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Chavez Induced Denial

Do we truly have an independent media, or are we dependant on denial? Many events over the last few years have caused this question to come under serious consideration, not least of all the business t

Do we truly have an independent media, or are we dependant on denial? Many events over the last few years have caused this question to come under serious consideration, not least of all the business that journalism has become behind the closed doors of corporate-owned news agencies. The readily available content of American news is decided around the board tables of these conglomerated news giants. This week gave us another hint at the choosey nature of the American media.

Hugo Chavez first became president of Venezuela in 1998 and was most recently re-elected on December 3, 2006. Did you miss it? I would have had I not been looking for it. Chavez certainly did not enjoy extensive coverage here in the States. Yet many consider the bold moves and policies made by Chavez to be among the most influential forces in current day Latin America. Despite the impact this recent election is sure to have on the continent of South America and beyond, their northern neighbors had no shortage of monotonous news that took precedent over Venezuela's election coverage. The obvious question is why.

A controversial figure both within and outside of his country, Chavez has certainly earned the merits of this controversial status, beginning with a failed military coupe in 1992. Since his election to the presidency in 1998, Chavez has won the hearts of Venezuelans with his social programs, the Bolivarian Missions. The missions were created to combat disease, illiteracy and poverty within the barrios of Venezuela and have thus far produced thousands of health clinics that provide care to the poor and have contributed to significant drops in infant mortality rates. Over one million people are reported to have achieved literacy due to the Bolivarian Missions and widespread food and housing subsidies have eased the pain of Venezuela's poor.

This is where the controversy begins. Amid all of the social progress experienced within Venezuela, there is growing unrest among those who want privatized industry and strong relations with the West. The first concern of Chavez is certainly not the West, and he wants to bring all industry public, especially the country's rich oil industry. These public industries would in part fund the Bolivarian Missions and presumably give Venezuela "negotiation capital" with the Western world, which will be needed if the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), an alternative agreement to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), sees fruition. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is not a fan of ALBA, anymore than they were happy to see Chavez supply discounted heating oil to the US Northwest during the winter of 2005. Chavez doesn't seem concerned at Bush's lack of approval.

Solidifying Bush's distaste for Chavez is a list of names such as "pendejo" and "devil" that Chavez has assigned to the American president. On September twentieth of this year, Chavez rocked the UN General Assembly by referring to Bush as the "spokesman of imperialism" and the devil, which was frowned upon by America but openly applauded by others in the assembly. It's open expressions of defiance such as these that have divided crowds into two very polarized groups. Chavez is either loved or hated.

Ironically enough, one criticism pointed to by Chavez opponents is supposed suppression of the Venezuelan media, a move that for many is the mark of a dictatorial regime. This begs the question of the American media. Is there a direct line from the White House to the newsroom that dictates American news, or are US news agencies simply sensitive to the undertones of favor within the White House, the whos in and whose out? This would be a bit reminiscent of the silent treatment given by high school girls to those that fall out of their favor, a sort of denial of existence. It leads one to contemplate what else we're not talking about, how pervasive our apathy or denial really is.



About the Writer

Marcie Hale is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Chavez Induced Denial

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By TonyBerkman on October 22, 2011 at 05:38 pm

Media released reports that Chavez has about 2 years to live http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/22/us-venezuela-chavez-doctors-idUSTRE79L1TM20111022

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