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.

New Coup Attempt In Venezuela Led by Juan Guaido

Source:  TeleSUR
January 23 2019

juan guaido venezuelaNew U.S.-backed coup d’etat attempt in Venezuela | Photo: Reuters

The Venezuelan right-wing, backed by the United States and other right-wing governments in the region, continue with their coup agenda against the Bolivarian government.

The Venezuelan and international right advances in its destabilizing plans, which are rejected by revolutionary people in the streets.

RELATED:  Venezuelan Top Court Calls for Probe into Illegal Actions of Suspended National Assembly

The Venezuelan right-wing, backed by the United States and other right-wing governments in the region, continue with their coup agenda against the Bolivarian government. Meanwhile, in the streets of Caracas, Chavismo mobilizes in defense of peace, democracy and sovereignty of the country in the face of interference and destabilization of the national and international right-wing.

In an unconstitutional event the president of the National Assembly in judiciary contempt, Juan Guaido, sworn himself in on Wednesday morning. After which U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the illegal self-proclaimed president. The same was done by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, who has instigated attacks against Venezuela and his Government.

For his part, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, joined the interference with a call to Venezuelan military and security forces “to support democracy.” In addition, he gave his support to Guaidó “while establishing a transitional government and preparing elections.” Other presidents and governments of Latin America have supported Guaido, directly attacking the Bolivarian Government of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.

The strategy: Usurp powers

This Wednesday the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) urged the Prosecutor’s Office to determine the responsibilities of the members of the National Assembly (AN), in contempt, for the usurpation of the powers of the Executive.

Judge Juan Jose Mendoza pointed out that the National Assembly “expressly violates Article 236, numerals 4 and 15, as it seems to usurp the competence of the President of the Republic in directing the foreign relations of the State.”

He also ratified the unconstitutionality of the acts of the AN and found that it continues in contempt.

Juan Guaido, the new face of the coup

The appointment of Juan Guiado as “leader” of the Venezuelan opposition is not casual, the act responds to the construction of an image that seems more “popular,” contrary to that of the traditional leaders of the Venezuelan right-wing.

RELATED:  Venezuela’s VP to Mike Pence: ‘Yankee, Go Home’

Guido has his origins based in the popular middle class, he is an engineer graduated from a private university, even his physical appearance is far from the traditional profile opponent.

His image contrasts with the one of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, who comes from the working class as a bus driver. Guaido was a protagonist of the violent actions of the opposition in 2007, 2014 and 2017 usually known as Guarimbas.

Background: Opposition and usurpation

On April 11, 2002, the Venezuelan opposition also ignored the Constitution and staged a coup d’état, in which the president of Fedecamaras (Federation of the commerce chambers), Pedro Carmona Estanga, declared himself president, with the complicity of the country’s media and oligarchic sector.

Carmona revoked the 1999 Constitution and the 49 enabling laws decreed by President Hugo Chavez in the framework of the Enabling Law. It also dissolved the other public powers, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General of the Republic, the Ombudsman, the National Electoral Council, the National Assembly and the General Comptroller of the Republic.

Venezuelans reject coup plotters

Jamaica: Double Standards on Venezuela

Source:  Jamaica Observer
January 15 2019

by Mike John,  mickeyjMcG@mail.com

nicolas maduro jan 2019

President Nicolas Maduro wins another election 

I see where the Jamaican Government has voted not to recognise President Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

They have not really given us any reason for their decision.

The double standard that exists is blatantly clear.

In Jamaica in 1983

In 1983, the People’s National Party (PNP) Opposition accused the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government of using a wrong voters’ list and decided not to contest the election. The JLP obviously got all the seats. Not a thing was said about the illegitimacy of the Government.

Related:  Hypocrisy in Venezuela Vote

In 2004 President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was kidnapped by the UniteD States and flown out of the country. Neither Caricom nor the Organization of American States (OAS) did anything about the illegitimacy of the new Government.

In 2009 the democratically elected president of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown. The OAS was again silent and the new president was accepted by the United States.

In 2017 the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) commissioned a report on Israel. Rima Khalaf, UN undersecretary general and ESCWA executive secretary, said the report was the “first of its type” from a UN body that “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist State that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people”.

The Jamaican Government remains in bed with Israel.

It is no secret that the United States has always wanted regime change in Venezuela long before Maduro. A deeper look at the situation easily shows that a devious, scheming hand is involved.

First in the History of Guyana: Granger Ousted

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2018

David Granger GuyanaFile photo of David Granger, then leader of Guyana’s opposition, A Partnership
for National Unity (APNU) coalition, speaks during a rally in Georgetown
Nov. 14, 2014. | Photo: REUTERS/Girish Gupta

To win a motion of censure, the opposition referenced the losses in the petroleum industry and Granger’s warmongering attitude towards Venezuela.

The President of Guyana David Granger, has been censured by the Parliament, which means that the government will be dissolved and elections must be called for a successor in the next 90 days.

RELATED  Venezuela: Exxon Ships’ Expedition a ‘Violation of Sovereignty’

This is the first time in the history of Guyana that a motion to censure has been successful, with 33 votes in favor and 32 votes against, and which has succeeded in ending the government in power.

To win a motion of censure, the opposition referenced the losses in the petroleum industry which were considered to have been conceded to the Exxon Mobile company.

The Progressive Party of the People pushed for the censure as they are opposed the government concessions and the warlike attitude Granger has been taking towards Venezuela.

For its part, Venezuela maintains its historical claim over the Esequibo region and is committed to maintaining a dialogue, a stance which has not been reciprocated by Granger.

Esequibo is an area of over 160,000 km, which is claimed by Venezuela but administered by Guyana. The claim dates back to colonial times when the area was taken through the interventionism of the United States and Great Britain and codified via the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration of 1899.

The Geneva Accords, however, recognized Venezuela’s sovereignty over Esequibo and annulled the finding of the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration. Despite that, the government of Guyana has violated the treaty on 15 occasions by granting concessions to foreign companies looking to exploit the region.

Haiti: Crisis and Resolution

Source:  Moorbeyz’ blog Haiti Action Committee
December 15 2018

Fanmi Lavalas Sattement

This is an unofficial translation by Haiti Action Committee

There is a grave crisis in contemporary Haitian society, in which the masses of our people are opposing an oligarchy determined to perpetuate a system of exclusion.

haitian flagThere have been many bumps in the road since February, 1986, when our people overthrew the Duvalier regime. Several coups d’etat have occurred, with the most damaging to the population having taken place in 1991 and 2004. Despite continued battering by the repressive and ideological machine, the more conscious and militant sectors of the population have stood firm; their resistance has been constant despite periods of setback.

At the present time, we are witnessing a general awakening of national consciousness. In addition to the population rising up to insist on better living conditions, with demands coming from many different sectors, including workers, peasants, educators, and students, the scandal involving the embezzling of the Petro-Caribe funds has provoked a big upsurge in mobilization against corruption and impunity. As so often occurs throughout history, the Petro-Caribe scandal has raised the awareness of the overwhelming majority about the unjust economic and political system, revealing the cause-and-effect relationship between this system and the sufferings of the Haitian people. Large masses of the population have come to understand with greater clarity and intensity the urgent necessity to take their destiny in their own hands.

Related:  Stand in Solidarity with the Haitian People

As usually occurs during periods of dynamic struggle such as the present, the oligarchy is fractured. Attempting to maintain the status quo, it is faced with internal contradictions regarding the strategy that would allow it to save “the system”—a sham institutional “democracy” set within a framework of an economic and social regime based on glaring inequalities, a stranglehold on political power that excludes the popular masses, and the pillage of national resources.

fanmi lavalas 5cFanmi Lavalas Political Organization is always closely tuned in to the various sectors of the population, and our conclusion is obvious: it is time for the political class to muster the courage to initiate a profound change in the paradigm and structures of governance that characterize the present system. This is a necessity that has a wide consensus as manifested by the ever-growing magnitude of anti-government mobilization that we are witnessing today. It is imperative that we respect the people’s aspirations for progress and for a just society. It is paramount that we stand in solidarity with the people’s protests demanding a new form of state. The nation deserves a new system that is more in harmony with the dreams of our founders, a new vision of the Republic

rooted in Justice, Transparency and Participation.

Related:  Hold the US/UN Occupation Accountable

The population is rejecting the usurpers who have derived their power from the fraudulent elections and who have discredited themselves with multiple scandals involving corruption and impunity. Our people are facing savage repression that continues to create victims among the disadvantaged masses, and that is heightening the insecurity that is poisoning daily life for the majority. Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization continues to stand firmly with the Haitian people to “chavire chodyè a” (overturn the cauldron). No cosmetic solution will bring an effective and lasting solution to the crisis in which we are plunged.This system has run its course. It cannot be patched up. It must be changed.

No cosmetic solution will bring an effective and lasting solution to the crisis in which we are plunged. This system has run its course. It cannot be patched up. It must be changed.

Chavire chodyè a” (Overturn the cauldron) means that we consider this moment to be exceptional. The deterioration of the political situation, the degradation of the economy and public finances, the failure of the state and its institutions, the lack of legitimacy and the absence of credibility at all levels of the state apparatus, make illusory if not impossible an end to the crisis by so-called constitutional means. The conditions for a new beginning that will put the country back on track, in keeping with the demands of the overwhelming majority, require an exceptional approach. For Fanmi Lavalas this includes:

1) Obtain the resignation of Jovenel Moise through a general mobilization

2) Resignation of Jean Henry Ceant and all his ministers

3) Assess the dysfunction and lapses in the Parliament

4) Put in place an executive and a government of public safety to ensure a transition for a period of 36 months.

This transition government will consist of credible personalities, engaged in the struggle against exclusion and corruption, who share a vision of a new method of governance. Among the priorities to be included:

  1. a) Improve the living conditions of the population by the sound and efficient management of current priorities pending the installation of an elected government.
  2. b) Create a constituent assembly for a new fundamental charter that will define the features of the new Republic.
  3. c) Organize a necessary national dialogue.
  4. d) Create the conditions that will end impunity and allow for a trial of those who have absconded with the Petro-Caribe funds.
  5. e) Take all measures to revise the Electoral Law and appoint a new electoral council charged with organizing elections to close out the transition period

The transition aims to implement fundamental reforms that would allow a democratic process and would make possible free, honest and credible elections. The transition must restore confidence between the people and the state. In this light the demands of the popular masses must be taken into account on all issues. True to its commitment to social justice and participation, Fanmi Lavalas will play its role alongside the population in continuing to promote the dialogue that is indispensable among the sons and daughters of the same land.

Executive Committee of Fanmi Lavalas
Dr. Maryse Narcisse
M. Joël Vorbe
Dr. Jean Myrto Julien
Agr. Anthony Dessources

Assange: Ecuador Engaging in Espionage, Funnels Info to FBI

Source:  TeleSUR
December 13 2018

julian assange 7.jpg

Julian Assange said that he is being spied on and details of his daily life are being sent to the FBI in the U.S.

The WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, through a video conference Wednesday, said that he is a victim of espionage in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been living since 2012.

RELATED:  Julian Assange’s Lawyers Blocked From The Ecuadorean Embassy

“There are espionage actions (…) That information has been sent even to the FBI, in the United States,” Assange said through a video conference made from the United Kingdom, as part of an appeal hearing held Wednesday before the Ecuadorean justice system.

He also denounced the Ecuadorean authorities’ threats and objections about his work as a critical journalist, which he characterized as “illegal, with terrible precedents” for the practice of journalism.

Assange said he is living in “solitary confinement” where he is subjected to different restrictions regarding visits from third-party and access to the internet. The restrictions have started affecting his health.

In October, the whistleblower sued the government over their violating his fundamental rights during his stay in the country’s London embassy as an asylee — this was rejected by an Ecuadorean court Monday.

The lawsuit challenged the new rules, which required him to pay for medical bills, phone calls and to clean up after his pet cat. Assange’s lawyer said that his client would be appealing the decision and that another hearing would take place in the near future.

He is also fearful that Ecuador can be pressured by the United States to terminate his asylum. Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda, said Wednesday that there is no guarantee that Assange will not be extradited to another country where his life will be in danger.

Assange’s possible handover was also hinted at by former President Rafael Correa in an interview with RT. Correa, during whose leadership Assange was granted asylum in the embassy, also mentioned that he is an Ecuadorean citizen since 2017 and deserves his fundamental rights to be protected by the country.

Assange’s fear is not unfounded, as a report by New York Times revealed that Lenin Moreno, current president of Ecuador, discussed the possibility of handing Assange over to the U.S with Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign head.

Top leaders in the Democratic Party have also requested that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brief the Congress on his talks with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia that took place in November, stating that they are “deeply concerned” about whether the talks included Assange.

Brazil’s New Foreign Minister: Climate Change is Marxist Ploy

Source: TeleSUR
November 15 2018

ernesto araujo brazil foreign minister.jpgErnesto Araujo (r), Brazil’s new foreign minister does not believe in
climate change. | Photo: Reuters

Brazil’s new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo believes that climate change is a ploy by “cultural Marxists” to asphyxiate Western economies and protome China’s growth. He also characterized climates science as “dogma”. His appointment was confirmed by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro Wednesday.

RELATED:  Brazil: ‘Doctors For the People’ Regrets Cuban Colleagues Exit

“This dogma has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions on the nation states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic Capitalist countries and to promote the growth of China,” he wrote in his blog post in October.

While attacking the Workers’ Party (PT), Araujo wrote in another post, “criminalizing everything that is good, spontaneous, natural and pure. Criminalizing the family on charges of patriarchal violence. Criminalizing private property. Criminalizing sex and reproduction, saying that any heterosexual act is rape and every baby is a risk to the planet because it will increase carbon emissions.”

Climate experts had expressed their disappointment over Bolsonaro’s choice, hoping for a more pragmatic pick.

“Brazil has played a very significant role in the Paris agreement. It would be really bad for the country’s image if he brings with him his ideology,” said Carlos Rittl, the executive secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory.

Bolsonaro is intent on opening up the Amazon to corporations which can wreak havoc for the environment and Indigenous people who reside there.

For Rittl, Brazil is not the United States and if the country “becomes a pariah on the global climate agenda, it would be extremely bad for our business, especially agribusiness. When they go to Europe to negotiate a deal, climate safeguards will be on the table.”