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Media War Against Venezuela Continues

by MARIA PAEZ VICTOR

Since the election of President Hugo Chávez in 1999 there has been antipathy and deliberate media distortion of the political events in Venezuela.

Last Sunday, the Toronto Star (newspaper that self-identifies as liberal, broad thinking, progressive) published a defamatory article about the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro.  Once again the Canadian press goes on the attack against Venezuela, ridiculing and misrepresenting its president. And if at any time you thought that it was the personality of President Chávez that offended the world press, think again because all that media aggression now focuses on his successor, President Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro is a tall, dark, handsome man, a good orator, intelligent and friendly, but he is not charismatic like Chávez. But who could possibly be like Chávez? He was a singularity. Maduro is the first to admit it and so repeats that he is not Chávez, but with the slogan “We are all Chávez” he spurs solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of his government.

The Toronto Star is worried about inflation in Venezuela – but did it worry in the decade of the 1970’s when inflation jumped from 7.6% to 20.4%? Or that in the decade of the 80’s the average inflation rate was 19.4% until it reached 47.4% in the decade of the 90’s?[1] And what world newspaper or politician at that time forecasted with undisguised glee the ruin of the Venezuelan economy? None.  Which newspaper denounced the immoral excesses – mistresses, drinking, fraud and corruption- of presidents Betancourt, Leoni, Caldera y Carlos Andrés Pérez? None.

But now, President Maduro is ridiculed for his symbolic language and, curiously, BECASUE HE IS NOT CHAVEZ

I have just returned from Caracas where I witnessed that there is social order; people go out Christmas shopping to shops full of products, all anticipating the season festivities. There is however, strong political activity because  of the coming municipal elections on December 8th. It is so good to see a population that is politically alert, not like Canadian elections that seem to be done by sleepwalkers due to the lack of confidence that erodes political participation here.

Not so in Venezuela. The Communal Councils and the Communes are at the front of political activity; the government does not take a step without consulting them, and the participation of the communes in local projects is essential as they are its initiators.

Maduro has taken measures to combat what is called “ an economic coup d’etat”. Chileans know what this means because before the coup that overthrew the unforgettable martyr of the Americas, President Salvador Allende, the opposition with full support of the United States unleashed a terrible economic sabotage against Chile, with the aim of, as the sinister Richard Nixon stated: “to make Chile scream”. And so it was.

Venezuela has the advantage of learning from that experience and Maduro has taken the offensive with strong measures to control the economy, which have proved to be very popular.  His popularity however was not in question. In October he was considered the #1 most popular president in the Americas according to a survey by the international news outlet NTN24 and by the ICS network.[2]

Corruption in the Venezuelan private sector works like this. It is an oil economy, the private sector is not the main sources of income, and instead of investing in their own country, the private sector prefers the comfort of importing, and depending on government largess. If Venezuela let the bolívar float in the international currency market, there would be a spectacular exodus of capital because that class that believes it is “capitalist” is not. In truth, it is a bourgeois, parasitic, rentist class that produces nothing.

The merchants obtain dollars from the government at a preferential price of 6.30 bolívares supposedly because they are going to bring into the country, imported goods, which is not always the case. They then sell those goods as if the dollars had cost them the price on the black market, which could be from 60 to 80 bolívares. Thus they make a profit of 200%, 300% even up to 1,500%. Normally in capitalists countries merchants can obtain a profit of about 15% – but not even the drug traffickers have profits like those of the corrupt Venezuelan merchants. [3]

Maduro did what Chávez did not do. He got the troops out into the street to find hoarded goods in hidden warehouses, inspected the large commercial houses that obtained government dollars, compared prices, set fines and even there will be jail sentences if they do not comply.

The business elite  – which led the coup d’etat in 2002- is a minority that considers itself privileged, it systematically commits fraud against the nation obtaining and misusing dollars; they create artificial scarcity through hoarding, scandalously overprices goods, practices usury, promotes capital exodus, and unleashes rumors and lies to create panic and destabilize a government that is not convenient for their immoral avarice. The problem is not economic it is political.

The Venezuelan economy is doing very well. Its oil exports last year amounted to  $94 billon while the imports only reached $59.3 billon – a historically low record. The national reserves are at $22 billon and the economy has a surplus (not a deficit) of 2.9% of GDP. The country has no significantly onerous national or foreign debts. These are excellent indicators that many countries in Europe would envy, even the USA and Canada. [4]

So good is the economic future of Venezuela that even imperial banks recognize it. The multinational bank Wells Fargo has recently declared that Venezuela is one of the emerging economies that is most protected against any possible financial crisis and the Bank of America Merril Lynch has recommended to its investors to buy Venezuelan government bonds. [5]

How sad that the Toronto Star should publish an article more appropriate to the sensationalist press. Its main sources were  people from the United States who oppose Venezuela,  and not a single source from the Venezuelan government itself.

I am sorry for the Canadian public who are not allowed to form their opinions in a balanced manner, exposed to a press sold out to United States hegemonic interests that does not even have a Canadian perspective on international affairs.

Behind all this aggression against Venezuela is the fear of a successful socialist revolution that is profoundly democratic, so much so that it shines and reveals the democratic deficit of the capitalist powerful nations. [6]

Maria Páez Victor, Ph.D., lives in Toronto. 

Notes

[1] Estudio sobre la inflación en Venezuela, Estudio del Banco Central de Venezuela, Caracas 2002

[2] Maduro es el presidente más popular del continente Americano,  www.aporrea.org, 01/10/13

[3] Entre usureros te veas, Luis Brito Garcia, aporrea, 2 diciembre 2013

[4] La Guerra económica y las elecciones municipales, Juan Manuel Karg, Rebelión, 2 diciembre 2013

[5] La Guerra económica y las elecciones municipales, Juan Manuel Karg, Rebelión, 2 diciembre 2013

[6] Is Venezuela in Crisis? Ewa Sapiezynska & Hassan Akram, AL JAZEERA, 2 December 2013; Venezuelanalysis.com

María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada. 

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