Thursday, May 24, 2007

Those exquisite revolutionary moments: media blitz at its worst

As the closing of RCTV nears, the Venezuelan government is not feeling so good about it. So, as it has been usual in such moment of crisis, cadenas start succeeding each other.

Cadenas are the forced simultaneous broadcast on ALL TV networks and ALL Radio stations of Venezuela, at the same time, for as long as the government wishes, for the government to say whatever it wants. There is no right to reply for anyone aggressed during such cadenas. That is, if Chavez decides to make a cadena to attack a Venezuelan political opinion, or propose a given policy without national consulting, the other side does not even get 1 minute of air time on the state TV VTV to refute the Chavez attacks. But Chavez could have spent 5 minutes or a full hour attacking the said political group on ALL broadcast waves of Venezuela simultaneously. Nobody is even allowed him to ask him a question, a precision. Nothing, he speaks as he wishes and no one can counter him except next day on newspaper, or maybe a given talk show of much more limited audience.

It is important to remind folks what a cadena is since sometimes, even after years of reporting on this greatest of media abuses, we still find some Chavez supporters coming to places such as this blog and pretend that they do not know about cadenas, or the extent of the abuse they represent. Amazing!

But back to this topic (all links in English for a change).

The thing for Chavez is that tonight he had some problems. First the US Senate foreign committee approved a resolution to be sent to the floor recommending a unanimity vote. That resolution, it is interesting to note for those supporters of Chavez that think Clinton or Obama are natural allies of Chavez, is supported by the said senators. That is, to make things absolutely clear Liberals such as Clinton or African Americans such as Obama are not buying Chavez line, at least when this one threatens freedom of expression. Of course Chavez cannot understand that because, well, in Venezuela I cannot say certain things about the president of the country, nor can I burn the Venezuelan flag in public. But I can do those things in the US. And to add insult to injury, along the expected Republican names we find Ted Kennedy signing but also Christopher Dodd who has been until now a strong Chavez supporter and now is the co-signer promoter of the bill with Richard Lugar. So much for the millions spent in propaganda in the US through the VIO.

But things did not get much better from Europe where the European parliament voted also such a resolution 2 to 1. Europe also is clear. But Europe being so democratic, that barely 10% of Euro deputies attended the session gives Chavez the opportunity to make lots of fun on Europe where only 10% bother attending. Granted, that 10% of the deputies constitute a working body of the European parliament in Strasbourg is rather embarrassing. But it is also an excellent sign of the democratic vocation of Europe where if such a vote where taken without the necessary clearings, one can be sure that an emergency session would be immediately convoked. Chavez can certainly laugh, but his own monochromatic parliament who surrendered its legislative power to him is infinitely mire pathetic than the EU parliament where its deputies have actually work to do reporting back to their countries of origin.

And to complete the scene, Chavez surely heard of Granier going to Globovision tonight to defend RCTV. Since the RCTV campaign is gaining momentum and polls are not favorable to Chavez on such an arbitrary measure, then the best strategy was to launch yet another cadena tonight, another one this week (after the CANTV launch of two days ago and I am sure other to come before RCTV is closed).

Tonight cadena is rather pathetic, in front of an audience full of red clad “students” sycophantically hoarding the Teresa Carreño, our national theater now the private domain of Chavez. The cadena has no reason to be held. There is no other event this week as important as CANTV going to the state or RCTV going off the air. So Chavez uses some minor event about some “independent“ universities measures to call for a cadena and start attacking the US senate, the European parliament, Marcel Granier and rant, and rant on endless useless subjects. For example, why must we have a cadena to hear about Chavez brother, Adam, girl friends when he was young? Is Adam’s past sexual life a national matter? Must ALL the country be forced to listen to such a trivial topic? And then, after making mockery of real democratic values that Chavez is so busily destructing at home, he starts perorating on PDVSA and what not, including Castro. On occasion though, he comes back to the students, but to tell them to go out against the Venezuelan oligarchy which is “fighting like snakes” in a pit.

Will Granier have the right to reply on VTV? Will Christopher Dodd be allowed to explain on VTV why he decided to sponsor a US Senate resolution? Will the Europe deputies be able to explain why in Europe the closing of RCTV is so odious? Will a historian be allowed to correct the fantastic ideas of Chavez on Latin American independence? No, no cadena except for Chavez.

That is what await us once RCTV is closed. More cadenas, more Chavez on the air, less and less different views until there is no dissent on the air. What awaits us is the ultimate privatization of the media in a country, all at the service of the interests of a single man, Hugo Chavez, the sole owner of Venezuela.

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PS: the cadena is not over and I am done with this post, with dinner, with listening to bits an pieces, expecting that in a few minutes Chavez might announce the end of university autonomy, another long cherished dream of his in addition of closing private media. We'll see. But what I saw tonight is that Chavez does not even know where Strasbourg is. On live TV, reprimanding his staff fro not giving him the right information! But who cares, as of today maybe in all Venezuelan geography books Strasbourg will be erased from French maps or, who knows, perhaps placed ambiguously on the Rhine border. Weirder things have been seen in this glorious bolivarian involution.

-The end-

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