It is hard to be a defender of Venezuela in this country. I find that I constantly have to add caveats to what I say. Because the truth is that Venezuela has real problems. And it is hardly perfect when it comes to human rights and press freedom. The problem is, it is so much closer to perfection than it is to the despotic hellscape that is portrayed in US media. And that’s probably the main reason that I defend Venezuela: it is the best example I know of to show what lapdogs the press is in this country.
Glenn Greenwald wrote a good article earlier this week that highlights the problem, Maybe Obama’s Sanctions on Venezuela Are Not Really About His “Deep Concern” Over Suppression of Political Rights. It is in direct response to the new sanctions against Venezuela that are based upon the country being “an extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States. That’s just too pathetic. I’m always amazed that countries like Venezuela are both about to crumble because they don’t show our corporations enough love and so powerful that they will destroy the US. Of course we know what the problem is: our government just doesn’t like Venezuela because its government doesn’t do what our government wants.
But good luck finding a mainstream source that will do anything but parrot back official US policy about Venezuela. Or, as Greenwald noted, Saudi Arabia. If there were anything objective about which countries the US likes and doesn’t like, we wouldn’t even be talking to Saudi Arabia. This is Saudi Arabia:
But this is nothing compared to Venezuela having a state run television network and generally being suspicious of the “independent” media who were involved in the most recent coup against the democratically elected government in Venezuela. Yes, I know there are worse things that have been done by the regime. But there is no doubt if the coup had been successful and the US liked the government, Venezuela could do far more and the United States — most especially its media — would be just fine with it. Any criticisms would be countered with apologetics, just as I can easily provide an apologia for the current regime in a single word: coup.
Here is Greenwald on this issue:
The worst media offender in this regard is The New York Times, which explicitly celebrated the 2002 US-supported coup of Hugo Chavez as a victory for democracy, but which now regularly derides the notion that the US would ever do something as untoward as undermine the Venezuelan government.
The main thing, however, is that even among liberals, it is hard to find defenders of Venezuela. And it’s strange. Somehow, because Venezuela is an official enemy of the American power elite, it’s wrong to defend Venezuela unless it is perfect. Meanwhile, most liberals stand silent as Saudia Arabia is presented as some bastion of freedom in the Middle East. Regardless, the US government shouldn’t be able to get away with claiming that Venezuela is a threat to us. But it isn’t even questioned. Undoubtedly, the people of Venezuela deserve a better government. But the government that we want to give them would be much worse. And if we continue to do everything we can to destroy the democratically elected government in Venezuela, it has no incentive to become more of what I would like it to be. Of course, our government — and the media that supports it — have no interest in that happening; they all just want a government in Venezuela that supports our power elite.
You should also read Mark Weisbrot’s great article, Obama Absurdly Declares Venezuela a Security Threat: