[Marxism] Buying the press in Venezuela
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 16 07:26:53 MDT 2010
Buying the Press
By Eva Golinger
Documents reveal multimillion-dollar funding to journalists and
media in Venezuela
US State Department documents declassified under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) evidence more than $4 million USD in
funding to journalists and private media in Venezuela during the
last three years. This funding is part of the more than $40
million USD international agencies are investing annually in
anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela in an attempt to provoke regime change
The funding has been channeled directly by the State Department
through three US agencies: Panamerican Development Foundation
(PADF), Freedom House, and the US Agency for International
In a blatant attempt to hide their activities, the State
Department has censored the names of organizations and journalists
receiving these multimillion-dollar funds. However, one document
dated July 2008 mistakenly left unveiled the names of the
principal Venezuelan groups receiving the funds: Espacio Publico
(Public Space) and Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (Institute for
Press and Society “IPYS”).
Espacio Publico and IPYS are the entities charged with
coordinating the distribution of the millions in State Department
funds to private media outlets and Venezuelan journalists working
to promote US agenda.
The documents evidence that PADF has implemented programs in
Venezuela dedicated to “enhancing media freedom and democratic
institutions” and training workshops for journalists in the
development and use of “innovative media technologies”, due to the
alleged “threats to freedom of expression” and “the climate of
intimidation and self-censorship among journalists and the media”.
According to the documents, PADF’s objective is to “strengthen
independent journalists by providing them with training, technical
assistance, materials and greater access to innovative
internet-based technologies that expand and diversify media
coverage and increase their capacity to inform the public on a
timely basis about the most critical policy issues impacting
However, while on paper this may appear benign, in reality,
Venezuela’s corporate media outlets and journalists, together with
US agencies, actively manipulate and distort information in order
to portray the Venezuelan government as a “communist dictatorship”
that “violates basic human rights and freedoms”.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not only do media and journalists in Venezuela have a
near-absolute freedom of expression, during the past decade, under
the Chavez administration, hundreds of new media outlets, many
community-based, have been created in order to foster and expand
citizens’ access to media. Community media was prohibited under
prior governments, which only gave broadcasting access to
corporations willing to pay big money to maintain information
monopolies in the country.
Today, corporate media outlets and their journalists use
communications power to publicly promote the overthrow of the
Venezuelan government. The owners and executives of these media
corporations form part of the Venezuelan elite that, under the
reigns of Washington, ran the country for forty years before
Chavez won the presidency in 1998.
What these documents demonstrate is that Washington not only is
funding Venezuelan media, in clear violation of laws that prohibit
this type of “propaganda” and “foreign interference”, but also is
influencing the way Venezuelan journalists perceive their
profession and their political reality.
The State Department funding not only is used to create and aid
media outlets that promote anti-Chavez propaganda, but also to
capture Venezuelan journalists at the core - as students – in
order to shape their vision of journalism and ensure their loyalty
early on to US agenda.
FUNDING FOR ANTI-CHAVEZ WEB PAGES
One of the PADF programs, which received $699,996 USD from the
State Department in 2007, “supported the development of
independent media in Venezuela” and “journalism via innovative
media technologies”. The documents evidence that more than 150
Venezuelan journalists were trained by US agencies and at least 25
web pages were created with US funding.
During the past two years, there has been a proliferation of web
pages, blogs, and Twitter, MySpace and Facebook users in
Venezuela, the majority of whom use these media outlets to promote
anti-Chavez messages and disseminate distorted and false
information about the country’s political and economic reality.
Other programs run by the State Department have selected
Venezuelan students and youth to receive training in the use of
these new media technologies in order to create what they call a
“network of cyber-dissidents” against the Venezuelan government.
For example, in April 2010, the George W. Bush Institute, together
with Freedom House and the State Department, organized an
encounter of “activists for freedom and human rights” and “experts
in Internet” to analyze the “global movement of cyber-dissidents”.
Rodrigo Diamanti, anti-Chavez youth activist, was present at the
event, which took place in Dallas, Texas and was presided over by
George W. Bush himself, along with “dissidents” invited from Iran,
Syria, Cuba, Russia and China.
In October last year, Mexico City hosted the II Summit of the
Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM), an organization created by the
State Department to bring together select youth activists from
countries of strategic importance to the US, along with the
founders of new media technologies and representatives from
different US agencies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided
over the event, and anti-Chavez youth activists Yon Goicochea
(Primero Justicia), Rafael Delgado, and Geraldine Alvarez,
attended as special guests. All three are members of Futuro
Presente, an organization created in Venezuela in 2008 with
funding from the Cato Institute in Washington.
FUNDING TO UNIVERSITIES
The declassified State Department documents also reveal more than
$716,346 USD in funding via Freedom House in 2008, for an 18-month
project seeking to “strengthen independent media in Venezuela”.
This project also funded the creation of a “resource center for
journalists” in an unnamed Venezuelan university. “The center will
develop a community radio, website and training workshops”, all
funded by the State Department.
Another $706,998 USD was channeled through PADF to “promote
freedom of expression in Venezuela” through a two-year project
focusing on “new media technologies and investigative journalism”.
“Specifically, PADF and its local partner will provide training
and follow-up support in innovative media technologies and formats
in several regions throughout Venezuela…This training will be
compiled and developed into a university-level curriculum”.
Another document evidences three Venezuelan universities,
Universidad Central de Venezuela (Central University of Venezuela
“UCV”), Universidad Metropolitana (Metropolitan University) and
Universidad Santa Maria (St. Mary’s University), which
incorporated courses on media studies into their curriculums,
designed and funded by the State Department. These three
universities have been the principal launching pad for the
anti-Chavez student movements during the past three years.
PADF also received $545,804 USD for a program titled “Venezuela:
The Voices of the Future”. This project, which allegedly lasted
one year, was devoted to “developing a new generation of
independent journalists through a focus on new media
technologies”. PADF also funded various blogs, newspapers, radio
stations and television stations in regions throughout Venezuela,
to ensure the “publication” of reports and articles by the
“participants” in the program.
USAID and PADF
More funds have been distributed to anti-Chavez political groups
in Venezuela through USAID’s Office for Transition Initiatives
(OTI) in Caracas, which has an annual budget between $5-7 million
USD. These millions form part of the more than $40 million USD
given annually to opposition organizations in Venezuela by US,
European and Canadian agencies, as evidenced in the May 2010
report, “Venezuela: Assessing Democracy Assistance” published by
the National Edowment for Democracy’s World Movement for Democracy
(WMD) and Spain’s FRIDE Institute.
PADF has been active in Venezuela since 2005 as one of USAID’s
principal contractors. PADF was created by the State Department in
1962 and is “affiliated” with the Organization of American States
(OAS). In Venezuela, PADF has been working to “strengthen local
civil society groups”, and is “one of few major international
groups that have been able to provide significant cash grants and
technical assistance to Venezuelan NGOs”.
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