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Community Radio Turns Activist: Venezuela Radio Stations Challenge threat of Fraud

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 Radio Turns Activist: Venezuela Radio Stations Challenge threat of Fraud

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... ... ... ... ... . 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.