VHeadline.com commentarist Oscar Heck writes: I would like to give some examples of the fashion in which many (if not most) of the media reports generated by the privately-owned Venezuelan television stations are manipulated to suit the continuing anti-Chavez effort to oust him from power.
To add a taste of panic and desperation, most of the reports, especially those coming from Globovision, are both alarmist in nature and edited for maximum “brainwashing” impact … often using “impending doom type” background music reminiscent of that used by CNN and others when the Twin Towers were attacked in NYC.
When reading the examples, imagine screaming, yelling, people crying, chaos, etc. … all part of the audio-visual reporting style used.
Example 1: February 21, 2003:
Globovision reports, with the corresponding video clips … asking the rhetorical question:
“Why is it that John Doe, a well-know convicted murderer, is escorted handcuffed from one place to another escorted by only 5-6 police/security personnel (and calmly at that), while Carlos Fernandez is escorted handcuffed from one location to another by tens of armed security/police personnel closely surrounding him as if he were a violent criminal? Why is he being so badly treated?”
(Carlos Fernandez is the president of Fedecamaras a major Venezuelan business association recently arrested on five charges including treason).
Analyzed with a little bit of logic, the answers to the rhetorical questions posed by Globovision may be quite simple.
A known convicted murderer does not need to be escorted by many armed police people because if he does try to escape, the police will shoot him and nobody would complain. In addition, if there’s someone out there that wants to assassinate the murderer while in police custody, say a family member of the victim, it is more convenient that the murderer not be closely surrounded or guarded, making an attempt at revenge easier. Nobody would complain if the convicted murderer were assassinated.
However, the case of Carlos Fernandez is quite different. There are probably people out there that want to assassinate him. (Before his arrest, he was regularly escorted by several bodyguards). If Carlos Fernandez is not closely guarded by many armed police while in police custody, and if he is assassinated whilst in police custody, who will be blamed for his murder? Certainly the Chavez government and possibly Chavez himself, for not providing adequate protection.
So why is Globovision, in such an alarmist fashion, reporting that Carlos Fernandez is being “so badly treated” by the police … treated worse than a convicted murderer?
Why? Because they can use this in their anti-Chavez smear campaign … and they’re using it!
The opposition … including Globovision personnel … are now accusing the Chavez government of human rights violations in the Carlos Fernandez case, and people are taking to the streets in support of Fernandez.
Globovision does not explain to viewers the real reasons why Fernandez is being kept under such close police protection. It’s simply not convenient at this time.
Example 2: February 21, 2003:
News reports are stating that Chavez personally approved the arrest of Carlos Fernandez … that Chavez “gave the order,” thus making him “a dictator.” He is also being called heartless because he shows joy at “the misfortunes of others” … in this particular case, the misfortunes of Carlos Fernandez.
In order to “prove” that this is “true,” Globovision and other media sources, are repeatedly showing a very well-edited video clip, where Chavez recounts his telephone discussion with the judge who issued the order for the immediate arrest of Fernandez.
According to this clip: Chavez says “ …well, then go ahead…” then smiles a vengeful smile and says something to the effect of “…now I am happy and will sleep better…” ending by laughing and saying sarcastically that he will celebrate with some sweets that his mother sent him.
What Chavez said is true … however, it is only a part of what Chavez said within a broader context. I have seen the unedited version … the source of Globovision’s clip … a lengthy speech that Chavez made on February 21, 2003, broadcast on Venezolana de Television, the government run station.
It went like this: Chavez was, as usual, talking about many issues including the role of the justice system in Venezuela, when he brought up the issue of the arrest of Fernandez. He said something to the effect “… and I received a call from the judge. He said to me that the court had signed an order for the immediate arrest of Carlos Fernandez, ordering the police force to take the action. I replied … well, if it was so decided, then, well, go ahead…” Then he smiled a vengeful smile and said “ …now I am happy, and I’ll sleep better…” He said jokingly that he’d celebrate with some sweets his mother sent him, and he laughed.
Taken in context, Chavez was basically saying: Why call me for the OK to arrest Fernandez if the court has already decided? It makes a lot of sense to me that Chavez would be happy, especially since he has been complaining for years about the inefficiency of the justice system in Venezuela. There’s also no doubt in my mind that Chavez was also “personally” satisfied with the arrest of Fernandez … but his personal satisfaction was clearly overshadowed by his joy at the fact that the justice system is finally on the right track.
Also, why accuse Chavez of laughing at the misfortunes of others?
What has the opposition been doing for the last 10 weeks of so?
For people who are not familiar with how the Venezuelan justice system has traditionally operated, the Prosecutor General explained it quite well in a televised press release this same day regarding the arrest of Carlos Fernandez. He said that many Venezuelans will find the new justice system/process slow and lengthy compared with the system they had been accustomed to … but that they should be patient because the new system is more fair and just. He added that the new system is based on judicial systems used in modern countries where the person charged has the right to full due process and defense … unlike the system Venezuelans are used to … the “systema de justicia policial” (police judicial system).
(I have first hand knowledge and experience of several cases which are reflective of the “old system”)
Example 3: February 21, 2003
Globovision reports live, from the Francisco Fajardo highway … one of Caracas’ main traffic arteries … as Juan Fernandez, the president of ‘Petroleum People’ (one of the main PDVSA union organizations) tries to convince demonstrators to stop blocking the highway, which they had been blocking since before his arrival.
The previous day, the Coordinadora Democratica (the main anti-Chavez movements) had publicly called for all Venezuelans to demonstrate (which usually includes blocking streets) throughout many areas of Caracas in support of Carlos Fernandez. The demonstration call was officially cancelled by CD in the afternoon , but a little too late since people had already begun to block the highways.
Why did Globovision do this live report? Especially when it is precisely Juan Fernandez, along with Carlos Fernandez, Carlos Ortega and the Coordinadora Democratica that … for the last 10 weeks or so … have been screaming and yelling, telling people to go out and march, to block the streets!
Juan Fernandez has never before asked people not to block the roads. On the contrary! So, why now, Juan?
- Why is it suddenly, that Juan Fernandez is being filmed trying to tell people not to block the highways?
Within the same report, Globovision announced that even with Juan Fernandez telling people not to block the highways, people refused to un-block the highway. It must be the will of the people! The reporter seemed very intent on “proving” this.
Will this Globovision reporting be used to “exonerate” Juan Fernandez? Exonerate him from what?… Like Carlos Fernandez, it is highly probable that within the next few days Juan Fernandez will also be arrested and charged with inciting people to unlawful acts and treason.
What has been happening with a goodly portion of the Venezuelan media … especially since the National Assembly approved the “Ley Habilitante” (1991) … a set of laws that include Land and Bank reforms … is quite amazing.
One must see it to believe it.
Venezuelans have been bombarded incessantly with manipulated information, often under the guise of “editorials”, “commentaries”, “advertising”, “interviews” and “special news programs”, not to mention “news.”
Even with pending media content laws and legal action, it appears that a major portion of the media is circumventing the laws/regulations in an attempt to justify the continued dissemination of manipulated “news.” Globovision especially, since they advertise themselves as an “all news, twenty-four hours per day” television station.
I’ve also been thinking of another issue.
Why has the opposition, along with what appears to be whole-hearted support from the private television stations, been constantly calling on all Venezuelans to “take to the streets.” This has been puzzling me for weeks (there are many other ways to protest). Their reason is that “this is the only thing that Chavez understands.” It has also been puzzling me that simultaneously, this same media has constantly been bombarding us with “Bolivarian Circles are armed circles of terror” and that “crime is increasing dramatically”.
Here is my theory, another “paranoid” theory?
I calculate that since December 2, 2002, over 3.2 million man-hours have been expended solely in local police/security budgets for demonstrations and marches in six major Venezuelan cities … not counting the use of equipment, gasoline, food, etc. (calculations are based on the number of security personnel used at Maracaibo’s demonstration of February 21, 2003, – an estimated 300,000 demonstrators. The policeman responsible for security announced that approximately 1,800 local security/police people were present.)
1) How much does this cost, and who pays for it?
2) Is this another diabolical tactic used by top opposition leaders to deviate security forces to the marches, thus increasing crime outside the demonstration perimeters?
Thieves are not that stupid. While the police force is occupied with demonstrations, they have easier access to committing crime. It is a well-known tactic used worldwide by criminals themselves in many robberies … distraction … and it usually works wonders for robbers.
Can the supposed increase in crime (which coincidentally appears to be occurring in the major cities, which coincidentally are also the most anti-Chavez areas) be caused directly or indirectly by the fact that so many demonstrations are taking place?
- And if crime is truly on the increase in these areas, then isn’t it coincidentally a perfect opportunity for the opposition to blame Chavez for it?
And isn’t it coincidental that the increase in crime is blamed on the Bolivarian Circles, these supposed circles of terror? They are certainly not at the opposition marches, and according to the vast majority of opposition supporters, the Chavistas belonging to these supposed circles of terror are unemployed and poor!
Here is another interesting subject:
All Venezuelans are now invited to a grand march “For the love of Venezuela” in Caracas and other cities. The difference with this march is that now they, the unnamed organizers are saying “Come, all Venezuelans, to the streets, to march for the love of Venezuela … to embrace Venezuela … here we are Lord … for peace …for civilization … all together, we yell to our Lord … here we are … come all together together in prayer … in the streets…“
This is a grand religious march scheduled today, Sunday, February 23, 2003.
Who is organizing it?
I’ve asked people if large religious marches of this kind are typical yearly events here in Caracas. The answer is no, this is the first year.
One took place last week, but I thought it was quite normal since it was called the “March of the Virgin Corromoto” the Venezuelan patron.