Corporate media outlets in Australia and internationally are overwhelmingly campaigning in support of the United States’ regime change push in Venezuela.
The US has waged an unrelenting destabilisation campaign to undermine the democratically elected government of Venezuela — one that dates back to when Hugo Chavez was first sworn in as president in 1998.
This campaign has included failed military coups, assassination attempts, economic warfare via sanctions and other measures. Throughout all this, the US has received the full backing of the corporate media.
These same corporate media outlets have largely remained silent on the myriad of social programs made possible by Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution. Facts that almost never get mentioned by the media include:
• Venezuela was declared illiteracy-free in 2005, thanks to the literacy program Mission Robinson;
• Venezuelans enjoy access to free education, from primary school to university, and have benefited from a huge expansion in the number of available public schools and universities;
• 2.5 million homes have been constructed for the poor and disadvantaged as part of the government’s aim to build 5 million homes by 2025.
• Mission Barrio Adentro has delivered free, universal access to basic healthcare and diagnostic services; and
• The many other programs for environmental protection, land redistribution, empowerment of the poor, women and Indigenous peoples undertaken by the governments of Chavez and current president Nicolas Maduro.
This is not because Venezuela is not in the media, quite the opposite — and even more so after opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela on January 23.
Since then, I can count on one hand the number of commentators interviewed by media outlets in Australia who have provided a viewpoint that departs from the “All the way with the USA” message.
There are the interviews with University of Sydney academic Sujatha Fernandes on ABC Radio National’s Drive program,Venezuela Analysis journalist Lucas Koerner on Sky News and La Trobe academic Ralph Newmark on the ABC Radio National’s PM program.
But that’s pretty much it.
On top of this, the corporate media has been working overtime to portray Guaido’s coup attempt as some kind of legitimate restoration of democracy and the constitution in Venezuela.
For example, the media has regularly misrepresented Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, which Guaido has used to justify his self-proclamation.
Not only has it failed to explain why there is a need for an interim president, given that a president was elected last May (Maduro); it has studiously avoided the fact that even if there were a case for a Guaido interim presidency, the constitution demands he call elections within 30 days — something Guaido has explicitly ruled out for at least six to nine months.
Nor did these media outlets report on the February 5 National Assembly vote to empower itself to appoint Guaido “provisional president” — a figure that does not appear in the constitution — once this 30 days is up. By doing so, the opposition has completely disregarded the constitution and even its own calls for new elections — the supposed pretext for the coup.
The media campaign to build legitimacy for Guaido’s coup government has also failed to report on, or deliberate misrepresented statements from, European governments such as Italy, Greece, Austria, Finland, Lithuania and others who have refused to recognise Guaido.
It has also not reported on the votes in the United Nations Security Council and the Organisation of American States, or the statement from the African Union, opposing recognition of Guaido’s coup government.
The intent is to present the false idea that most countries recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president, when in fact 75% of the world’s nations do not.
In the face of this powerful pro-regime change campaign, Green Left Weekly will continue to play its part in publishing the information that the corporate media refuse to do.
We will continue to expose the lies behind the US coup attempt in Venezuela and ensure that the voices of the majority of Venezuelans who oppose it are heard.