fist during a rally with leftist political parties in Caracas on March 20, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Venezuelan acting president Nicolas Maduro raises his clenched fist during a rally with leftist political parties in Caracas on March 20, 2013. (AFP Photo)

While the Venezuelan government’s hypothesis can be brushed off as paranoid fantasy and posturing by its adversaries, it is worth noting that it is now generally accepted that the late Yasser Arafat, who served as the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and head of the Palestinian Authority, was killed through radioactive poisoning from polonium. Assassination by poisoning is not as farfetched as some may think on initial assessment. Poisoning is actually a modus operandi of choice in political assassinations. For example, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tried to murder Cuba’s Fidel Castro with poisoned cigars and would later, through what social psychologists would describe as the CIA’s own “mirror-image perception” of others, accuse Iraq of using the same tactics of assassination.

Nor should it be forgotten that President Chávez was the man the US organized a coup against in 2002 in an attempt to secure Venezuela’s oil reserves before the US and UK invaded Iraq in 2003. Chávez was captured at gunpoint and then taken to an airport from which the coup conspirators intended to exile him from Venezuela, but only after he signed a resignation letter that the US had asked them to procure to legalize their illegal takeover of the national government in Caracas. Pedro Francisco Carmona, a wealthy businessman and the head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, would become interim president. US Ambassador Charles Shapiro would quickly run to meet the coup leaders and even joyously take photographs with them whereas the Venezuelan Supreme Court, the elected members of the National Assembly (Parliament), and Electoral Commission were all dismissed.

The US was involved and aware of every aspect of the coup. The Pentagon had military officers at the base where Chávez was being imprisoned and US military officers had met earlier with the coup leaders. Through access to US federal government documents under the Freedom of Information Act, it was also proven that the CIA was given the coup leader’s conspiracy plans five days before they took action. The coup president Carmona would even escape to the Columbian Embassy as a means of entering the US; he would be taken to Columbia, from where he would enter the US.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez displays a graphic with the evolution of oil prices during a press conference for the foreign media at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas 18 July, 2002. (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez displays a graphic with the evolution of oil prices during a press conference for the foreign media at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas 18 July, 2002. (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

Outright lies as a method

Regardless of the political views and interpretations about the late Hugo Chávez, the biased nature of the mainstream media reports about him from places like the US, Britain, and Canada are hard to overlook. The motive has been “Venezuela can look to a better future and freedom now that Chávez is dead.” These statements were deliberately and misleadingly packaged to instill a negative interpretation of the late Venezuelan leader as a dictator. Thus, Venezuela under Chávez is casually portrayed as an undemocratic banana republic that is politically and economically unstable. Never mind the fact that international election monitors concur that Venezuela’s elections since Chávez came into power are impeccably fair, transparent, and free. This narrative systematically overlooks the fact that Chávez’s programs dramatically raised the country’s standards of living and cut poverty in half and ignores the fact that the “Bolivarian marketplaces” brought down the prices of commodities by about 40%. Never mind that healthcare programs and education rates expanded dramatically and became universally free. Almost two million people were taught how to read under Chávez’s administration, while the economy more than doubled in size a few years after the failed US-supported coup of 2002. Facts have never gotten in the way of US foreign policy, whether it is about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq or about the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana.

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attend his campaign closure rally in Caracas, on October 4, 2012. (AFP Photo/Luis Acosta)

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attend his campaign closure rally in Caracas, on October 4, 2012. (AFP Photo/Luis Acosta)

Reality has not deterred the US from vilifying Caracas through an entire array of outright lies and this has continued even with Chávez dead. His state funeral was depicted as a Chávista festival and there was a noticeable downsizing of the number of the crowds into mere “thousands.” The reporting of numbers would have been different in terms of accuracy if it were the funeral of a leader in the US or UK. The generalizations, ambiguities, and lexical terms in the reporting betray how there is a systematic attempt to construct a negative perception of Hugo Chávez and navigate the interpretive processing of audiences and readers.

Firstly, many of the biased reports emphasized that dictators and strongmen attended the funeral. This creates an association in the minds of audiences and readers that is aimed at generalizing Chávez as a member of an authoritarian club by extending the category of dictator onto him. This is why the event was also portrayed in some reports as a meeting of the “Axis of Evil.” This is usually followed by a case of specificity that refers to the Venezuelan crowds as “Chávez supporters.” Using critical discourse analysis, this can also be linked to over-lexicalization. Over-lexicalization encodes a specific perception through the excessive and repetitious use of specific descriptive words. People who are demonized/otherized or powerless are usually over-lexicalized; for example criminals that are African-American or Hispanic in the US will be called “African-American criminals” and “Hispanic criminals” whereas criminals who are considered white will be simply referred to as just criminals under an over-lexicalizing narrative.

Venezuela’s allies were also referred to as “Chávez’s allies” as means of personalizing the relationships and alienating Venezuela’s ties with countries like Iran as being unnatural. Aside from Fox News, many of the same media outlets that reported on Chávez’s funeral would never refer to the crowds of Americans that assemble in Capitol Hill for a presidential inauguration as “pro-Obama” or “Obama supporters.”  The British citizens who go to Buckingham Palace for a jubilee or some other royal event involving the British monarchy are never referred to as “monarchist” or “royalist” either. In order for pro-Obama crowds and British monarchists to exist there have to be anti-Obama groups and British republicans, but instead the crowds on Capitol Hill and around Buckingham Palace are simply generalized as American and British citizens and people respectively.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto, Lara state on October 2, 2012. (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (R) waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto, Lara state on October 2, 2012. (AFP Photo/Juan Barreto)

Chávez’s opponents claim that Venezuela was not a democracy or a better place under his administration. Aside from this being perversely untrue, such claimants ought to be asked “as opposed to what?” Venezuela largely became a democracy under the presidency of Hugo Chávez and the living standards of the poorest strata were improved. Before Chávez, inflation had risen to 70% and there were major cuts in what little public spending Venezuela’s government made. The last president, which many members of the opposition like, was also caught stealing from the country’s treasury. All this and the country’s poor, however, are not issues for Chávez’s critics inside and outside of Venezuela. These critics either care about the interests of an elite minority in Venezuelan society or about turning Venezuela into an American satrap once again. Ironically, it is even because of the very media freedom laws that Chávez himself introduced to Venezuela that his country’s opposition is able to criticize Chávez, and in many cases outright slander him with Fox News-style infotainment and ad hominem attacks through its media networks, which includes the infamous Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) that supported the 2002 coup. Aside from the state-run media that has an audience that amounts to no more than 10% of the country’s domestic audiences, it should also be noted that the opposition owns 80% or more of the mainstream media in Venezuela.

Cult of Personality versus Passing the Torch

Because Señor Chávez has passed away, the world will be able to see if the Bolivarian Revolution was held together by a cult of personality based around his persona or not. The viability of Chávez’s political project will be tested in Venezuela’s post-Chávez era. Since 2011, the leadership of the United States has eagerly been monitoring Hugo Chávez’s health, just like it has eagerly watched the aging Castros on the island of Cuba.  The vibes being given off by the leadership in Washington, DC is that it believes that the late Chávez was the force holding the United Socialist Party of Venezuela together.

Nicolás Maduro, now interim president, was selected to carry on the torch of the Bolivarian Revolution, because by all accounts and perceptions he was an extremely loyal lieutenant to Hugo Chávez. In October 2012, this is what pressed the ailing Chávez to select Mudaro as the executive vice-president of his country. Chávez was taking precautions by preparing Maduro to take over his mantle to serve as the leader of Venezuela. Despite being a loyal Chávista, far stronger and politically aggressive candidates, like National Assembly President/Speaker Diosdado Cabello and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramírez, could have challenged Maduro and jockeyed for the leadership of the United Socialist Party and the office of the Venezuelan President.

In 2012, Chávez won the presidential election by getting 55% of the vote, while his opponent got about 44.3% of the vote. In 2010, the United Socialist Party won 48.3% of the vote, while opposition parties won 47.2% of the vote. Excluding the approximately 4% of the vote that the allies of the United Socialist Party won, the margin of difference in 2010 was 1.1%.  Venezuela’s National Assembly would not have been dominated by the United Socialist Party and its allies, and it could have even lost the 2010 elections, if the country’s electoral districts were not gerrymandered before the parliamentary elections.

Political jockeying for power among the United Socialist Party and its allies could have disastrous consequences for the Bolivarian project in Venezuela. The United Socialist Party could revert into the old sectarian party lines or fragment along new ones. It was these divisions among the Venezuelan leftist political parties that Hugo Chávez feared would allow the American-supported opposition to take over his country through presidential and parliamentary elections, which motivated him to create the United Socialist Party in 2007. In fact, the American-supported opposition coalition lost the last presidential and parliamentary elections by relatively small margins.

No sooner had Hugo Chávez died, did members of the Venezuelan opposition start new consultations with their patrons in Washington, DC. Divide and conquer is the objective against the Chávistas. This is the scenario that both the Venezuelan opposition and the US government want to induce. This is one of the reasons that the opposition has been trying to use constitutional grounds to push National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello to assume the interim presidency, hoping it would create a rift between him and Nicolás Maduro that would divide and ultimately weaken the Chávistas.

Continue reading the article here.

Special thanks to Silvia Cattori


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Ralph E. Stone April 2, 2013 7:40 am (Pacific time)

After a big event like the death of Hugo Chavez, it is inevitable that conspiracy theories appear as to the cause of his death. Governments and private entities do engage in conspiracies. However, most conspiracies do not hold up under critical inspection. Maybe, we should wait before we start pointing fingers.

D. Gilmore April 1, 2013 11:27 am (Pacific time)

There is a book I read awhile back called "confessions of an economic hit man"...I urge all to find it and read it. Much of it I already knew, but there was more info, and it was good to see it in a best selling book, instead of lil ol me sharing the info. The CIA is out of control, and most of the atrocities going on in the world that this website talks about comes from the west/CIA/Mossad/M16..Currently, the CIA is mostly financed by drug money, especially the mexican drug cartels and the afghanistan opium trade...Welcome to the new world order...Again, I urge you to read the book mentioned. The west giving Chavez cancer is not way out there. They have had the technology for decades, and they can do it stealth. I dont know what happened, I am just saying its very possible that chavez was taken out by the west.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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