[Marxism] Latin American News Review: Press omits relevant history in reports of Chavez's harsh words for Aznar

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Sun Nov 11 14:46:58 MST 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Associated Press omits relevant history in report of Chavez's harsh  
words for Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar

By Justin Delacour

Latin American News Review

November 10, 2007

A common problem in English-language reporting about Latin America is  
the failure of reporters to put issues into historical context. For  
example, a recent Associated Press report quotes Venezuelan President  
Hugo Chavez as referring to Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria  
Aznar as a "fascist" at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile.  
By leaving out the relevant background information, the report makes  
Chavez's statements appear so bizarre and undiplomatic as to be  
inexplicable. In reality, the Venezuelan President's strong antipathy  
toward Spain's former Prime Minister has recent historical roots in  
Aznar's support for a failed coup d'etat against the Chavez  
government in April 2002. Jorge Castañeda, Mexico's former foreign  
minister, has divulged that, during the short-lived Venezuelan coup,  
Aznar's government worked to cobble together diplomatic support for  
coup leader Pedro Carmona.

The AP report is so lacking in historical context that its other  
quotes of Chavez also appear inexplicable. For example, Chavez is  
quoted as stating the following: "The Venezuelan government reserves  
the right to respond to any aggression, anywhere, in any space and in  
any manner." Since the reader is never informed of the primary  
"aggression" of which the Venezuelan president speaks, the lay reader  
is likely to come away with the false impression that Chavez is  
uttering jibberish.

No doubt the Venezuelan president could choose his words more wisely  
so as to avoid counter-productive tiffs with the current Spanish  
government, but that's no excuse for AP's omission of the relevant  
historical background.

More information about the Marxism mailing list