Analysis | How the Western media is getting (almost) everything wrong about Venezuela

Lee Salter argues our understanding of the recent upheavals in Venezuela must be placed in its proper, larger context. It's not about economics, corruption or crime, he insists, but about the ultra-rich and their supporters trying to overthrow the will of the people.

New in Ceasefire, Politics - Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014 23:36 - 22 Comments

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Ceasefire - Thousands of Chavistas marched through central Merida - Ryan Mallett-Outtrim -Venezuelanalysis

Thousands of Chavistas marched through central Merida, ending at Plaza Bolivar. Chants condemned the recent spate of violence and called for support for Nicolas Maduro. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis)

To explain events and developments in Venezuela at the moment is no mean task. Like most things, this is a complicated, vast subject, and regardless of the attempts by myriad political protagonists, human rights groups and news media outlets to paint things in simple, starkly black and white terms, they are not. In order to fully understand what is happening in the country, one must delve deep.

Take, for instance, a recent, particularly galling video on YouTube which explains that millions of students took to the streets to protest against the crime and security situation. The online comments left by a number of Venezuelans on the video are themselves quite telling, specifically in that they are mostly made in English and, bar the usual exceptions, English-speaking Venezuelans tend to generally be from the rich minority that has been fighting to overthrow democracy since 1998. Another curious thing about such comments is that they know what terminologies to deploy, as well as where and when to use them. They know, for instance, to mention “communism”, “Cuba”, “democracy” and “human rights”.

Naturally, the Venezuelan elite’s cultural networks of communicative power give them an enormous ability to set the news agenda (the Venezuelan news media has traditionally been controlled by the ultra-rich minority, of around 5-10% of the population), especially as there has been no real alternative to this media dominance beside the odd under-funded community radio station. Needless to say, in order to become a journalist in the first place, one needs the sort of training and contacts afforded only to the rich, alongside the cultural associations and linguistic ability that accompany such privileged backgrounds. As the U.S. political scientists Ronald Sylvia and Constantine Danopoulos explain, the availability of such cultural capital is restricted: ‘Weekend shopping trips to Miami were the order of the day for the bourgeois classes. The oil riches, however, did not trickle down to the bottom of Venezuelan society. A sizeable portion of Venezuela’s population remained desperately poor’.

Moreover, Venezuela’s ultra-rich have historically been well connected to Miami – and the US more generally – as well as to the international jet-set world. They have media interests and media contacts and they dominate international communications about Venezuela. So when a story needs to get out about, for instance, alleged abuses of journalists, the lines of communication are open, and a primed international media is ready to accept anything that conforms to expectations. (On one occasion, I noted a human rights group’s release about such an abuse. Upon investigation, I found that the original footage of the incident was of a camera operator being jostled on a picket line.)

In this context, the views and opinions of the vast majority of Venezuelans continue to go largely unreported, as coverage focuses on those of the – generally well-off and ‘on message’ – international diaspora. A few weeks ago, I read comments by such an ‘exile’ to the effect that “Chavez hates the people, he hates anyone with money. He is trying to stop the dams from producing electricity so that rich people can’t have televisions and things. In Caracas they only have 4 hours of electricity per day”. To which I pointed out that I had just come back from ten days in Venezuela, and experienced a single power cut of about 20 minutes. Another time, I found myself sharing a Caracas cable car with an English-speaking Venezuelan. She and her partner began talking to me and to my Irish friend about lightbulbs: “you know anything about Venezuela, about Chavez? He’s a communist, you know? He’s trying to destroy the country. He’s trying to force everybody to have energy-saving lightbulbs…but this isn’t Cuba”. After five minutes, my friend felt compelled to point out they used energy-saving lightbulbs in Ireland, too, and that he didn’t feel particularly oppressed by them.

I found the fury about electricity and lightbulbs rather baffling. After all, the situation is rather reasonably easy to explain: Venezuela was experiencing a long, extended drought and water levels in the hydro-electric dams were therefore low, impacting upon the country’s power generation figures. To compound matters, there were not enough engineers with the right expertise working on the dams and rivers to ensure proper maintenance. The key factor, however, was the jump in sales of consumer electrical items, such as refrigerators, encouraged by the government to improve the quality of life among the population. As such, adopting energy-saving policies as a short-term solution seems quite straightforward.

When quizzing Thomas Muhr, a researcher on Venezuela at the University of Bristol, about the lightbulb stories, he told me that it was all led by a rumour that Chavez was placing video cameras in them to spy on people at home. Quite.

Such stories go on and on and on. One of the most striking things, however, is that when one gets to the subject of corruption and crime, there is general consensus among most Venezuelans. Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to, including in and around the Venezuelan government, says the same things: there’s too much corruption, we don’t seem to be able to do anything about crime, the revolution isn’t fast enough, the people don’t seem to realise what they can do, and so on. Clearly, neither the government, nor the Bolivarian movement at large, is blind to these (or other) shortcomings and issues.

The other big problem facing the country is one over which the ultra-rich probably don’t lose much sleep: How to stop the CIA, and reactionary forces inside Venezuela, from overthrowing the democratically-elected government. This is the lens through which the situation in Venezuela must be understood. Most of the coverage of the country in the Western corporate media plays on what is called the “exceptionalism thesis”: the idea that Venezuela is historically different to the rest of Latin America insofar as it was stable and democratic. This thesis has been challenged by Steve Eller and Miguel Salas, alongside an array of other Latin American scholars such as Princeton’s Kelly Hoffman and Miguel Centeno who pointed out that before Chavez ‘Venezuela was marked by extreme poverty set against a narrowly constituted elite of 5-10% of the population’.

Indeed, there’s very little in the data that distinguishes Venezuela from the rest of the continent in this regard: According to Julia Buxton, of Bradford University, between 1975 and 1995 poverty increased dramatically in Venezuela, with the percentage of persons living in poverty rising from 33% to 70% of the population during that period, (the number of households in poverty increased from 15% to 45%). By 2000, wages had dropped by 40% from their 1980 levels. By 1997, 67% of Venezuelans earned less than $2 a day. Add to that the historically airbrushed atrocity of the Caracazo Massacre, where thousands of poor people were slaughtered – in the same year as Tiananmen Square – for protesting IMF dictats. In short, for most Venezuelans, contrary to the exceptionalism myth, there is very little if anything in the country’s pre-Chavez past to hark back to.

And yet, such an understanding is virtually lost in  international media coverage, which instead continues to reflect back on an imagined era, prior to Chavez, when the country was “unified” (presumably happy in poverty and oppression) and “stable”. Indeed, my own research has outlined the narrative that the BBC inadvertently plays on, which masks the history as experienced by the majority of Venezuelans. (I say “inadvertently” partly because one of the correspondents whose work makes up the bulk of the sample we analysed is a committed Chavista)

This narrative begins way back in December 1998 – before Chavez had a chance to do anything – when the BBC told us that “Venezuela is proud of its democratic record”; that “many” see Chavez as a kind of autocratic military leader (remember that he had hardly done anything by then); and that in the good old days a high proportion of government spending went on social programmes. (Amazing, really, that so many were still in poverty or voted for this demon from hell). It took less than a year for the Beeb to remind us that “There is a dictatorship” in Venezuela. For those idiots who thought Chavez’s elected-status gave him legitimacy, the BBC was quick to remind them that “Adolph Hitler was elected too”. This framing of Chavez, and the Bolivarian Revolution, went on unchallenged for the ensuing ten years: Chavez came from nowhere, he’s a grave danger for Venezuela and the world, and … oh wow, how did he get elected again?!

By 2002, the emboldened “opposition” – a term inherently understood by Western outlets as conferring legitimacy – had deployed its vast private media access to launch a bloody coup. That they did so with their allies in the private media is incontestable: with characteristic arrogance, right-wing reactionaries in Venezuela explicitly told us so on air. And yet, for the BBC, Chavez had “quit” due to his “mishandling” of “strikes” (in actual fact, a management lockout) and a demonstration in which Chavez had apparently decided to murder his own supporters. Fortunately, the BBC explained, “Venezuela … looked not to an existing politician but to the head of the business leaders’ association”, Pedro Carmona.

In the world of the BBC, the coup was actually “Venezuela” forming a transitional government and “restoring democracy”. On this account, democracy appears to be something that involves the ultra-rich shooting people and seizing power. (To be fair to the BBC, its coverage was substantially dependent on international news agencies, which in turn depended on local journalists, who in the main work for the private media that helped launch the coup… and so on)

The situation never changed. No matter how many democratic elections Chavez, the movement he led or the party he helped form won, no matter what level of electoral legitimacy Venezuelans (rather than the BBC’s “Venezuela”) bestowed on Chavez, the government could not stand, and the implacable reactionaries would not cease until the Old Order was restored (unless, of course, they are talking to the rest of the world, in which case the line tended to be, “oh, I’m sure they’re well-meaning and the social programmes are good, but there are too many bad people around and too much mismanagement”).

In this context, the most recent protests are indeed about a lot of things, and no doubt reflect a plethora of voices, just as there’s a variety of voices within the movement itself. Indeed, Venezuela still has problems, a lot of problems. Yet the “opposition” is as concerned with poverty today as its leaders were when they presided over massive levels of it. They are as concerned with human rights today as they were during the Caracazo Massacre. They are as concerned with democracy today as they were when there was a de facto exclusion of most of the population from political life. It is this fear of the “plebs” that drives the “opposition” today.

There’s a familiar story about states that sit outside the sphere of US hegemony – they tend to face campaigns of destabilisation, coups and invasions where necessary. The invariable response to such threats is to “clamp down” on previously enjoyed freedoms. The notion of a “strategy of tension” demands that a government is put in a defensive position – a “state of emergency” as it’s called in a friendly state. It is also this reaction, the context of which is rarely mediated, that motivates a number of the protesters.

It is worth reflecting how other states of emergency are mediated. After the 2011 riots in the UK, 3000 young people were swept up in a dragnet and sent to kangaroo courts for what would no doubt be called in Venezuela, a protest against an out of touch and corrupt government. The repressive clampdown was cheered on by the British media. Yet if the current President Maduro, or Chavez before him, had received as small a proportion of the vote as Cameron, Venezuela would probably have been invaded by now.

Contrast the conduct of broadcast media in the UK with that in Venezuela. It’s not simply that the private media in Venezuela have been “biased” in their coverage of national politics, which British broadcasters are forbidden by law to engage in, it is that they actively initiated a coup against democracy in 2002 that led to the deaths of hundreds. Were a TV anchor to appear on ITV News and counsel the army and navy to rise up against the government, he’d be gone in the blink of an eye. Were his bosses to support his position and continue to encourage such action on a daily basis for years, (as happened in Venezuela,) it would be hardly outlandish to suggest that the ITV licence would not be renewed.

In a sense, the Venezuelan government is playing into the hands of the reactionaries and their supporters in the US. Some of the measures taken to ward off coup threats and enable a government – that has never garnered less than 50% of the vote – to carry out its mandate have been clunky to put it mildly. Yet at the same time, it is difficult to see how else, other than through such emergency measures, the will of the people could be fulfilled in these circumstances.

Indeed, this is the crux of the situation in Venezuela: It is not about a sudden emergence of economic problems, corruption or crime. It is about the ultra-rich and their supporters, especially among the middle class, who for 15 years have spent their time, energy and resources trying every possible measure to overthrow the will of the people. Again, there are problems aplenty in Venezuela, but the trick is to understand these in the context of the bigger picture.

A version of this essay first appeared on the author’s personal blog.

Lee Salter is a lecturer and researcher at the University of the West of England. His research focuses on activism, protest and its representation in the media. His research on Venezuela looked at 10 years of BBC News reporting, finding that there was a clear and systematic misrepresentation of the Bolivarian revolution that stems from the class and cultural background of the BBC, ideological frameworks and the communicative power of the old elites.

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Ricardo de Sousa
Feb 23, 2014 22:36

Dear Mr Salter

Could you please let me know, for how long have you live in Venezuela? where did you do shopping during this time? did you face any problem walking in the street? did you manage to use public transport during this time? did you speak with the people in the slums? could you let me know how many tv channels has cover the riots? how many cover the president speaks? did you visit any jail?

Last year 25 thousand Venezuelan where killed, could you please let me know what was their political view? during these 14 years revolution it has increase or decrease? just to confirm do believe every Venezuelan who speak English is rich?

Do you think you would be able to visit the BBC and express comments against David Cameron? Could you visit VTV and express comments against Chavez or Nicolas Maduro or Fidel Castro?

Sorry if my email has offended you but I find your article pretty simplistic. It is incredible how the left and the right justify killing people so easily, I do not care if my country is right or left wing I just want the violence to stop.

Best regards,

Ricardo de Sousa

Sofia Loginow
Feb 24, 2014 8:49

Dear Ceasefire magazine,

Seems to me that this is the most biased article I’ve ever read in my life! As Ricardo mentioned above, have you actually seen the stadistics of murder in the country? The fact that we can’t even find toilet paper?? Our strict currency controls?? – to visualise it, imagine you decide to travel to France, you’ve got an emergency and your parents need to send you money – just a bank transfer would do. In Venezuela if this would happen to you, you’d could literally die, as no one would be able to send you any money because the government controls it all.

This article is even disrespectful of the situation that this country is going through. Seems to me you’ve decided to publish some sort of politic-supporting crap without even looking at the other face of the coin. Get better writers or reporters. Biased information only alienates people.

And as for now, I would never recommend people read from your magazine thanks to the bias put into your reports.

Regards

Lee
Feb 24, 2014 12:05

Ricardo,

No your email did not offend me. Yes I have been there. Yes it has got an unacceptably high crime and murder rate. No these were not caused by Chavez or Maduro. They were caused by decades of the wealthy marginalising the poor. You know very well why the barrios began, so let’s start to think carefully about the historic reasons for the state of affairs. And no, as it happens I don’t think the current government has done enough to address the situation.

And contrary to what you believe, in the UK no the media cannot call for the overthrow of government. The article was clear – there are strong laws in this country about the responsibilities of the media.

Sofia, yes there are economic problems. Have you heard of the global economic crisis? Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, all economic basket cases too. This has indeed affected Venezuela too. Moreover, we cannot in any way abstract the very intentional economic sabotage that took place between 2000 and 2007. It is clear that the wealthy undermined the economic policies of the government, as they did to Allende in Chile in the 1970s, so perhaps you should also (not only) point the finger at the other causes. You can’t destroy an economy and then complain that the economy is destroyed.

Murray Goulden
Feb 24, 2014 14:31

It was a pleasure to get some actual insight from coverage of Venezuela for a change. However I have to say I think the byline and the concluding paragraph do the rest of the piece a disservice. Protests can be about grounded concerns (crime, corruption, inflation) AND more structural issues (elites vs people). I see no need to dismiss the former to argue the latter. Crime rates may follow from long term structural issues (though unfortunatley Lee only makes this point in his reply, not the article), but after a decade and a half in power it would seem entirely legitimate to an outsider like me for people to protest against the Government which had failed to tackle it. That the Government is aware of the issue hardly lets them off the hook for it.

Sofia
Feb 24, 2014 14:33

Lee,

I understand your position. But quite clearly you don’t understand ours. The problem is not about the economic crisis, yes, we all know is there and that it only makes the situation worse. The problem is that the past government and the actual one, talks a lot about investing in the country when the actual opposite is done. Venezuela used to produce lots of things not only oil. Nowadays we only produce oil. Everything is imported and thanks to the senseless currency controls companies cannot afford to import and make a profit anymore.

Seems to me that you’re very passionate about these sort of policies, and yes the UK is not a great example as you said, because the country also controls big part of the media. However our main concerns as Venezuelans is not that our country does or doesn’t do as other countries, our concern is that the country is at an unbearable state of violence, shortage and socio-cultural crisis.

Is very much different comparing the economic crisis in Spain with the one in Venezuela, because of the simple fact that in Spain you can still walk down the streets with our fearing for your life.

I recommend you go again to Venezuela, but this time to actually live like a Venezuelan. With an average salary or pension, and then try to survive. Finally, I recommend you focusing more in the middle ground. Nowadays there’s more poor people in Venezuela than before Chávez, and this has been caused thanks to the fact that inflation is overwhelming. This is thanks to their economic measures.

The government keeps on making people down. And all they do is repeat what you just said “this happened thanks to your sabotages on the 2002″ okay let’s say it did, now what have you done to improve it? Nothing! They’ve done nothing. And THAT my dear Lee, is our main concern.

It’s really frustrating seeing people like you who’s lived in a country like the UK without actually experience danger, desperation and frustration like we do; speak of this subject as if they knew it all just because they read the books.

Sometimes is not about having a PhD Mr Lee, sometimes is about having common sense.

Best regards,
Sofia

Sofia
Feb 24, 2014 14:43

Dear Murray,

Agree with what you said. It’s really sad to have such passionate views on one side only, as we’ve got to see at the reality of this.

And as you said, the reality is that it’s been almost two decades and the situation has just got worse and worse!

[Marxism] How the Western media is getting (almost) everything wrong about Venezuela | Ceasefire Magazine
Feb 24, 2014 17:05

Luis Balcazar
Feb 25, 2014 2:13

Dear Lee Salter,

I would like to start my comment by saying that I understand your position, but I do not. As many, if not all, of the people who have already commented on your article I do not agree with an inch of the things you say.

First of all, as you may well be aware since you seem to have deeply studied our country, governments pre-Chavez (since around mid-70’s) allowed the poor to educate themselves abroad with what is known as ‘Beca Fundayacucho’ without needing to pay a penny back. This is how many Venezuelans learned to speak the English language, that and the fact that English is the international language and is needed pretty much anywhere you go. So, I find your opinion about English-speaking Venezuelans ‘being from the rich minority’ extremely patronizing.

The way you developed your article you go on and on about Chavez and how well, or not so well, he did while on power. However, your lines were dated on February 22, over a year after he was last seen in public. I do not see the point in debating over this because you may well have tried to convince us about how great Salvador Allende in Chile, Velasco Alvarado in Peru or Che Guevara for that matter were. The point of the current demonstrations is to protest about basic issues the government is able to tackle, yet they have not done so: food and medical necessities shortage, inflation and rising crime and murder rate.

I am going to start with the latter one. I found amusing how much you have researched about my country, yet you did not covered this topic at all. Over 200,000 (yes, that is two hundred thousand) murdered people in the past 15 years, taking us to the top part of the table when it comes to the most dangerous countries in the world. During 2012 the national homicide rate was 73 per 100,000 of the population, with Caracas (where you shared that cable car) registering 122 per 100,000; those figures raised in 2013 to 25,000 murders for the year. So you being alive does not mean Venezuela is crime-free my friend, it means you were just lucky.

You also mentioned Julia Buxton and her research on Venezuelan poverty. Interesting you mentioned how wages had dropped by 40% over 20 years (from 1980 to 2000), because the current regime has devalued our currency from BsF. 4,30 per dollar to BsF. 11,80 per dollar (as it stands officially today) since Nicolas Maduro took on power. That pretty much sums up how shockingly bad the regime has dealt with the economic situation. I do have to mention there is no way we, Venezuelans, are able to get foreign currency as you do here in the UK (from any typical bureau de change); unless under certain circumstances such as holidaying or studying abroad (depending on destination and duration); for which we have to present invoices when back in the country otherwise we would be accused of fraud and denied future applications. After reading this drastic measures you would not think there is space for corruption, would you? Well, you are wrong again! In 2013 $ 25,000,000,000 (yes again! 25 thousand million dollars) went missing according to the government. The students, and opposition in general, are requesting the lists of the ‘briefcase companies’ those monies were assigned to, without any success so far. This is another important reason why students are currently protesting. And you are telling us this government cares about the poor? No they do not! I have to finish this paragraph by saying the dollar’s value in the ‘black market’ is BsF. 87 per dollar (that’s $ 1.21 a day earned by Venezuelans on minimum salary).

Food and medicines shortage is the drop that spilled the cup. As Sofia has said, Venezuela used to be self-dependent. We used to produce our own products to supply part of the population, only needing to import enough for the rest of the market. Nowadays we are entirely oil dependent, and when it comes to food and medicines absolutely everything is imported. This can, plus the ‘strict’ currency control exchange mentioned in my previous paragraph, only cause shortage and exponential corruption. As a result, Venezuelans are queuing for 3 / 4 hours hoping they can get basic products such as milk, sunflower oil, butter, chicken, etc. Queuing does not guarantee you will get them, and all products will not be in the same supermarket. So, basically, a major step-back when compared with previous governments.

Quick comment about what you think to be the key factor for the apparently ‘not so frequent’ power cuts. Giving away electrical items without having a much needed electrical infrastructure clearly shows a lack of planning, or am I not right? By the way, many of those appliances have now been ruined and damaged due to the ‘not so frequent’ power outages.

My point is that the current situation in Venezuela is not a battle of rich against poor or left wingers against right wingers; the current situation in Venezuela is a crisis that does not ask citizens whether they believe in the revolution or not. Absolutely everyone is living the same situation and the country has had enough; that is the reason for the protests. A peaceful protest against a dreadful and useless regime which has failed dramatically to solve all these basic issues with the oil being over $ 100 per barrel.

Finally, I wanted to say I am a year placement student at the University of the West of England were you teach. I am available to meet up if you want to discuss any these issues with a Venezuelan person who was born and raised there. I am sure many other Venezuelans living in Bristol feel the same way. So, please do not hesitate to get in touch should that be the case.

Best regards,
Luis Balcazar

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Murray Goulden
Feb 26, 2014 14:03

Sofia, if you agree with what I said then perhaps I wasn’t clear. I am sympathetic to Lee’s argument, my comment however was that it was unnecessarily one sided. It could have better acknowledged failngs on crime for example, whilst still making its point. Ultimately I am in agreement with Lee, in that it appears to me that Venezuela is suffering currently because its government hast tried to favour its poor over the interests of international capital. In not accepting the current consensus that wealth must constantly flow upwards towards the richest, it has had to use currency controls which have resulted in a series of perverse consequences, some of which you describe. I would hold the international order which harms all of us responsible rather than the Venezuelan government.

It is difficult to disagree with people like yourself with personal experience, but it seems notable to me that those I have seen responding in social media appear to be those who have gained less from Chavism. Whilst English may not be the preserve of the wealthy in Venezuela according to what you say, it seems those on social media are of particular demographics. Venezuela has made real gains since 1999 on addressing inequality, it is a shame to me as an outsider that those I see responding in social media have nothing to say about this. Comments such as Luis’ “Absolutely everyone is living the same situation” are patently not true, and suggest a blindness to the issues Chavism has at its core.

I don’t offer an answer on whether or not Chavism’s successes outweigh its failings, that is for the people of Venezuela (in total, rather than just those visible here) to decide. I do though believe the acheivements of the movement must be recognised.

Ronald
Feb 27, 2014 0:29

I had never heard about the “University of the West of England”. Which explains a lot about how ridiculous this article is.

How ignorant can you be that you actually believe that there is such thing as “ultra rich” people in Venezuela after ALMOST TWO DECADES of socialIsm?

Look, kid, ultra rich people DONT NEED TO STAND IN LINE FOR TWO HOURS FOR TOILET PAPER.

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Feb 27, 2014 8:51

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Sofia Mason
Feb 27, 2014 11:27

Dear Lee,

Thank you for such a well-written, well-researched article explaining the context of the current situation in Venezuela. Thank you also for the comparison with the political repression in the UK following the street protests of summer 2011, this was a very fruitful comparative analysis.

I see you have upset some of the English-speaking Venezuelans you described at the start of your article,

Thank you for your time, patience and energy on this matter. We need more voices like yours to counter-act that of the biased corporate media.

All the best,

Sofia Mason

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Luis Balcazar
Mar 2, 2014 16:19

Please spare five minutes to watch the following video so you get a better understanding of the current situation.

http://bit.ly/1dbaYdv

Again, I’m happy to meet up with anyone who wants to discuss this further. After all I have lived there for 22 years and have family there too, family who is suffering every single aspect of the ones described in the video.

Regs,
Luis Balcazar

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Max
Mar 20, 2014 15:37

Dear Editor,
Where is this university that allows someone to write that there is “the ultra-rich minority, of around 5-10% of the population” in any given country? Someone so ignorant should be sent back to gradde school, not allowed to write for public consumption. If the “ultra-rich” were 5%-10% of the population in Venezuela (or any other country), it would be a resounding economic success.
Actually, it is absolutely the opposite. I know, because I live in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. You can see misery and poverty everywhere, especially in the lines to buy food. This is not how this country used to be, believe y me! There was a huge economic crisis in the 90’s, which allowed fascism to come to power -in the shape of Mr. Chavez and cronies- and they are now trying to fight it off, after 15 years of decay, thugs roaming the streets on motorcycles either robbing common citizens or frightening them (formerly “Círculos Bolivarianos”, at present UBCh-“Unidades de Batalla Chavistas”), while people suffer an undeclared “state of emergency”.
While all this happens -which any normal person can come and verify, or else watch CNNEE and get a small glimpse of it- this ignorant is allowed to write nonsense which is publicly aired.
Dear Editor, please review stuff before publishing. That is what editors do.
Rgds,
Max

Justin Keefe
Mar 25, 2014 23:05

No there’s nothing corrupt at all about a regime that makes the executive branch electable for life. Nor is there anything corrupt about a court system of hand-picked judges. Nor is there anything corrupt about keeping a recorded list of who voted for the opposition. Nor is there anything corrupt about a civil service that’s required to swear allegiance to the ruling party. And lastly, censoring the media (for instance, blocking news coverage of the protests from neighboring counties) is also not corrupt.

But real the proof is in the pudding, and we’ll see the Bolivarian revolution’s true colors very soon.

Luis Balcazar
Mar 26, 2014 0:05

“By 2000, wages had dropped by 40% from their 1980 levels. By 1997, 67% of Venezuelans earned less than $2 a day”

Year 1999, official exchange rate: $1 = BsF. 0.5

Tuesday 25th March 2014 – Official exchange rate (SICAD II): $1 = BsF.54

Minimum wage in Venezuela = BsF. 3270, equivalent to $1.95 a day

Mr. Lee Salter, do you still think the regime cares about the poor?

Raul
Jun 1, 2014 3:33

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
The ultra rich my ass~!!!!!

THERE ARE ONLY FOUR BILLIONAIRES IN THE WHOLE DAMN COUNTRY.

And they can’t stand the place.

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