The Times’ Jihad Against Hugo Chávez

You’d think the New York Times would feel a little sheepish about the President of Venezuela. After all, the Times didn’t exactly cover itself with glory when, the day after a bumbling U.S.-backed junta overthrew the democratically elected socialist leader, it not only editorialized in favor of the coup but ran suspiciously lengthy and well-prepared puff pieces about the businessmen who carried it off. (Three days later, the junta guys were in jail, never again to be mentioned in the Newspaper of Record.)
You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.
Today’s Times continues the paper’s five-year campaign to depose Chávez were it directed at more worthy political leaders like, say, Islam “Boiling Prisoners R Us” Karimov of Uzbekistan, a key U.S. ally in the War of Terror.
“If your taste runs to three-hour speeches, chiseling away at democracy and a world-class personality cult, Mr. Chávez is your man,” the paper’s editorial says. Why do the editors resent Venezuelan president’s alleged longwindedness so much? Do they pay their Latin American reporters by the hour to transcribe his addresses? As for the “personality cult,” well—as they said in the hood ten years ago, check yourself. Only in the United States and especially in the Times, every presidential fart rates a front-page story. When I called a Times editor on his paper’s sycophancy at the height of Judy Miller’s reign of WMD error, he replied: “The President of the United States controls the armies and navies and the world’s biggest economy. Whatever he says is, by definition, news.” News, in this case, = lies. But I digress.
But here’s the real howler: “Concern over the popularity of Fidel Castro inspired the pro-democracy, pro-development policies of the Alliance for Progress during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, one of the happier periods of inter-American relations.”
The period between 1961 and 1969 might be known for some happy developments—the miniskirt, for example—but citing it as a zenith of U.S.-Latin America relations is nothing short of hilarious. One only has to read ex-CIA agent Philip Agee’s expose “Inside the Company”—a catalog of sleazy attempts, some successful, others not—to manipulate the internal politics of South American and Central American nations to the economic and ideological interest of the U.S., or more specifically, American right-wingers and their allies in business. It is not something we want, or should want, to replicate.

6 Responses to “”

  1. wMM Says:

    Chavez has been everything Bush has not, popular with a solid majority, on good terms with his neighbors and estabishing relations with contries across the globe. Compared to Bush, he is an a first rate statesman. Too bad the NYT does not hold Bush to the same standard as they do Chavez.

  2. Matt Says:

    “Chiseling away at democracy”, when in reference to South America is almost always a euphamism for “chiseling away at the privileges of the ruling elite”.

    Chavez was elected democratically, and has implemented programs to increase literacy and reduce poverty (meanwhile, American leaders implement programs that do the polar opposite). Chavez has also helped the poor in America by shipping discount heating oil to the northeast.

    Some of Chavez’s friends are not exactly beacons of progressive democracy (Castro, Ahmedinejad), but then again, neither are Bandar bin Sultan and Pervez Musharraf.

    Interested readers should also check out William Blum’s “Killing Hope”, a good compendium of CIA misadventures all over the globe.

  3. Honking it Says:

    Yes, I also like reading MSN’s money section which had an anti-Chavez bit for investors.

    The mantra they use is that Chavez’s nationalization of industries will lead to “inflation and destabilization of the economy!” They are so goddamn certain of it.

    That’s why we can’t nationalize healthcare, too, I imagine. It would cause inflation to skyrocket and the economy would collapse. Those poor investors! They will have nowhere else to put their money!

  4. False Prophet Says:

    Chavez represents a huge problem to the Establishment. I mean, look how he undermines the IMF (AKA the tool of American economic imperialism) in Latin America.

  5. Matt Says:

    When asked why nationalizing industries will destabilize the economy, free trade wingnuts always point to the Soviet Union, completely ignoring that the quality of life in the former USSR has gotten worse for most people since 1991.

    A more sinister view of the “destabilizing the economy” argument is that it is correct, because foreign investors will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy; i.e. if you nationalize an industry, we’ll pull all of our investment out of your economy and cause a panic.

    But when it’s all said and done, nationalization has worked out pretty well for, say, Saudi Arabia. And Iraq, at least when Saddam was GHW Bush’s boy.

  6. osisbs Says:

    Nationalization didn’t ruin the Soviet Union, the War in Afghanistan did. It’s a good thing that our leaders are so well-versed in history as to not repeat the failures of others. After all, isn’t Dick Cheney a former chair of the History Department of the University of Wyoming? Isn’t George W. Bush a graduate of an Ivy League school? Didn’t they study the prophecies of noted war scholar Levi Strauss? Isn’t life all hugs and kisses and fuzzy puppies when the free market is left to work its magic? Isn’t it? Anyone? Hello?

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