Journalism of the left in times of the right

Source:  Granma
March 13 2019

The truth can be silenced, if it does not reach everyone, or is drowned out by lies shouted louder

walter martinez telesur.jpgWalter Martínez is one of those journalists who struggles everyday to spread the truth on his teleSUR program. Photo: panorama.com.ve

As children, one of the first things we learned was that there is strength in unity. Be it from “Once upon a time” tales or the stories of Mama Oca, we came to understand that all together we could move mountains, while alone, the road was steeper.

Later, something simple, that could be so easily understood at an early age, became increasing complicated as the years went by, as we divided ourselves as independent, sometimes selfish, beings, in search of our own wellbeing.

What may appear as no more than a bedtime story is applicable in all spheres of life, even politics, as the people of Latin America should know.

The conservative restoration

The years when Hugo Chávez began a project in Venezuela to put those who were last first – joined by 11 progressive governments across Latin America and the Caribbean, beginning in 1998 – may seem like a long time ago, given the current panorama.

But, as Basque political analyst and journalist Katu Arkonada said on teleSUR: “The 2009 coup against Mel Zelaya in Honduras; the parliamentary coup against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay in 2012; the 2016 impeachment of Dilma in Brazil; and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, allowed the attempted conservative restoration to be partially accomplished.”

A restoration which now includes Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Trump, as the new head of state is known, who is creating a military government, according to the eminent intellectual Frei Betto.

In Ecuador, since the end of Rafael Correa’s administration, the left has been split, and the Citizens Revolution social project dismantled.

Venezuela, for its part, is facing a difficult moment and a fierce media campaign intended to create confusion and fear, to destabilize the country and discredit the government of Nicolás Maduro, democratically elected by a clear majority.

The role of committed media and journalists

So, given this discouraging panorama, what is the role of committed media and journalists? How can we advance the struggle when giant media corporations like O Globo, in Brazil, or Clarín, in Argentina, defend capitalist interests?

Surrender will never be the solution. We must fight, use our revolutionary self-criticism, reach the people; portray the governments that have reduced poverty, provided health, education, and jobs.

This lesson is a pending issue for the left in countries where today neoliberalism is being imposed on our peoples.

Argentine journalist and intellectual Stella Calloni, in an interview with Granma, noted that the left is going through a difficult moment; that in her country telling the truth can be very expensive, as the 3,000 media workers dismissed for “ideological differences” know well.

This is happening in Brazil, too, where television broadcaster O Globo controls 80% of the country’s stations. Journalist Beto Almeida, told Granma, that reporters are suffering persecution, highlighting the case of his two colleagues Juca Kfouri and Jean Wyllys, whose lives have been threatened.

Venezuela offers another example of the damage that new media can do if used maliciously. The truth, if it does not reach everyone, and is drowned out by lies shouted louder, can be silenced. Infamous fake news reports, spread by unethical professionals who prioritize impact over accuracy, influence individuals with manipulative, manufactured scenarios.

The need for journalists of the left to come together

Given this reality, Stella Calloni emphasizes the need for journalists of the left to come together to tell the stories that don’t make the headlines, “We are coming up with ways nows, for example, bringing together all individuals who have web sites to struggle as alternative media, bringing them together to have an amalgam of voices to tell what is happening and is not known.”

Brazilian sports reporter Juca Kfouri commented, “Journalism is characterized by its attempt to make a better world,” and given this premise, he continues to denounce what is going on in his country, despite the threats, using football to raise consciousness.

It is clear that, in the current scenario, more than ever the courage is needed to open the eyes of readers, viewers, radio listeners, knowing how to use media weapons is an urgent challenge. Calloni, in comments made during the International Journalism Forum, emphasized that information is a weapon of war, and reaffirmed that we are facing a cultural battle, with painful results, in which discredit is stronger than a bullet. The right knows how to use these weapons well. The facts show it. Numerous studies show that WhatsApp played a key role in Bolsonaro’s electoral victory. A similar case is that of U.S. President Donald Trump. As journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde expressed in a recent lecture: “We are facing a new media architecture. While the mass media imposes the agenda, others deal with the personal and emotional base. Today public opinion is not built exclusively with published opinion, but with shared opinion. ”Social media move emotions, which in turn move voters who go to the polls without confirming what they read, accepting Facebook posts as unquestionable truth.

Thus the importance of finding new ways of communicating, while preserving ethical practices of the trade, without resorting to crude manipulations. Seeking, as Calloni said, “a creative way to resist.”

Life online and offline

IN CONTEXT:Many times the debate within the left is lost, counterpoising taking the street versus taking the internet, as if they were mutually exclusive. If there is a central task on the left, it is to understand that life online and offline are not separate, they are a continuum, part of a single body, and the internet can be many things, except an intangible, ethereal world apart. Cyberspace is the heart of a supranational system that is directly related to physical space, in at least three dimensions. First, its communication routes, nodes, and servers (physical infrastructure) are located somewhere geographically. Second, the protocols or rules of the game that allow people to connect – domains – have a national identity and involve zones of sovereignty, state control, and their own language. And third, cyberspace emphasizes physical geography in a special way: with services, navigation devices, technical gadgets, and mobile devices, which create an interactive map of interconnected channels of information, technology, and people. People have nationality, obey laws, and are also physically present somewhere.

It is not chaos, there are laws. This scenario is regulated by hierarchies and the main network nodes (internet) located in a specific physical spot, which accentuate the disparities of contemporary society, establishing a new map in which center and periphery are clearly located. Of course, notions of time and space, of power and freedom, the individual and the collective, the public and private, national and international culture, and the productive and unproductive, but all within this hegemonic capitalist framework. Within this structure, the development of new models of mediation is encouraged, impacting subsystems of production, distribution, and consumption, on the one hand, and the mechanisms of social reproduction and power, on the other.

Source: Lecture by Rosa Miriam Elizalde during the International Journalism Forum, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s Mission Truth and the foundation of Prensa Latina.

Hugo Chavez’s Memory Lives on in the Hearts of Latin Americans

Source:  TeleSUR
March 5 2019

hugo chavez lives onHugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013, but his
presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Hugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013,
but his presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 March 2019 (13 hours 5 minutes ago)

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

Six years since his passing and the memory of Hugo Chavez still remains not only in the hearts of Venezuelans but of Latin Americans around the globe.

RELATED: John Pilger: The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies

His leadership and legacy revolutionized the state of Venezuela, like no other administration in the nation’s history, cutting the chord from imperialist countries in the north, taking the reins and changing South America’s future.

After centuries of passivity, under Chavez’s administration, Venezuela bloomed into one of the strongest, most independent nations on the continent.

Over the 14 years of his presidency, Chavez made it his mission to bring equality to lower classes from mediating race discrimination to increasing employment opportunities and introducing social programs.

By exploring the expenditure of Venezuela’s oil industry, the former president was able to allocate funds for free housing, literacy, and health care initiatives. Pensions for the elderly surged, jumping from 400,000 to over two million; some 1.5 million Venezuelans benefited from the Mission Robinson I and learned to read and write.

Under Chavez’s policies, poverty rates were cut in half and the level of extreme poverty decreased by two-thirds; child malnutrition decreased and the amount of safe, clean drinking water grew.

In an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Roger D. Harris, Task Force on the Americas, said, “Venezuela went from being among one of the most economically unequal nations in Latin America to being among the most equal through the exercise of state power for the populace.”

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

His experience was pivotal in the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) which united Venezuelan and Cuba in 2003 in a mutually respectful and reciprocal fair trade arrangement. What started as a two-member agreement, soon grew into an 11-member nation concord.

IN DEPTH:  Venezuela Confronts US-backed Right-wing Coup

A second initiative, PetroCaribe, made waves in 2005 when 17 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean joined together to secure a steady energy supply, without overdue interference from Canada or the United States.

Similarly, The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) were created again as a means to break from centuries of tradition and submission orchestrated by the Northern Hemisphere.

The progress realized in Venezuela over the last decade and a half hardly make it surprising that the United States is desperate to instate a Washington-approved head of state.

Over the last few months, the U.S. has increased its efforts to dislodge Chavez’s democratically elected successor, Nicolas Maduro. In its most recent attempt, the U.S. sent “humanitarian aid” to Colombia in a show of solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition and the “suffering boys and girls.” However, violence- perpetrated by opposition forces- broke out along the border and resulted in the injury of numerous state police officials.

This “philanthropic” ploy was denounced by Venezuelan government officials before an international delegation at the United Nations last week, when Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza revealed that the trucks of “food” were carrying equipment for barricades and anti-government movements lodged by the opposition.

Despite these hardships, Maduro’s government continues Chavez’s mission, founding new social programs to boost the economy and employment opportunities, while still ensuring the heart and spirit of “Chavismo” is reflected in modern-day Venezuela.

The Coup in Venezuela Explained

The Coup in Venezuela, Explained

As crisis engulfs Venezuela, Aaron Bastani looks at the political and economic history of the country since Hugo Chavez won power in 1998. His conclusion? That sanctions and oil prices are to blame for the country’s economic plight, while it boasts a far greater tradition of democracy than critics often realise let alone dare to admit.

Related: Venezuela Estimates $38B in Losses from US Sanctions

 

An Open Letter to the American People from President Nicolás Maduro

Source:  Tony Seed’s Weblog
February 7 2019

maduro's open letter to the american people

If I know anything, it is about peoples, such as you. I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart. Today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy.

We live today a historical trance. There are days that will define the future of our countries between war and peace. Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they planted in Vietnam. They want to invade and intervene in Venezuela – they say, as they said then – in the name of democracy and freedom. But it’s not like that. The history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false case, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region.

Venezuela is a country that, by virtue of its 1999 Constitution, has broadly expanded the participatory and protagonist democracy of the people, and that is unprecedented today, as one of the countries with the largest number of electoral processes in its last 20 years. You might not like our ideology, or our appearance, but we exist and we are millions.

I address these words to the people of the United States of America to warn of the gravity and danger that intend some sectors in the White House to invade Venezuela with unpredictable consequences for my country and for the entire American region. President Donald Trump also intends to disturb noble dialogue initiatives promoted by Uruguay and Mexico with the support of CARICOM for a peaceful solution and dialogue in favour of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela we have to sit down and talk, because to refuse to dialogue is to choose strength as a way. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate”. Are those who do not want to dialogue afraid of the truth?

The political intolerance towards the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches, has prompted an international coalition headed by the US government to commit the serious insanity of militarily attacking Venezuela under the false excuse of a non-existent humanitarian crisis.

The people of Venezuela have suffered painfully social wounds caused by a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught.

And yet, thanks to a new system of social protection, of direct attention to the most vulnerable sectors, we proudly continue to be a country with high human development index and lower inequality in the Americas.

The American people must know that this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles and purposes for the sake of peace and the friendly relations between the Nations.

We want to continue being business partners of the people of the United States, as we have been throughout our history. Their politicians in Washington, on the other hand, are willing to send their sons and daughters to die in an absurd war, instead of respecting the sacred right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and safeguarding their sovereignty.

Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all the pieces of our soul. Today Venezuela is united in a single clamor: we demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention against Venezuela. We appeal to the good soul of the American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.

Long live the peoples of America!

Nicolás Maduro

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Cuba reiterates unconditional solidarity and support for President Maduro and the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution

Source:  Granma
August 6 2018

Leading the commemoration of the 8th anniversary of ALBA were Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, then President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, and President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro Moro. Photo: Juvenal Balán

The revolutionary government of the Republic of Cuba forcefully denounces the attempted attack on the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, which occurred Saturday August 4, during a military parade in Caracas, on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the founding of the Bolivarian National Guard.

This terrorist act, presuming to ignore the will of the Venezuelan people, is yet another desperate attempt to achieve via assassination what has not been possible in multiple elections, or through the 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chávez, the 2003 oil industry lock-out, or the unconventional war conducted with media campaigns, sabotage, and violent, cruel acts.

The revolutionary government once again condemns the operation being carried out against the legitimate government of Venezuela, as part of imperialism’s policy of harassment to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, that includes the arbitrary, aggressive U.S. Executive Order describing Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy” of the United States; unilateral economic sanctions in violation of international law; the statement by the U.S. Secretary of State asserting that the Monroe Doctrine remains in full effect and calling for a military coup against the constitutional government of Venezuela; and the U.S. President’s threat of using “a possible military option” against the country.

July 14, 2017, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz warned:

“The coup plotting aggression and violence in Venezuela hurts all of Our America and only benefits the interests of those who are intent upon dividing us, to exert their domination over our peoples, regardless of the conflicts generated with incalculable consequences in the region, as we are witnessing in different places around the world.

“We forewarn today that those who attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, via unconstitutional, violent, coup-plotting methods, will assume a serious responsibility before history.”

The revolutionary government expresses its full, unwavering solidarity with Venezuela and its unconditional support to President Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic-military of the Bolivarian Chavista people.

As the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, said this past July 17, within the context of the Sao Paulo Forum’s 24th meeting, we must “strengthen the conviction that to fight for Venezuela is to fight for the region’s integration, for respecting the sovereignty and independence of Our America.”

Our Solidarity with President Maduro and the Bolivarian People 

Source:  International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
August 6 2018

venezuelan flag 2.jpg

In the face of the serious attack that gravely endangered the life of President Nicolás Maduro, we call on the people of the world to speak out with all their might to express their unconditional solidarity with the brave people of Venezuela, their legitimate government and their armed forces.

This attack can only be viewed as an escalation of hostilities from the Imperialists of the North against a sovereign Venezuela. They will stop at nothing until they grab the resources of the country away from the people and back into the neoliberal model that only caters to the very rich.

Two decades ago Commander Hugo Chavez formed a military civic union that restored dignity and prosperity to the people of Venezuela that President Maduro now defends with his life.

Be strong Maduro! We admire your strength and resistance against all the plans of the oligarchy and the empire.

They will not pass!

International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity