Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Journalists on Venezuela

We might be two weeks away from Chavez coronation and Venezuela end of democracy but that does not stop journalists to maintain an eye on the country. Let's start by a quiz: who wrote the following lines?

But Venezuela is also a country with indisputable similarities to some of the more unsavory systems of the 20th century. Its leader holds an almost cultlike status among followers, from ordinary Venezuelans to government ministers and lawmakers. Increasingly, many view his every word as gospel, his dictums to be obediently followed. Five state television stations regularly carry his speeches, rallies and frequent trips to the hinterlands.

Over the past decade, Chávez has taken control of the Supreme Court, the lower courts, the state oil company, the armed forces, and all investigative and oversight agencies, including the attorney general's office. The National Assembly is also under Chávez's control...

If you guessed Juan Forero of the Washington Post then you are a better judge of opinion evolution than I am.

Now, if you are tired of politics you can read what happens when journalists develop a real interest for the country they are posted at, contributing to its knowledge overseas more than what had happened since I can recall. This excellent report of Simon Romero over Cubagua, the first settlement in Venezuela, is a must read if you still ignore the rich, if unglamorous, colonial history of Venezuela. By the way, if you ever have a chance to visit Cubagua, do so, I highly recommend it even if there is nothing spectacular about it except for that overwhelming feeling of being at the edge of the world.

By the way, Romero gives us yet another example on how Chavez cares ONLY about the history that is convenient to him. Heck, we even got a representative at the National assembly asking publicly a few days ago to rewrite history books for schools.

-The end-

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