Posted by: Beth Portello on 12-09-2010 - 5:47 pm
Action: 12/10 UN Human Rights Day – Attend a “South of the Border” Screening Party
In major US media, evidence of US involvement in coups in Latin America doesn’t exist. Major US media almost never acknowledge evidence of the US role in recent coups in Venezuela, Haiti, and Honduras. But Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border” documents the US role in the coup in Venezuela.
Join a house party (St. Paul MN/Decatur, GA/Woodstock, NY/Los Angeles, CA/Conroe, TX/ Washington, DC/New York City, NY /Gulfport, MS/Southfield, MI/Hilton Head Island, SC/Fayetteville, AR/Corvallis, OR/Madison, WI/Calgary Alberta/San Francisco, CA/Fort Collins, CO/Seattle, WA/Oak Park, IL/Fresno CA) to watch the film and tune live to a webcast with Center for Economic Policy & Research President Mark Weisbrot, who co-wrote the script. Most events start 6pm EST, check if there’s a house party near you:
Categorie(s): "South of the Border" News
Posted by: Lee on 10-27-2010 - 5:56 pm
The death of Argentina’s former president is a sad loss. His bold defiance of the IMF paved the way for South America’s progress
By Mark Weisbrot
Published by The Guardian Unlimited (UK) on October 27, 2010.
The sudden death of Néstor Kirchner today is a great loss not only to Argentina but to the region and the world. Kirchner took office as president in May 2003, when Argentina was in the initial stages of its recovery from a terrible recession. His role in rescuing Argentina’s economy is comparable to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Great Depression of the United States. Like Roosevelt, Kirchner had to stand up not only to powerful moneyed interests but also to most of the economics profession, which was insisting that his policies would lead to disaster. They proved wrong, and Kirchner was right.
Argentina’s recession from 1998-2002 was indeed comparable to the U.S. Great Depression in terms of unemployment, which peaked at more than 21 percent, and lost output (about 20 percent of GDP). The majority of Argentines, who had until then enjoyed living standards among the highest in Latin America, were pushed below the poverty line. In December of 2002 and January 2003, the country underwent a massive devaluation, a world-historical record sovereign default on $95 billion of debt, and a collapse of the financial system.
Although some of the heterodox policies that ultimately ensured Argentina’s rapid recovery were begun in the year before Kirchner took office, he had to follow them through some tough challenges to make Argentina the fastest growing economy in the region.
Read on here.
Categorie(s): "South of the Border" News | From The Filmmakers | News From South America
Posted by: CEPR on 09-13-2010 - 12:00 pm
The Guardian Unlimited, September 11, 2010
See article on original website
The bulk of the media often gets pulled along for the ride when the United States government has a serious political and public relations campaign around foreign policy. But almost nowhere is it so monolithic as with Venezuela. Even in the run-up to the Iraq War, there were a significant number of reporters and editorial writers who didn’t buy the official story. But on Venezuela the media is more like a jury that has twelve people but only one brain.
Since the Venezuelan opposition decided to campaign for the September elections on the issue of Venezuela’s high homicide rate, the international press has been flooded with stories on this theme – some of them highly exaggerated. This is actually quite an amazing public relations achievement for the Venezuelan opposition. Although most of the Venezuelan media, as measured by audience, is still owned by the political opposition there, the international press is not. Normally it takes some kind of news hook, even if only a milestone such as the 10,000th murder, or a political statement from the White House, for a media campaign of this magnitude to take off. But in this case all it took was a decision by the Venezuelan political opposition that homicide would be its main campaign issue, and the international press was all over it.
Categorie(s): From The Filmmakers | UnSpin
Posted by: CEPR on 08-26-2010 - 2:22 pm
As mentioned in an earlier post, Reuters reported yesterday on “a campaign from opposition media to highlight the [Venezuelan] government’s failure to tackle violent crime” ahead of next month’s legislative elections. Such media campaigns, close to Venezuelan elections, are hardly surprising – nor is it unusual that the campaign has been picked up by international media, including the New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page, Voice of America, the Vancouver Sun, public radio, and other outlets. These news reports and opinion pieces repeat the same theme: that violent crime in Venezuela is out of control, which the government of “Hugo Chávez can’t or won’t stop,” as an op-ed in the Miami Herald today puts it. Most of the articles claim that Venezuela’s high murder rate now makes it more dangerous than Iraq – a problematic claim, as some analysts have pointed out, since the Iraq civilian death numbers cited come from an underestimate: Iraq Body Count’s tally, which is mostly derived from media reports of deaths.
A key part of the campaign, Reuters noted, occurred when two opposition papers “printed a gory archive photo of bodies piled up in a morgue.” The government responded by ordering the papers to desist, citing the need to shield children from the violent images as its reason. This prompted immediate cries of censorship. Largely ignored by the international press was the fact that the photos of the bodies – most of which were naked – were printed without the consent of the victims’ families, as a U.S. observer has pointed out in a letter to the New York Times. Further underscoring the Venezuelan government’s rationale for halting publication of the photos, CNN also reportedly stated that it could not show the images because they were “too graphic”.
Posted by: CEPR on 08-25-2010 - 1:06 pm
A Reuters article today on Venezuela’s upcoming legislative elections describes “a campaign from opposition media to highlight the [Venezuelan] government’s failure to tackle violent crime.” But it is not only Venezuelan media that have joined the campaign. In the past few days a flurry of news reports in the international press have laid out the same theme: that violent crime in Venezuela is out of control, that there were more murders last year in Venezuela than civilians killed in Iraq, and that the Venezuelan government either cannot or will not do anything to staunch the bloodshed.
But Robert Naiman, of Just Foreign Policy, reveals some holes in this story. Writing about Venezuela correspondent Simon Romero’s front page article in the New York Times, Naiman notes
It’s bad enough that the editors of the New York Times have refused so far to tell the truth about what we know about the magnitude of the death toll in Iraq as a result of the US invasion and occupation of the country since 2003, according to the standards that are used to describe human tragedies for which the U.S. government does not bear primary responsibility. If the New York Times used the same standards of evidence to describe human tragedies regardless of the degree of responsibility of the U.S. government, it would report that “hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died” as a result of the US war, a fact that we know with the level of confidence that we know similar facts that the New York Times publishes as a matter of routine (such as a recent report that “hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died” — in the Iraq-Iran war.) The New York Times is reluctant to publish this fact about the U.S. war, perhaps, because this fact is awkward to acknowledge for those in Washington who support the status quo policy of permanent war.
But now the New York Times has exacerbated the harm of its denial about the Iraqi death toll, by using its own failure to accurately report the death toll in Iraq as a benchmark for comparison to other human tragedies: in particular, to claim that murder in Venezuela claimed more lives in 2009 than did violence in Iraq. The New York Times editors are like the boy who killed his parents and demanded mercy on the grounds he was an orphan.
Posted by: CEPR on 8:06 am
An excellent op-ed by The Guardian‘s Seumas Milne sums up the changes underway in South America, citing “South of the Border”:
Nearly two centuries after it won nominal independence and Washington declared it a backyard, Latin America is standing up. The tide of progressive change that has swept the continent for the past decade has brought to power a string of social democratic and radical socialist governments that have attacked social and racial privilege, rejected neoliberal orthodoxy and challenged imperial domination of the region.
Its significance is often underestimated or trivialised in Europe and North America. But along with the rise of China, the economic crash of 2008 and the demonstration of the limits of US power in the “war on terror”, the emergence of an independent Latin America is one of a handful of developments reshaping the global order. From Ecuador to Brazil, Bolivia to Argentina, elected leaders have turned away from the IMF, taken back resources from corporate control, boosted regional integration and carved out independent alliances across the world.
Both the scale of the transformation and the misrepresentation of what is taking place in the western media are driven home in Oliver Stone’s new film, South of the Border, which allows six of these new wave leaders to speak for themselves. Most striking is their mutual support and common commitment – from Cristina Kirchner of Argentina to the more leftist Evo Morales – to take back ownership of their continent.
Read the entire article here.
Categorie(s): "South of the Border" News
Posted by: CEPR on 08-12-2010 - 3:31 pm
FAIR notes that the New York Times has corrected an error made in a recent opinion piece.
It’s actually not the first time that the Times has corrected an op-ed. In August 2006, the Times ran a correction – after repeated requests – to a November 2005 column by John Tierney that had cited out-of-date in suggesting that poverty had increased in Venezuela when, in fact, it was declining, as available data demonstrated.
The Times has also corrected editorials …in a way. As shown in “South of the Border”, the Times editorial board initially applauded the 2002 coup against Venezuela’s democratically elected government, saying that “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator” only to reverse position a few days later after President Chávez returned to power. The Times wrote “… [Chávez’s] forced departure last week drew applause at home and in Washington. That reaction, which we shared, overlooked the undemocratic manner in which he was removed. Forcibly unseating a democratically elected leader . . . is never something to cheer.”
Of course, we can’t expect the Times to correct everything in every column or op-ed. The time spent correcting Thomas Friedman alone might keep them too busy for anything else.
Posted by: CEPR on 08-09-2010 - 1:50 pm
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting followed up their recent blog post on the Washington Post’s far-reaching editorial comments on Colombia-Venezuela tensions with a Counterspin interview that delved deeper into the issue. Host Steve Rendall asked Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy, about major media coverage of the tensions, the latest round of which began with Colombia’s presentation at the Organization of American States of “evidence” of guerrillas in Venezuelan territory, including a photo, since made famous by the Washington Post editorial board, supposedly of an ELN leader drinking Venezuelan beer on a Venezuelan beach. (As FAIR noted, this “evidence” was sufficient enough for the Washington Post editorial board to issue an editorial denouncing Venezuela, yet again, and its President, Hugo Chávez, for being part of a “terrorist alliance.” The Post did not comment on whether brewer Empresas Polar is also part of the alliance – they are the ones, after all, who seem to have supplied the ELN leader with beer.)
Posted by: CEPR on 08-06-2010 - 3:16 pm
Human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik takes issue with a recent Washington Post article that reported that Venezuela could be the world’s most dangerous country for trade unionists. Correspondent Juan Forero makes the suggestion in stating that “Though Colombia, with its slow-burning conflict, has historically recorded the most union slayings in the world, Venezuela appears to have surpassed its neighbor in the past two years and registered more.” The article is accompanied by a photo of Hugo Chávez with a caption reading: “President Hugo Chávez has called his government labor-friendly, but the country is among the world’s most dangerous for labor activists.”
But Kovalik notes
According to the ITUC’s 2010 Annual Survey, of the 101 unionists assassinated in the world last year (2009), 48 (almost half) were Colombian. And, a recent, July 8, 2010 press release from the AFL-CI0 indicates that another 29 Colombian unionists were assassinated in the first half of 2010.
Posted by: CEPR on 08-05-2010 - 12:21 pm
“South of the Border” examines how the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and other countries are depicted in the major U.S. media. Many major U.K. media outlets offer a similar treatment of Latin America. A recent analysis of BBC coverage of Venezuela in the Chávez years, for example, details numerous misleading statements and distortions. To take another case, The Guardian is currently prominently featuring a report from last year on “The rise and rule of” Hugo Chávez. The slideshow – almost a sort of mini-documentary – is done by South America correspondent Rory Carroll, and it provides a good example of the kinds of distortions and one-sided, de-contextualized information on South America that have appeared in many Guardian news reports over the past several years.
The slideshow begins violently, with the sound of gunshots and images of the failed 1992 coup d’etat launched by Chávez and other military officers. A barebones description of the coup quickly segues into an explanation that “Chávez … instead of shooting his way into power … seduced his way,” since “the poor were angry”, as Carroll puts it. There is no mention of the exponentially more bloody episode that would help explain how divided Venezuelan society had become prior to ‘92, and why the coup attempt was so popular: the 1989 caracazo, protests against IMF-mandated economic policies which were crushed by the Venezuelan military and police, resulting in hundreds and possibly thousands killed as troops fired on demonstrators.