The news poured down like a hard Venezuelan rain—Hugo Chávez had passed. After a two-year-long battle with cancer, we should have been prepared. But we weren’t. For members of Venezuela’s grassroots movements, Chávez meant the hope of a better life, and the means to organize to accomplish it.
In the United States, Cuba, and elsewhere in Latin America, Venezuela's creative oil assistance programs are playing a vital role in economic stabilization and poverty reduction. Cutbacks in these programs, which may result from changing political and economic circumstances in Venezuela, would be devastating to many countries.
NACLA presents its Winter 2013 Radio Podcast. Featuring content on forced evictions in Brazil, the Venezuelan elections, and the speech from Chavkin Award winner for Integrity in Journalism in Latin America, Félix Antonio Molina from Radio Globo, Honduras. You can now also subscribe to NACLA Radio.
The New York Times reinforces attitudes that Latin American politics can be little more than a primitive charade, starring authoritarian leaders and a hoodwinked public, punctuated by laughable distractions. Thankfully—at least within the paper's coverage—this "political theater of the absurd" isn’t commonplace here at home.
Regional elections do not usually attract international media headlines. But Sunday’s gubernatorial race in Venezuela was not a typical regional election. This was the first time since Chávez came to power in 1999 in which he was unable to actively campaign in an election.
On December 8, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez announced that his cancer has returned. Unlike past announcements, this time around Chávez publicly acknowledged that his odds of survival may not be great. Chávez took the astonishing, and quite unprecedented, step of naming a successor, foreign secretary Nicolas Maduro.
The paradigm that has emerged during Chávez’s presidency is threatening to the dominant political discourse in the United States. So it’s not surprising to see the U.S. media’s hostile reactions to the politics of Venezuela, where citizens expect their votes to translate into genuine improvements in their daily lives—and politicians must deliver on those expectations.
Unlike Mitt Romney’s remarks disparaging the 47%, which were made in private to a coterie of wealthy donors, financial consultant Pedro Burelli disparaged 100% of Venezuelans at a free event, open to the public, and hosted by one of the most prominent, bipartisan think tanks in Washington, D.C.
The media's behavior in the lead-up to Venezuela’s elections has been overwhelmingly disgraceful. The Hall of Shame that follows is a sampling of some of the most typical distortions, gratuitous slurs, and incorrect predictions that readers have been exposed to over the past few weeks.