Chavez Continues Crackdown on Journalists and Free Speech

200px-Hugo_Chavez_in_Brazil-1861Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has renew his threats against one of the few remaining networks that voice opposition to his government. Chavez told executives at Globovision “to reflect” upon its criticism of him and change its tone or it “won’t be on the airwaves much longer.”

The Chavez government has previously imposed sanctions against Globovision and slapped the network with a $2.3 million fine.

I have been criticized in the past for my objections to the Chavez regime. For my liberal friends who consistently defend this man, one should consider such assaults on the free press and free speech. His worshipful attitude toward Castro (who imprisoned journalists and engaged in widespread torture) reflects his own twisted sense of human rights and civil liberties. Today he wished Iranian extremist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad good luck in his reelection.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Chavez Continues Crackdown on Journalists and Free Speech”

  1. Ahmadinejad Takes Big Vote Lead as Rival Warns of Possible Fraud
    Friday, June 12, 2009

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s interior ministry said Saturday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was far ahead with nearly 80 percent of all votes counted, but his pro-reform rival countered that he was the clear victor and warned of possible fraud in the election.
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    .THANKS OBAMA for being a weak piece of crap!

  2. But the left wing lunatics at Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, MSNBC, etc. LLLOOOOVVVVE Chaves! They think he is a world class “progressive”!

  3. Jill:

    “Mike S.,

    Two years ago I went to a socialist meeting where they actually wanted people to read Mao, not for historical study, but for “learning”. I was completely shocked. I asked them if they knew he was a mass murderer. They were unconcerned and I was out the door.”

    good story, I don’t think most far left or far right people are too concerned with the “people” except in how they can be manipulated and exploited to their benefit.

  4. What these South/Central American and Caribbean countries need is their own George Washington – an exceptional revolutionary leader who ascends to the presidency reluctantly, and then steps down to leave the country to the mercies of its constitution.

    It’s instructive that much of the population of the United States wanted Washington to stay in office “for life,” some even being willing to crown him king. This country will be eternally grateful that he refused.

  5. Mike S.,

    Two years ago I went to a socialist meeting where they actually wanted people to read Mao, not for historical study, but for “learning”. I was completely shocked. I asked them if they knew he was a mass murderer. They were unconcerned and I was out the door.

  6. As the son of Lefty parents in the 50’s I was horrified by the leadership of Cuba, by the Mafia owned thug Batista. His regime was corrupt and vile and his oppression of the Cuban people was deplorable. The came Fidel, Raoul and Che’ out of the hills and into our hearts. I cried when I had heard they had entered Havana and I decried the “Bay of Pigs” operation.

    However, it is 60 years later and they are still in power. While I understand that US policy towards Cuba has not been helpful, I also would have thought that perhaps they would have been changed into a less repressive form of government. I see the same thing occurring in Venezuela, which used to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rockefeller family and certainly has suffered much from CIA operations in the last 70 years.

    My attitude towards Chavez was initially welcoming and knowing the unfortunate US history there, quite supportive. However, as Lottakatz pointed out, president for life is a bit much. It is sad that people on the Left are capable of the same demagoguery as those on the Right. It is a shame but it is true. Chavez is showing himself to be just another
    tinhorn dictator, whose ego will surpass the needs of his people, while he assures them he is acting in only their best interests. So it goes.

    Does anyone remember the great Marlon Brando/Anthony Quinn picture Viva Zapata? That showed it how it really is when it come to charismatic, ego driven leaders of the left or the right. The Russian aristocracy was thoroughly despotic and needed overthrowing. Who knew that Stalin would kill just as many innocents as Hitler?

    The Beatles song Revolution was prescient in its evisceration of unthinking support for political upheaval.
    How are those who hailed Mao feeling about him now since his death years ago has put his regime into context? I personally knew Maoists in the 60’s and that was why I never embraced Marxism. It is never the politics really, it is all about the humaneness and humanity

  7. Dredd, Interesting case. Kinda’ sorta’ like, even if I did commit a violation as long as my heart was pure, my head was empty and I didn’t make direct threats, I’m in the clear. I liked dealing with the EO Statute specifically because it was entirely effect based.

    I liked Chavez a lot more before he became President for life too.

    From decision cited in referenced article:
    “Notwithstanding our conclusion that a reasonable juror could find a First Amendment
    violation, under our case law, the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity if it would not
    have been clear to a reasonable officer in their position that their conduct was unlawful. Saucier,
    533 U.S. at 202 (“The relevant, dispositive inquiry . . . is whether it would be clear to a
    reasonable officer that his conduct was unlawful . . . .”); see also Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730,
    740 (2002) (stating that for a right to be clearly established for qualified immunity purposes, it
    “must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing
    violates that right” (quotation marks omitted)).
    Here, our pre-existing law would not have made apparent to a reasonable officer that
    defendants’ actions crossed the line between an “attempt[] to convince and [an] attempt[] to
    coerce” because the cases in which we have held that individuals’ First Amendment rights were
    violated involved conduct more likely to be perceived as threatening than that here. In Bantam
    Books, the threats issued were much more explicit than those in the present case. There…”

  8. Jill, I think I saw that film under the title “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Pardon me if I’m confusing the scent I’m about to describe with another film about Chavez, but I remember it distinctly:

    There’s a great scene showing Chavez reading letters from people all over the country. They show him in the mail room, which is packed, full, every shelf stuffed tight with such letters.

    Being the man of the people that he is, he says that he reads every letter he receives. Some are simple letters of support, most are letters asking for help. He takes a few letters, helps the people “solve” their problems. He can’t help everyone personally, but he certainly reads every single letter and does what he can. So he says.

    What’s really telling is that they show him reading one letter, very slowly and carefully. He stops a moment and broods on the letter’s contents. He promises to help the letter’s writer. It’s a compelling moment.

    Let me reiterate: He actually claims that he reads *every single letter* he receives. Every one. Gives every one personal attention. Is he charismatic and believable when he says it? Oh yes, he certainly is–his tone and expression are spot on. He’s downright believable. Of course, if you give it any rational thought, it is perfectly evident that no human being would have enough time to read that many letters, especially not someone as busy as the president of a country. So the viewer is forced to one of two positions: either Chavez is a super-human hero of the people who never sleeps, or he is a liar of the damnedest sort.

    I think that scene and its implications sum up Chavez, and the people who believe in him, pretty well.

  9. Lee,

    It’s true the US has been after Chavez and you are right to point this out. Because the US is going after someone, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily a great leader. It means our leadership is doing something both morally and legally wrong. We should be roundly criticized and opposed for trying to depose and/or kill a leader of another nation. This is a separate issue from looking honestly at Chavez.

    Here is an e-mail I got inviting me to a screening of a “documentary” on Chavez:

    “The Ann Arbor Docu Fest presents “Chavez: Inside the Coup.” From the promotional copy: “Winner of twelve film awards and three nominations, this is a must see. There’s a coup d’etat and Irish documentary filmmakers are right inside of it. The docu is a historical masterpiece, shot from the center of the action, acute and totally embarrassing for the prime supporters of the coup: the US, who still channel large amounts of money to Chavez’ political opponents. Highly entertaining and exciting. What we get to see is a remarkable account of a country struggling to attain democracy, a charismatic leader (Chavez) who actually cares for his people, and unprecedented access to a historical event as it unfolds. Remarkable piece of filmaking. Chavez is unafraid to challenge US hegemony and domination of the world’s resources. The dramatic, electrified atmosphere and unique footage will allow you to experience a true historic moment. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the situation. There is transparent documentation of how media can be manipulated, and force used, in the interests of big business, against the interests of the democratic wishes of the people. Riveting stuff. This movie is a political documentary, but would still be great if it were a drama; it’s amazing that it’s real.”

    I especially struck with this description: “…a charismatic leader (Chavez) who actually cares for his people,…” Well, no he doesn’t care. He’s a bully and a strongman. He uses the pretense of caring about the poor, not to actually aid them except around the margins, but to further his own advance to power. This is a man who tried hard to be president for life. He shows every intention of wanting to be dictator and his move against the press is part of that plan.

    Every criticism of the US policy in Latin America is justified. We have and continue to engage in, horrific deeds against the people of many nations. That fact cannot obscure what the usually corrupt and brutal leaders of these same nations are doing.

  10. I agree that it is a major concern that Chavez is handling opposition media in this way. However, the situation in Venezuela is not analagous to what we know or experience here. The “opposition” there makes Fox news look like the New York Times. The opposition media has been used by the wealthy in Venezuela and during the Bush years by the US to attempt to forcibly remove Chavez from office. Their exhortations to viewers to rise up against Chavez is apparently ongoing. So, while I cannot say I approve of what Chavez has done or is doing regarding the free speech of opponents, I also think that the nature of what is going on is not simply broadcasting opposing ideas either. It is a complicated and very unfortunate situation all roundas far as I’m concerned.

    A huge part of Chavez’ paranoia stems, no doubt, from the US backed coup attempt during the Bush years and the ongoing hostitility of the US government toward his regime and him personally. Remember how the Bush administration “recognized” the new government even though the coup attempt never came close to succeeding? It was a massive embarassment for the US to be exposed as backnig the coup and having the whole world see our fangs bared aggressively toward Venezuela’s duly elected leader.

    His oil policy is the root of our hostility to him and his regime. Our hostility has in many ways driven him into the arms of Castro. Typical short-sighted US defense of reactionary interests instead of a more long-term and sensible response to developments in a South American country if you ask me.

  11. It was beautiful here to. Watched a 55gal drum roll about 1,500 feet. Smashed a fence pretty good. Up North about 45 miles they had some hellacious wind/tornados that took a few things out.

    We have had some earthquakes recently seems some think that it is related to the depletion of Natural gas. Go figure this one out. I think some are actually thinking.

  12. AY,

    Yeah, it came a right proper thunderstorm last night. Some of the finest entertainment money can’t buy.

  13. Robes are for sale “hot” special Pakistan wish to unload these at bargain basement prices.

    Well when you do own and control the Oil that is coming to the US I guess you need to be able to do what the US has done. Ask Dan Rather he can probably give a good heads up on what not to say about the people in power.

  14. My but that’s a nice media outlet you’ve got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it. Say it were to . . . catch on fire.

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