US author, dissident intellectual, and Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Noam Chomsky met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the first time on August 31. Together they analysed hemispheric politics during a nationally televised forum.
Chomsky is well known in Venezuela for his critiques of US imperialism and support for the progressive political changes under way in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.
Chavez regularly references Chomsky in speeches and has made widely publicised recommendations of Chomsky's 2003 book Hegemony or Survival.
"Hegemony or survival; we opt for survival", said Chavez in a press conference to welcome Chomsky. He compared Chomsky's thesis to that of German socialist Rosa Luxemburg in the early 1900s — "Socialism or Barbarism" — and referred to Chomsky as "one of the greatest defenders of peace, one of the greatest pioneers of a better world".
Through an interpreter, Chomsky responded: "I write about peace and criticise the barriers to peace; that's easy. What's harder is to create a better world and what's so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela is that I can see how a better world is being created."
Chomsky pointed out that the June 28 military coup in Honduras was the third coup the US had supported in Latin America this century, after the coups against Chavez in 2002 and Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.
"The transformations that Venezuela is making toward the creation of another socio-economic model could have a global impact if these projects are successfully carried out", he said.
Chomsky also addressed the media and freedom of expression in the US.
"In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large corporations and the result is that the financial interests of those groups are always behind the so-called freedom of expression."
[Abridged from venezuelanalysis.com.]