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Crying wolf. Elections in Venezuela today.

Seize the means of production? How ībout we start with the means of communication.

The mainstream media outlets are widely credited here in Venezuela for aiding and abetting the perpetrators of the coup attempt in 2002 and oil industry shutdown in 2003. During these crucial moments for the new democracy, the TV channels either avoided the truth by blasted cartoons and nonsense, or tried to incite violence and confusion by completely distorting actual events to discredit Chavez supporters and give away airtime to hard-line opposition leaders.
Community Media or Activist Group: Venezuelans Defend Democracy

Seize the means of production? How ībout we start with the means of communication.

The mainstream media outlets are widely credited here in Venezuela for aiding and abetting the perpetrators of the coup attempt in 2002 and oil industry shutdown in 2003. During these crucial moments for the new democracy, the TV channels either avoided the truth by blasted cartoons and nonsense, or tried to incite violence and confusion by completely distorting actual events to discredit Chavez supporters and give away airtime to hard-line opposition leaders.

These guys almost lost Venezuela their democratic, revolutionary process. So, if the media doesn't serve your interests, what do you do? Make your own media. Since the coup, there has been a surge of investment and participation in community media. And the community media and independent media outlets are organizing and collaborating. Take for example ANMCLA, the Associacion Nacional Medios Comunitarios, Liebres y Alternatives Radio stations and independent media outlets have been meeting for weeks to coordinate Election Day coverage and the community response to whatever might happen post-election. They've coordinated jurisdiction. They've coordinated message. They understand that an informed community is essential to contradict the misinformation of the opposition campaign and to fight back.

Carlos Lugo of Community Radio Libre Negro Primero in Caracas, Venezuela described the three goals of his team for election coverage today as, transmitting, informing, and mobilizing. With a small paid staff, and a small army of dedicated volunteers from the surrounding neighbourhoods, Radio Negro Primero is building its listener base, and in doing so, agitating and organizing the community.

It's sort of like a community center. Kids here all the time. People cooking. Informal classes in radio and video editing. Community cinema. Dance classes for the neighbourhood girls. Free internet station. It's sort of like the town crier. Remember those? Last Sunday, we boarded a flat bed truck with a generator strapped to the roof of the cab, a mobile radio station, a cooler of arepas, some juice, and 26 people all dancing and singing UH AH, Chavez NO SE VA. We were out there to call the neighbourhoods of Caracas into the streets to show their support for the revolutionary process. When the Chavez rally started, we were cruising the strip, blasting El Presidente.

So, media in this sense isn't press releases and stories. It's a form of communication between citizens. It's more than an organizing tool, it IS organizing. Although as a media outlet, Radio Negro Primero must observe the Federal laws pertaining to media, meaning that the station cannot campaign today or encourage listening to vote for Chavez, they do, ok, we do have political goals. We are part of the revolutionary process. In the interest of serving, rather than subverting the public interest, we'll be pounding the pavement calling everyone to vote, as well as monitoring all voting centers for the first signs of trouble. And all coverage, it is hoped, will reach an international audience through the contacts of the volunteers from the US and France. It is known that the opposition will bypass restrictions on exit polling information and opining by spreading their message to international sources which can then be read on the web and circulated throughout Venezuela. In this sense, we international sympathizers have an important, and very welcomed role to play in reporting to the world the perspective of the pueblo, the real deal in the next few critical days. But then again, their always saying, Venezuela para todos, Venezuela is for everyone. Just like indymedia.
CNN's complicity 03.Dec.2006 09:15

CatWoman

It wasn't just the Venezuelan corporate media that was complicit in the coup, either. It was the US media. And it was CNN.

Aside from the surge of US dollars (via the ironically named "National Endowment for Democracy") that poured into anti-Chavez corporate media coffers just prior to the coup, there is an even more inescapable piece of evidence of US corporate media complicity in the undermining of Venezuelan democracy, and the deaths of Venezualan citizens during the coup.

According to researcher Eva Golinger, in her book "The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela," CNN correspondent Otto Neustald was summoned to the private home of a high-level military officer (US backed, and trained at the School of the Americas) on the morning of April 11, 2002. He was there to record a prepared statement that was to be broadcast on CNN. The recording consisted of Vice Admiral Hector Ramirez Perez reading a prepared statement that "deplored the massare of innocent civilians, announcing that a macabre conspiracy had been implemented by Chavez," and then, eerily similar to the situation in Oaxaca, the statement called for military intervention, citing the deaths of Venezuelan citizens allegedly killed by Chavez as justification for a military coup.

According to Golinger, Neustald had to do two takes of the vice admiral's testimony, and it was recorded *before* any violence had occurred, *before* anyone had been killed, *before* the coup began. Hours later, the coup proceeded, and scores of people were killed and injured in the ensuing violence. An enormous pro-Chavez rally was taking place outside the presidential palace at Miraflores, in preparation to meet a large, (and largely US sponsored) anti-Chavez rally that was moving toward Miraflores. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, the coup leaders who had whipped up the crowds to march on the palace "disappeared from the march, one by one, leaving the masses to confront the planned massacre on their own."

Neustald himself conceded his (and CNN's) complicity, at a forum entitled "Journalism in Times of Crisis" held months after the coup. There, he told the startled audience that he had actually been called to record the statement the night before. He told the crowd, "On the 10th at night they called me on the telephone and said, Otto, tomorrow on the 11th there will be a video of Chavez, the march will go toward the presidential palace, there will be deaths, and then 20 military officials of high rank will appear and pronounce themselves against the government of Chavez, and will request his resignation. They told me this on the 10th at night."

Yet the recording was broadcast without this important piece of information, in the midst of the coup, appearing as if it were a live broadcast. As people were dying in the streets of Venezuela, at the hands of the jaded, US-backed plotters, the corporate media, in its authoritiative God-voice, told the people of both Venezuela and the US, that the violence was perpetrated by Chavez, and that the coup was necessary to restore order. During and after the coup, the corporate media maintained (for as long as it could) the story that it was Chavez's forces who began killing people in the crowd. It was only later, after monumental evidence to the contrary crept out through the obstructive, information-firewalls erected by the corporate media, that the world learned the truth. That the bullets, which cut people down on both sides, came from the cynical plotters of the coup themselves. People lost their lives, sacrificed for the unbelievably meaningless "cause" of justifying the pre-planned attack upon democracy, and CNN just played along.

There should be consequences.