NarcoNews editorial: Why Gaviria should leave Venezuela

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Tue Dec 10 14:13:19 MST 2002

December 10, 2002
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A Narco News Breaking News Editorial

Gaviria Should Leave Venezuela
Venezuelan Majority Takes to the Streets, Coup Plotters Hide

By Al Giordano

Permission is granted to anyone to republish this editorial on the condition
that it is published in full, without censorship, and with a link to:

These are the hours of immediate history.

As in Eastern Europe 13 years ago, the final defeat of dictatorial power in
Venezuela came last night at the doors of its "control rooms" - the TV

On Monday night, the Venezuelan majority - unwilling to allow an upper-class
economic coup d'etat that poses dishonestly as a "strike" to unseat its
democratically elected government - took to the streets on a scale only seen
once before in the nation's modern history; as they had last April, when
they turned back a military coup d'etat.

By early Tuesday morning the masses had every Commercial TV station in the
nation surrounded. Their weapons were nonviolent and theatrical: pots, pans,
fireworks and thousands of defiant but smiling faces.

Only at one TV installation in one of the outlying provinces - in Maracay
State - did the public actually invade the facilities of a station that uses
the public airwaves. Everywhere else, including at all the national TV
stations in Caracas, immense restraint has been shown by the masses
protesting outside of them.

The bluff of the former ruling class and its media - that their top-down
imposed sabotage of the Venezuelan economy and oil industry of the past week
is somehow a popular "strike" - has been called. The "strike leaders,"
including corrupt oil union boss Carlos Ortega, have, in recent hours,
disappeared from public view, abandoning their own supporters among the
upper classes.

To make sure the coup plotters don't flee the country, the neighbors of
Simón Bolívar International Airport near Caracas have surrounded the airport
as well.

The coup supporters, including the rogue ex-military officials from April's
attack on democracy who in recent days have called unsuccessfully for
military coup, promptly abandoned Plaza Altimar last night, their physical
base: the public stage they had occupied continuously for the past few

Confronted with the rising of the more massive and true majority of
Venezuelan Civil Society, the rogue officers and the elite of Caracas have
retreated, returning to their homes to watch the conflict on TV as fireworks
boom in the air all around them.

Meanwhile, the ostensible "mediator" of the conflict has cynically called
for government repression against the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators
assembled outside the TV stations. With that action, Cesar Gaviria has lost
any illusory credibility in his aspiration to "mediate" the Venezuelan
conflict. He should return to Washington immediately.

Gaviria, Go Home

Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), has
just squandered whatever credibility the organization tenuously had as
mediator in the Venezuelan conflict. He should leave Caracas immediately -
where he has become a destabilizing force against democracy and
constitutional rule - and cease posing as a "mediator" of a power-struggle
in which he is, now transparently, a partisan player.

On the very same day - Monday, December 9th - that the permanent council of
the Organization of American States (OAS), representing all nations in
América, stated that "all the countries of the hemisphere ratify unanimously
our support for Venezuelan democracy," the OAS chairman, in Caracas, showed
his contempt for that same Venezuelan democracy and the right of public

According to the French Press Agency (AFP), Gaviria "condemned" peaceful
demonstrations by the Venezuelan people outside of pro-coup TV stations
Globovision, Venevision, and other commercial media corporations. The "news
coverage" of those media companies in recent days has been at extreme levels
of simulation and dishonesty even for them: the people have had enough.
Terming the popular assemblies as "acts of intimidation" against a "free
press," Gaviria called upon the Chávez government to use repression against
the demonstrators.

"The secretary general of the OAS is deeply worried about the acts of
intimidation against the installations of some of the principal media of the
country such as Radio Caracas Television, the De Armas Group, Venevision and
Globovision," Gaviria stated through an OAS press release from the posh
Melia Hotel in Downtown Caracas, according to AFP.

Gaviria expressed his "condemnation of such acts that put freedom of speech
at serious risk," reported AFP, and made "an urgent call upon the
authorities to take immediate action to cease such threats. There can be no
doubt that press freedom and free speech are two totally consistent elements
with the existence of democratic principles."

But in calling for government action against the free speech rights of the
people to peaceably assemble, Gaviria revealed the false discourse of Power
regarding "press freedom." For Gaviria (and some corporate "press freedom"
organizations), the libertinism of a paid press takes priority over the
liberty of free speech by all the people. Nothing is more frightening to
them - nor more important for Authentic Democracy - than a scenario in which
the masses confront this era's hijacking of the public airwaves by an elite

For the past week, coup supporters demonstrated (as is their right, too)
outside of Venezuela's public TV station, without a single word of protest
from Gaviria or any "press freedom" organization, and without any repression
from the Chávez government. Gaviria certainly did not term those
demonstrations as "threats" or call on the State to "cease" them, as he did
yesterday against the more popular demonstrations against media simulation.

The Venezuelan people have every right and duty to demonstrate outside of
the commercial TV stations. Those media companies backed the failed April
2002 coup d'etat in that country with a big lie that "Chávez Resigned" when
twice-elected President Hugo Chávez had not. For the past week, those
commercial TV stations have nakedly attempted to provoke another coup by
inventing another big lie - parroted by most of the U.S. and
English-language press corps - that a management imposed work lockout in
some sectors is somehow a "general strike." Like "Chávez Resigned," the use
of the term "strike" is this week's big lie; repeated ad nauseam in the hope
that it will be believed by the gullible among us.

The problem for the Big Liars is that the Venezuelan majority didn't buy it.
The people - having watched foreign companies like McDonald's, Wendy's and
British Petroleum lock their workers out for the imposed "strike" while the
small neighborhood shopkeepers and businesses remained open - have, in this
month of December of 2002, showed the world that "the big lie theory" for
controlling public opinion no longer works.

Who the Hell is Cesar Gaviria?

Gaviria, the former Colombian president (1990-1994), was the chief
beneficiary of the assassination of popular Colombian presidential candidate
Luis Carlos Galan, whose elimination cleared the way for the Gaviria
presidency. Gaviria was the president who allowed paramilitary death squads
to gain a foothold in Colombia. It was Gaviria who sold his nation's
sovereignty to foreign powers and betrayed his own attorney general Gustavo
de Greiff, after de Greiff had defied Washington by calling for drug
legalization. And it was Gaviria who Washington later installed as
secretary-general of the OAS in order to pave the way for Plan Colombia and
military intervention in that country.

In recent days, Gaviria has ostensibly been in Venezuela as a "mediator" of
the conflict between the oil-soaked oligarchy on one side and the supporters
of the Constitutional democracy and the Chávez government on the other.

Washington's discourse this week has been to feign support for democracy in
Venezuela (while Spaniard intelligence operatives from Europe handled the
hands-on dirty work of this most recent coup attempt) by making
proclamations of support for Gaviria as mediator.

Now that Gaviria has called for State repression against the peaceful
assemblies spreading like wildfire tonight throughout Venezuela, the true
goals of this US-backed act of "Mediation Theater" are obvious to all
reasonable observers. This was an attempted coup in strike's clothing.

Foreign powers and billionaire economic interests tried to fix the game by
installing their own referee, Cesar Gaviria, in Caracas. But he's not an
umpire or referee. He's a player for the team that has now lost the contest,
an advocate for destabilization and repression, and it is time for Gaviria
to get the hell out of the stadium.

The only possible "mediator" of this dispute cannot be the commercial media
nor foreign interests: It is, and will be, the Venezuelan people who now
make the calls.

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