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<nettime> From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics [2+X]

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   Re: <nettime> From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their Colleagues                                                            

   Re: <nettime> From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their Colleagues
     "" <>                                   


Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 10:02:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: <nettime> From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their Colleagues

straight from the CIA Psychological Operations in 
Guerrilla Warfare?  

On Wed, 3 Mar 2004, Ricardo Bello wrote:

> A message from Venezuelan writers, artists and academics to their
> colleagues throughout the world


Date: Thu, 04 Mar 2004 20:03:15 +0100
From: "" <>
Subject:  From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their 

I found this message a little disturbing.  I raised it with some
colleagues on another list and I thought it appropriate given the
propagandist  nature of the post to publish their responses here.

I also found it personally amusing that after so many years of
exploitation and corruption which have hurt such a huge sector of the
Venezuelan community that the writer was so concerend about
"hurtful" language. Anyway I  suspect there s more to the story
that Ricardo lets on.

Hence in the inteests of trying to fathom this mess below are two
responses from the aut-opsy list and some artciles from
which has always provided a comprehensive alternative source of news for
things latino.



 Lowe Laclau wrote:

>It is very unfortunate, but there is such extreme blatant misinformation
here on the news about the situation in Venezuela and I fear that too few
of us are able to see a more complex picture of the revolt. On the BBC
World they repeatedly showed a woman getting thrown to the ground for
confronting some officers and showed another guy with his head very
bloodied. The same goes for the situation in Haiti. The news reporting is
aweful. Never is there a sufficient history of the conflict explained. It
paints a picture like "now that Aristide's" gone all will be milk & honey
and if only "communist" Chavez leaves "the people" of Venezuela can go
back to their luxurious lives they lead before. We have to be constantly
reminded, just in case we forget, that there are no conflicts related to
"class" and "oligarchic" socio-political structures in the world. All
these really bad conflicts in the South are just because some people want
to act like "dictators" or its just simple "corrupt
> ion". 
>As for Chavez revolution taking place only in his head, reports that I
have seen do not support such a claim. The figure cited that 70% of the
population supports the opposition also seems pretty much pulled out of
someone's rear. The opposition clearly represents a minority of the
electorate, its their media presence that gives the contrary
perspective. Whereas this guy seems to think that the Bolivarian
propaganda machine is corrupting the international left into supporting
Chavez (and I have seen a bit of uncritical propaganda), what I see is the
complete contrary. The mass medias are all towing the line whether it be
in respect to Venezuela or to Haiti. I don't think that the "international
community" needs any of my moral support in interfering in the domestic
affairs of another demonized state.


Here is another take on the Venezuela situation from

Venezuela, it's official* (3.00 / 2 
(#3 <>)
by Ron Smith on Wed Mar 3rd, 2004 at 04:13:16 AM EST
(User Info <>) On tuesday the 2nd, the CNE reported that 
1.8m of the oppositions signatures cannot be verified. There's an 
article on AFP, but Vheadline reported it many hours before. This means 
that by the official constitutional rule, a recall referendum is not 
mandatory. The CNE may still decide to request a referendum. The CNE is 
also giving a small window for several of the signature writers to come 
in to verify their identity.
int.html <>

As predicted, the right (as well as some inscrutable sectors of the 
left) is protesting in the streets, demanding that a recall occur 
regardless of the signature count, and to attempt to bring some 
stability, the Chavez government may come to a compromise with the 
opposition. At issue here is a general state of lawlessness, created for 
the most part by the right, although the Chavez government is not 
blameless in this regard. Throughout Latin America there is a tradition 
of impunity for perpetrators of crimes, be they of a personal or 
political nature. Case in point: no major players in the 2002 coup have 
served any time in prison. It is perhaps for this reason that I saw a 
group of Admirals in the CTV headquarters trying to squirm away from my 
camera when the group I was working with got to meet the Coordinadora 
Democratica's decision makers. Carmona, the dictator for a day, is 
living in Bogotá, perhaps waiting for Chavez's ouster to return 
triumphantly to Venezuela. By failing to enforce a rule of law for those 
that ignore the constitution and human rights, the Chavez government has 
failed to weaken the opposition. Not prosecuting the coup participants 
is a strategy, as has the Chavez's lax interactions with the libelous 
Venezuelan corporate media. Libel is not a light matter, as I'm sure Al 
can attest, narconews was the victim of a SLAPP-like libel suit when Al 
printed the story of citicorp's misdeeds and those of one of it's 
subsidiaries. However, my own experience watching Venezuelan corporate 
news media reached lows that are the stuff of Rupert Murdoch's wildest 
fantasies. I'm no fan of restrictive policies, and I admit that my own 
injury at the hands of authorities in the United States makes me 
extremely wary of government's use of force during protests. That said, 
if a government is trying to address the ills of society in a meaningful 
way, impunity must be confronted in order to protect any gains made by 
the society. There's much more than Chavez at stake, especially 
considering the Bush regime's current stance on Latin American affairs. 
It's up to us, the independent media to keep a close eye on what happens 
in Venezuela over the coming months, and be ready to shout when wool is 
pulled over people's eyes by the mainstream media. But we all know that, 
since that's why we're here, right?

- --
siempre recordamos nuestr@s caid@s, rachel corrie y wilfredo palacios 

    *Venezuela: The Squalid Opposition* (3.50 / 2
    by Al Giordano on Thu Mar 4th, 2004 at 12:19:47 AM EST
    (User Info <>)

        /no major players in the 2002 coup have served any time in
        prison... Carmona, the dictator for a day, is living in Bogotá,
        perhaps waiting for Chavez's ouster to return triumphantly to
        Venezuela. By failing to enforce a rule of law for those that
        ignore the constitution and human rights, the Chavez government
        has failed to weaken the opposition. Not prosecuting the coup
        participants is a strategy, as has the Chavez's lax interactions
        with the libelous Venezuelan corporate media.../

    This has been at the crux of a long debate since April 2002 between
    many people, among them Chávez, who sticks with his non-repressive
    approach, and Fidel Castro, who is said to have advised Chávez to go
    after the coup plotters with full legal force. (This is very ironic,
    since the screeching squalid class always yelps about Chávez
    supposedly wanting to govern like Castro, even as they are the main
    beneficiaries of Chávez's kinder, gentler, approach.)

    I do think that he has succeeded in weakening the "opposition" by
    giving them enough rope to hang themselves over and over again. I
    don't subscribe to the view that Venezuela is in any kind of chaos
    right now: it's just more squawking from the spoiled brats and their
    corrupt Commercial Media correspondents... read enough of geezers
    like Gustavo Coronel huffing and puffing from their golf courses
    about how they're gonna get violent now... of rich kids playing with
    molotovs and calling in the squalid press to report on the bombs
    that they don't then go out and throw (someone commented on a
    squalid blog the other day "hey, it worked for the Weather
    Underground!" but scualid blogger Francisco Toro, the disgraced
    former NY Times stringer, censored that comment)... Toro himself is
    talking all macho about how he's going to stop being a "flower
    eater" and go fight in the streets... good luck to him... he'll
    probably get hurt just tripping over his shoelaces... Why suppress
    them when they're their own worst enemies to begin with?

    This "opposition" is the gang that couldn't shoot straight. They've
    been outmaneuvered instead of being repressed. I think it's been a
    brilliant strategy on the part of Chávez that helps a lot in the
    longterm project that he has launched to bring the country forward
    on democratic terms.

    We had a very emotional discussion at the February 2003 J-School
    about whether, and at what point, the Venezuelan government would be
    justified to take away the licenses of the dishonest Commercial TV
    stations. My position is yes: Paid speech does not merit the same
    protections as free speech. Others - particularly some North
    Americans - felt almost religiously opposed to any intervention even
    by democratic governments in the media. Different worlds and
    different world views...

    But in that discussion an even better idea was raised, that seemed
    to be acceptable to all sides: to levy a special tax on Commercial
    Broadcasters that would be used exclusively for funding
    community-run TV and radio stations, of the kind that Venezuela has
    pioneered in recent years, and kill them with the thing they claim
    to support: competition, with a better product.

    /For my opinions on politics, see my personal blog, BigLeftOutside

    [ Parent
    <> ]


From: Lautre Nom <>

>When is a vote a vote?
>One issue that strikes me as interesting coming out of this, is that
there seems to be a growing tendency around the world to fight elections
retrospectively and extra-democratically (e.g. though statistical and
judicial means).  Regarding the counting of the Venezuelan signatures, the
Canadian foreign affairs department suggested that they should take a
statistical sample to determine if fraud took place since counting all he
signatures would be too time consuming.  I am reminded here of the theft
of the US 2000 election.  
>I would guess from what I have heard about the Venezuelan opposition that
they probably are involved in fraud.  However, I am also worried about how
these sort of things seem to play into a sort of general postmodern
malaise that there is no reality.  Maybe a military dictatorship is just
as democratic a political system as that provided by representative
electoral politics.  After all, democracy probably is too time consuming.
>Obviously, everywhere people are fed up with a system that purports to be
democratic and yet nowhere are the interests of the greater sections of
the population represented.  In this situation, all sorts of
circumventions of even the nominally democratic institutions that are in
place seem possible.  The constitutionally regulated coup, posing as
popular democracy, is a phenomena worth investigating.  Maybe I'll do so,
if I have any time left over after fulfilling all those democratic
duties.  In the meantime...
> Does anyone else have any thoughts about it? Is this a new trend?  How
can we analyse this from an autonomous perspective?
>My apologies if people find this comment too unrelated or unfocused, I
have just been a little disturbed about the whole issue.

This seems relevant to the role that many NGO's play. How many "popular
uprisings" today are generated by those NGO's who promote democracy in the
neo lib sense, democracry tied to good policy frameworks. Georgia, Haiti,
Venezuela all come to mind in this regard, even poor old East Timor and
here in Mozambique. Those white hats of the Carter Centre and the like. I
think this role of NGO's in promoting the "constitutionally regulated
coup" is in part what H&N were trying to get at in Empire.

Another thing that seems to raise its head here is the incommunicability
of struggles. I wonder if there was a lot of confusion about this idea in
Empire. One of my Panamanian students led me down a path of considering it
as a part of the segementation of the imperial landscape. That is
struggles are not at their core incommunicable, but in the spectacle of
empire they appear to be. How many viewing the Venezuelan situation
through the lens of the spectacle can really feel any affinity with the
Bolivarian struggle. They see only another Latino miltaire and this is why
the the "democratic opposition"'s struggle is communicable. The struggle
that we have a hard time discerning is that that goes on amongst the poor
in Venezuela. It is incommunicable because to most people they cannot read
it. It seesm so peculiarly Venezuelan. 

 - --
"the riddle which man must solve, he can only solve in being, in 
being what he is and not something else...."

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