Disinformation in The Economist

Right-Wing Magazine Backs Down over Misleading Readers on Venezuela

In its July 18, 2009 edition, The Economist article on Bolivia (“Bolivia’s divisive president. The Permanent Campaign,” July 18) asserted, “Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion centred on the airport at Santa Cruz in the east in 2007.” The article did not bother to substantiate such a serious charge against Venezuela and is buried as one of several unjustified and unsubstantiated allegations against the president and government of Bolivia,

The piece “Bolivia’s divisive president. The Permanent Campaign” does not even pretend to be ‘even-handed’ or ‘balanced.’ Some of the statements in it are simply unalloyed anti-Morales propaganda. Putting the blame squarely on Evo Morales, for example, for the diplomatic difficulties Bolivia has been having with the US (without informing the readers that Bush unilaterally had ended Bolivia’s export preferential treatment on some exports or that Bolivia expelled US ambassador Mr Phillip Goldberg because he had been actively supporting secessionist efforts in Santa Cruz), and with Peru (without telling readers that Peru gave asylum to Bolivian Cabinet minister indicted for civilian deaths resulting from military repression of protests six years ago during the government of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada), but explaining them as a deliberate Morales drive to isolate Bolivia because, according to The Economist, “Many in the government dream of an economic autarky, powered by gas.” The article goes even further by quoting government’s opponents in Santa Cruz, who describe Morales as an “indigenous fascist” with The Economist accepting such a highly inflammatory label with no qualification whatsoever. And, if there was any doubt as to where The Economist stands on the Morales government, the piece ends by sympathetically paraphrasing one pundit who says “Bolivia is suffering a classic bout of Latin American populism: personalised politics, mild paranoia, bad economic policy and a weak opposition.” No journalistic objectivity or even the pretension of it.

Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, HE Samuel Moncada, responded to the allegation regarding the participation of Venezuelan troops in the suppression of a rebellion in Santa Cruz in 2007, with letter to Michael Reid, The Economist‘s Latin American editor, in which he stated that “Unfortunately, dangerous and negative consequences in the region may arise due to this blunder published in your magazine. I would therefore demand a correction of such fallacy”. (The Ambassador’s letter can be found in full here).

Subsequently Ambassador Moncada wrote again to Michael Reid who had responded to the first letter by saying that The Economist stood by their story. In his second letter Ambassador Moncada wrote: “As we believe that the videos in your possession are absolutely false, this matter can only be settled with evidence. Therefore, either you publish your data in order to prove your point, or our request in the first letter stands. Then, you will have no choice but to correct the statement in your article issued on the 18th of July.”

A campaign of letter writing to Michael Reid was initiated so that he published the video material in his possession and proved his story or correct the false statement made about Venezuelan troops having participated in quelling a rebellion in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

On its July 25, 2009, edition, The Economist did publish a ‘correction’ on its story “Clarification: Bolivia and Venezuela.”

See also the video footage on which the allegation was based.

The full text of the ‘correction’ is:

Clarification: Bolivia and Venezuela
Jul 30th 2009
From The Economist print edition
In our recent story on Bolivia (“The permanent campaign”, July 18th), we stated that “Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion centred on the airport at Santa Cruz in the east in 2007”. Both the Venezuelan and Bolivian governments deny this (see Letters), and Venezuela’s government has publicly asked us to retract this assertion. We based our statement on television footage aired at the time which shows a Venezuelan air force plane and uniformed Venezuelan personnel at Santa Cruz airport shortly after it had been seized by the Bolivian government from the local authorities. No official explanation has been given for their presence. However, we are happy to clarify that this footage does not prove Venezuelan troops played an active role in quelling the rebellion. We have placed the television footage on our website.

The explanation, “we are happy to clarify that this footage does not prove Venezuelan troops played an active role in quelling the rebellion”, not only TOTALLY contradicts the assertion made in the July 18 story — defended by Latin American editor, Michael Reid in correspondence with Venezuela’s ambassador — but also shows the type of bias The Economist tends engage in when it comes to covering developments in Venezuela in particular but also in Latin America in general.

The fact is that the assertion “Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion centred on the airport at Santa Cruz in the east in 2007” was based on the flimsiest of ‘evidences’ which no serious editor should use to make such a grave assertion. Furthermore, the facts themselves, as presented by The Economist ‘correction’ speak for themselves. The footage which Latin American editor Michael Reid was forced to made public NOWHERE shows anything of any kind whatsoever that could be construed as “Venezuelan troops [having] helped quell a rebellion” in Bolivia in 2007 as affirmed in the July 18 article.

The footage comes from a TV channel which is clearly opposed to President Evo Morales, at a time when the Bolivian government faced a serious destabilisation threat from a radical opposition to the Bolivian government whose epicentre was/is the Department of Santa Cruz and the capital city of the same name. The Half Moon ‘autonomist’ movement in Bolivia has strenuously tried to demonstrate in its propaganda that Morales is a puppet of Hugo Chavez and falsely claim that it is Venezuelan ‘domination’ they have been fighting against.

The Economist ‘explanation’ as to why it had asserted that there had been Venezuelan military participation in the quelling of an anti-government rebellion at the Santa Cruz airport is that the TV “footage aired at the time [...] shows a Venezuelan air force plane and uniformed Venezuelan personnel at Santa Cruz airport shortly after it had been seized by the Bolivian government from the local authorities,” adding, “No official explanation has been given for their presence.” None was asked. Mr Reid, as the Latin American editor, ought to have corroborated the story by requesting confirmation or otherwise from the Bolivian and Venezuelan authorities as to the alleged participation of Venezuelan troops in repressive activities against Bolivian citizens on Bolivian soil. It is just incredible that such grave assertion could have been made on the bases of the video footage published in The Economist and without this elementary safeguard of sound journalism.

Francisco Domínguez is a member of Executive Committee, Venezuela Information Centre. Read other articles by Francisco, or visit Francisco's website.

34 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. wallace said on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:09am #

    Thank you Francisco for calling tne Economist a liar. I read that article and it is how the Economist treats governments,especially non-white governments, when they don’t follow policies which are approved of in England or the U.S. Because it covers the world the magazine is generally a good point of reference to stay abreast of current events, but their bias is blatant and it’s good that someone has called attention to their loose handling of the truth!

  2. roy said on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:01am #

    I lived in Venezuela as an English teacher for 15 years, and saw how Chavez has distorted the country, I’m not rich or anything I don’t own any property not even a car. Of course you won’t publish my point of view because it doesn’t fit your socialist agenda for Venezuela. I always wondered how Hitler was able to getaway with what he did, after seeing apologist’s blogs such as yours, I understand why. When Chavez starts killing Venezuelans in large numbers to stay in power, as his kind always do, weather from the Left or Right, your excuse will be that it was those around him, or maybe he wasn’t given a chance. What I recommend you do is go live in Venezuela for one year and then give you opinion, but of course you won’t, or if you do it will be as a guest of the Robloution, put up at the Hilton, I don’t know why communists love the Hilton SO. As soon as Fidel took over Cuba he perched himself in the Pent House of the Hilton.

  3. locojhon said on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:32am #

    I used to subscribe to ‘The Economist’ until the negatives of their biased reporting outweighed the positives, and the effort sifting out their bullshit proved too burdensome. They are the voice of the capitalist elite, no matter how they try to portray themselves in ways more benign.

  4. dsc said on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:55am #

    Haha! What irony! This writer criticizes The Economist for using unsubstantiated claims while using unsubstantiated claims “Bolivia expelled US ambassador Mr Phillip Goldberg because he had been actively supporting secessionist efforts in Santa Cruz.” Sure, that’s why the government says he was expelled, but at the time the government offered zero evidence, much less proof, that the ambassador supported the secessionists.

  5. Melissa said on August 3rd, 2009 at 12:28pm #

    roy,

    I am interested to hear more of your first person account of Venezuela. I do not have a socialist agenda, but I have been intrigued and even “taken” with Hugo Chavez. The reasons for my interest come NOT from first hand experience but are:

    a) I have read that the literacy rate is very near 100% in Venezuela due to Chavez’ reforms
    b) He requires constitution to be printed upon packaging of staple foods so that people will be informed, and feel ownership of gov.
    c) He sends heating gas/oil (?) to the poor of my country (USA)
    d) He makes it possible for parents to have income while staying home to raise children, cook, clean; actually encouraging healthy family environment.

    I have been uncomfortable with his calling off elections, in essence being a dictator, but I know (OK, I assume) that there are many who benefit from the disparities who are waiting in the wings to take over in order to impose the austerity programs that have caused so much pain.

    I too am very uncomfortable with socialism, but find myself thinking he has served the greater population of Venezuela better than the plutocracy. Some have characterized Chavez of being the most democratic of leaders in the world, and Venezuelans seem to support him very strongly.

    Did you find that the lettered points I made above were true? -Or do you have a different story from your 15 years in Venezuela?

    If you have read my post, and choose to reply, I thank you.
    Peace,
    Melissa

  6. Wayne Hilburno said on August 3rd, 2009 at 12:30pm #

    I spend lots of time in Bolivia and Evo only believes in Democracy when it works for him. If Democracy is used against him, he blames the Imperialist (U.S.) or anyone else he can think of.
    As for the article from The Economist, I do not have any problem with what they wrote. I guess it all comes down to ones interpretation of “to quell”. As per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to Quell is: 1 : to thoroughly overwhelm and reduce to submission or passivity 2 : quiet, pacify
    So the Venezuelan Military didn’t have to actually commit violence to quell the uprising. Their presence alone was enough to do the job as a back-up to the Bolivian Army. Therefore I am not sure why you and the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia are so upset by the article.

  7. Wendy said on August 3rd, 2009 at 1:11pm #

    No mention in this article of how Dictator Chavez shut down 34 radio stations throughout his troubled country over the weekend. CNB 102.3 FM is one of the stations forced to shut down Friday, and now only transmits over the Internet. That station alone employed hundreds of workers, most of them seeking new employment if there are any jobs left in Chavez’s backyard. It is surprising that Dictator Chavez didn’t disrupt the massive demonstration outside the station in Caracas, but dissent has been clearly stifled without a media outlet critical of the Furher. A Chavez spokesperson (thug) denied the government was trying to limit freedom of expression or punish political opponents, and said licenses were being revoked only for “violating regulations.” Lies, lies, lies. Chavez has just as much hate for his fellow Venezuelans as Cindy $heehan has for her fellow Americans.

    It is a sad state of affiairs in this beautiful South American land. May the people one day take back this fine nation for themselves, and may Chavez rot with past dictators such as Hitler and Idi Amin. Goodness shall prevail over evil, and the great citizens will have the last laugh, not the evil pig dictator.

    Peace on Earth
    Wendy

  8. locojhon said on August 3rd, 2009 at 2:15pm #

    Melissa,,,
    Please re-read the comment by Roy you responded to, then add up the various grammatical, punctuation and other proper language ‘errors’ and ask yourself if it could possibly be written by an experienced teacher of ENGLISH.
    The guy doesn’t even know the difference between ‘weather’ and ‘whether’ for crying out loud!
    I suspect he is not the only troll in the room (Hi Wendy).
    And the worst of it all?
    Likely, it is our taxes used to pay for them to spread their lies/disinformation/propaganda.

    Wendy,,,
    When you state “Chavez has just as much hate for his fellow Venezuelans as Cindy $heehan has for her fellow Americans,” and then follow it with a “Peace on Earth”, you tell too much about yourself to those paying attention.
    The hate you express is palpable–in sharp contrast to the peace on earth closing. The statements you expressed are a total contradiction of each other.
    I detect a fraud, and likely another troll.

  9. brian said on August 3rd, 2009 at 3:06pm #

    ‘When Chavez starts killing Venezuelans in large numbers to stay in power, as his kind always do, weather from the Left or Right’
    roy tries to disguise himself by his ‘left or right’ flourish, when he is of the Right…
    Nice try Roy., but the only killings are by your buddies on the right…

  10. brian said on August 3rd, 2009 at 3:09pm #

    ‘No mention in this article of how Dictator Chavez shut down 34 radio stations throughout his troubled country over the weekend’

    what radio stations , wendy,and how can an elected leade be ‘Dictator’? Try to disguise yourself better next time.

  11. brian said on August 3rd, 2009 at 3:11pm #

    ‘I spend lots of time in Bolivia and Evo only believes in Democracy when it works for him. If Democracy is used against him, he blames the Imperialist (U.S.) or anyone else he can think of’

    this from ‘Wayne’ the trolls are out in force…You only believe in democracy when it puts in office a US patsy,Wayne. And you hate it when it puts in office a US critic. Bolivians know all about you and your kind…thats why they elected Evo.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 3rd, 2009 at 3:54pm #

    The interesting thing about Santa Cruz is that it was one of the regions where escaping Nazis and other fascists from Europe after WW2 congregated. These butchers and psychopaths were facilitated in their flight by the US, its stooges and the Vatican. They were later used by the US in its eternal war against the people of Latin America, having expertise in torture and terror tactics like ‘disappearances’, and in favour of the eternal rule of parasitic elites the US prefers to hold power and deliver their countries up to US pillage. These are what the US, with Orwellian facility, calls ‘democrats’. You know, Pinochet, Videla, Banzer, Rios Montt, d’Aubusson,Noriega, Fujimori, Stroessner, Duarte etc They and their the likes are clearly Wendy’s ‘kinda guys’, and the only ‘peace’ they ever brought their people was the peace of the grave. Or as Roosevelt said, ‘They may be sons-of-bitches, but they’re our sons-of-bitches’..People like Chavez and Morales who win election after election are labeled, perversely and mendaciously, as ‘dictators’ solely because their policies aid the poor majority, rather than the parasitic, bloodthirsty, elites.
    The psychotic trolls here, with their preposterous humbug of ending their little epistles of hatred and lies with calls for ‘peace’, are typical of the Right, as is the odious rag ‘The Economist’. Rightwing psychopathy is basically a disease of the soul, characterised by hatred of other people. Therefore the Right prefers market capitalist authoritarianism not only because it ensures great inequality and riches for a tiny elite, but also because it throws billions of intensely hated ‘others’, particularly if they are ‘non-white’, into want, hunger and premature death. That is why they hate Chavez, Morales or Castro with such fanatic zeal, that is why they will lie and lie again, and why the US, under ‘house negro’ Obama as much as any other of his psychotic predecessors, will never cease to destroy any government anywhere that does not follow the US model of elite rule, mass poverty and total obeisance to the Yankee Fourth Reich.

  13. Don Hawkins said on August 3rd, 2009 at 5:04pm #

    They the so called elites are hopelessly addicted to the system. The last time I checked if you have an addiction it controls you you don’t control it. The system is now out of control and so are they. Very easy to see. Things should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. Probably better to start now as it will happen anyway.

  14. mcthorogood said on August 3rd, 2009 at 7:36pm #

    Do I sense a flame war between DV’ers and rightist trolls?

    The documentary “The Revolution will not be Televised” shows the importance of media and their ability to misinform the public. In 2002, the fate of the Chavez presidency hung in the balance after the presidential guards retook the palace, and the private TV channels continued to assert that the coup government was still in control. It wasn’t until the only state channel began broadcasting that Chavez’s VP was sworn in, that the situation turned around.

    The video footage, on which The Economist’s article is based, could have been altered, much in the same way, that the private TV channels in Venezuela showed Chavez supporters shooting into crowds, when actually they were returning fire from provocateur snipers and the streets below them were deserted.

    It seems that as long as foreign governments support U.S. interests, e.g. bananas and oil, we won’t sic the dogs on you. Hey, President Zelaya, when R U going back to Honduras?

  15. roy said on August 3rd, 2009 at 9:35pm #

    Mlisa, what you say about Chavez having literacy programs is true, but the success rate is not. Illiteracy in Venezuela before Chavez was around 88% Now its not much more. About 92% What the literacy program is about is indoctrination in socialism for the poor. I have nothing against socialism as an idea, unfortunately it doesn’t work because of human nature, when some work and others don’t but get the same pay the productive workers stop working. You saw it in China and in Russia and continues in Cuba. Is the capitalist system bad, of course but why aren’t all the socialists around the world flocking to North Korea, or Cuba? Because its nice to sit in a comfortable country where every thing works, and talk about trendy things like class struggle in Starbucks, today for example I heard Caracas was without electricity for 5 hours this is happening more and more, since Chavez took over the electricity Co, from the Gringos, he has not increased electricity rates since he took it over. Its nice a nice thing to do, but how do you buy parts for the plants when they break down? Socialists say profit is bad, I say no profit is worse. As you sit in you nice house in London or New York Think about the people in Venezuela and not about your infatuation with another Latin Despot

  16. roy said on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:00pm #

    Hi Brian I lived in Venezuela for 15 years and now more about Chavez than you will ever know, when he did his Military coup in 1992 I was in Venezuela, asked about the 200 people killed in his coup that he planed(by the way, most of his troops were told it was a training exercise and did not know) he said “its just a few people” from that moment I new who he was, of course living in were US or Canada or some other safe country you are an expert on such maters. People like you are enablers of people like him. But when he kills in a big why not just a coupe of hundred people you will be silent just as those who supported Stalin or Hitler or other killers.

  17. Bina said on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:30pm #

    Roy, for heaven’s sake, don’t write in run-on sentences. It makes you look breathless in addition to being woefully misinformed. It also makes your drivel downright illegible.

    North Korea isn’t socialist. It isn’t even communist. It’s feudal, but the monarch uses the rhetoric of socialism to disguise his true nature.

    As for Cuba–who are you to judge what it is or that socialism is evil based on what happens there? The Cubans on the island (not in Miami!) are the ones who get to decide what economic system they prefer, and they decided that they prefer being free to being rich. If not for the Revolution, they’d be another Puerto Rico–hopelessly dependent on their gringo “benefactors”, but with no voice and no real government. And rampant poverty in addition to wealth and power concentrated in too few hands. Fortunately, they resisted that! It was they who fought off the Bay of Pigs attack, which they rightly perceived as an imperialist invasion. They did not choose poverty, any more than they chose the blockade the US put up against them to try to break their system down (with active collusion from the Brits, I might add.) If Cuba is poor, don’t blame socialism–blame capitalism, because it was capitalists who tried to monkey-wrench the entire Cuban economy!

    Cuba survives because its people have learned to co-operate–and to do without the “help” of the IMF, World Bank, etc. A pretty impressive track record–I hear that the current recession hasn’t hit them, but it has clobbered everyone who played by the Bretton Woods rulebook. Not bad for a supposedly shabby socialist country! And then, they have all those other things, too–free healthcare, free education, a vibrant culture, 100% literacy…need I go on? They didn’t have any of that when the oh-so-capitalist dictator Batista ruled the island! (Or any of the previous slave-masters, either.)

    Socialism does not create poverty, any more than capitalism guarantees wealth to everyone. In fact, capitalism’s agenda has more to do with depleting wealth than it does with creating it; its method is to suck the money from the bottom to the top, not send it trickling down. But I don’t expect you to understand that. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you don’t understand the issue, much less the root causes of the economic crises eating up all the riches we were promised by those hucksters at the Economist.

    Don’t be shedding any crocodile tears for “poor” Venezuela. They’re now reinvesting in their own economy, and contrary to what you claim, they HAVE wiped out illiteracy–100%. Something which the ultra-capitalist (and ultra-repressive) “leaders” of days gone by strangely neglected to do, because they were too busy lining their own pockets. But I guess you’d say they were great democrats, because at least none of them ever said the word socialism–eh, Roy?

  18. Bina said on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:39pm #

    Also, re: the coup of ’92: Roy, do you have any idea whom Chávez overthrew–that is, do you know Carlos Andrés Pérez was? Here’s a hint: He got elected on the platform of telling the IMF to get out of Venezuela. What did he do when he took possession of Miraflores? He went back on ALL his campaign promises, and implemented every loathsome IMF-recommended measure that the people had voted against! If that’s not a dictator, I don’t know what is. Chávez was right to try to overthrow him. As it was, Dictator Pérez got impeached the very next year–for misappropriation of public funds, among other things. The IMF didn’t kick him out–the people of Venezuela did.

    And when Chávez was pardoned, and ran for election, one of the first questions he asked the people at his campaign stops was, “Do you think I was right to try to overthrow CAP?” A sea of hands invariably went up. There are even pictures and news clips of it!

    Like I said–under CAP, there was no public reinvestment in Venezuela. But hey, what a great democrat! He went back on all his campaign promises, and unilaterally imposed the very measures the people elected him NOT to impose. The essence of democracy, no? But at least he wasn’t a socialist…which, in the world according to guys like Roy, is what makes someone a dictator. Even if he’s elected by a populace that mostly thinks he was in the right to overthrow the phony “democrat”.

    The mind boggles.

  19. Per said on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:07pm #

    I am from Sweden and lived in many parts of the world. The article was extremely unfair and repulsive. It does not show the Bolvian reality. I lived in Boliva for four years. It is a perfect example of how minority extreme rightist and extremely rich people completing dominating over majority poor people. Even India looks paradise compared to Boliva and many other Latin countries in terms of distribution of income.

  20. mary said on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:30pm #

    There is a link to this article on medialens and a comment with which I concur. Webofdemocracy.org refers to ‘yellow journalism’. Quite correct.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Economist forced to back down over Venezuela misinformation
    Posted by emersberger on August 4, 2009, 12:33 am

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/08/disinformation-in-the-economist/
    h/t http://www.webofdemocracy.org/

    Basically, the Economist is a snooty outfit that employs journalistic standards that would shame high school students.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Economist Diversifies Disinformation
    Last week, we drew attention to The Economist’s pro-R2P propaganda; this week, we learn that they have been forced to show some contrition over an earlier, anti-Bolivian/Venezuelan piece of yellow journalism.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 4th, 2009 at 12:18am #

    ‘Socialism doesn’t work’, not because of human nature, but because of roy nature. The roys, who despise the non-roys and wish to exploit them and grow fat from it, will always subvert any government not based on individual greed and ruthless competition, competition rigged to favour the roys. The roys readily resort to lies, black propaganda and violence whenever a society based on co-operation or on the sharing of wealth rather than its greedy accumulation by the royist elite is established, and always gets the support of states run by other roys, like the USA, in subverting the despised sharers. The roys have always won, because greed and contempt for others seem more powerful in human affairs than altruism and respect. The roy’s greatest triumph is to ensure that humanity has not and will not address anthropogenic climate change, where the greed of the roys has trumped everything, even their own survival instincts. And good riddance to them.

  22. denk said on August 4th, 2009 at 12:27am #

    the economists , one of the icon of “freedom of speech” ?

    in a recent thread about tibet, many posters were spewing lots of bushit about china and they were very abusive to boot.
    i posted three responses, mainly factual rebuttal to the blatant lies , but all were deleted as fast as i could send them……..while those abusive craps were left intact. !!

    mind you, the economists is considered one of the more “objective” paper in uk [sic]

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 4th, 2009 at 4:28am #

    denk, in accurate terminology, The Economist is an evil, Rightwing, shit-rag, like all the rest, only rather arrogant in its peddling market fundamentalist imbecility. But the China attack is simply indicative of the absolute priority the Western Right has now attached to the task of bringing China down.

  24. mary said on August 4th, 2009 at 4:43am #

    Another screaming man but he admits to falling for the Obama hype, now regretted.

    A guest article from Greg Palast in the Morning Star, the only truly socialist and independent newspaper in the UK and one which takes no advertising.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/features/obama_s_true_colours

  25. phreeman said on August 4th, 2009 at 6:30am #

    Dominguez argues that the Economist didn’t have any video of the Venezuelan troops shooting guns, so therefore the Venzuelans did not “help quell” the rebellion. Hmmm. Doesn’t quite follow. A show of force sometimes “quells unrest” without shooting.

    But seriously, WHAT WERE THE VENEZUELAN TROOPS DOING THERE? Vacationing?

    As a long time Economist reader, I find the suggestion that the Economist is “right wing” laughable. I guess that might be true if your definition of “right wing” is anything to the right of Karl Marx, and you look back with fondness to the Soviet command economy.

    That being said, the Economist certainly is a classically liberal capitalist publication, and I recall questioning the tenor and therefore the accuracy of the article myself. Nonetheless, Domingues’ criticism is far more obviously biased than the Economist article he criticizes. Plus, the grammatical errors weaken the attack. I’ll take my chances with the Economist, warts and all.

  26. denk said on August 4th, 2009 at 8:18pm #

    hello mulga,

    the likes of economists , feer etc. are fond of wagging its fingers at china’s state censorship, but with such hypocrits at the helm wielding self censorship at will, who needs big bros ?

    coming from the economist, such rhetoric sounds more like its a slip of tougue of their wet dream.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 5th, 2009 at 4:44am #

    phreeman, of course everthing to the Right of the sainted Karl is ‘Rightwing’. What is your point? Your praise for the arrogant, condescending, Rightwing, ‘know-it-all’ Low Priests of the Market Fundamentalist cargo cult who produce their predictable bunkum in The Economist says all that need be said. Market capitalism is an evil, dehumanising, infinitely destructive disease of small minds with even more attenuated souls, and its continued existence for even a decade or two will see humanity, even the smart-arses of The Economist, off.

  28. roy said on August 5th, 2009 at 9:54am #

    “Also, re: the coup of ‘92: Roy, do you have any idea whom Chávez overthrew–that is, do you know Carlos Andrés Pérez was? Here’s a hint: He got elected on the platform of telling the IMF to get out of Venezuela.”

    Talk about double talk, when Chavez, does a coup against a democratically elected, Carlos Andres Perez , its ok, but when the military pushes him out, for giving the order to shoot protesters(recorded on tape) its bad. About misappropriating funds, do you mean like when Chavez was caught sending a suitcase with $800,000 in cash, gringo dollars to Cristina Kirchner, on a PDVASA jet? (Accompanied by the Pdvasa VP) or maybe the money was for souvenirs. About support from the Venezuelan people, the reason the coup was not successful (for Chavez) was exactly because people did not come out in his support.
    However when a provisional government talked about cancelling the new constitution without a popular vote, (when Chavez was pushed out) Chavez was brought back, by the same military that took him out.
    Talking about campaign promises, when asked if he was a communist, Chavez said no, just as Fidel did in Cuba. Instead he offered some mumbo jumbo, about the third way, now he has power and indefinite re-election, he starts talking about socialism, which in poll after poll Venezuelans reject.
    About the reason Carlos Andres Perez, was rejected by the Venezuelan people, you show how little you know about the country. CAP as he is know locally (as would know if you really studied the country) increased gasoline prices, which caused public transport to shoot up, and causing widespread anger among the poor. Cheap gasoline prices paradoxically favours the rich in Venezuela as only 10% of the population have cars.
    Chavez has maintained cheap prices, because even he is afraid of increasing gas prices. About what makes someone a dictator, correctly you say being a socialist doesn’t make you a dictator, but having no checks and balances, does. When Chavez was running for president, he would say he only need one term to fix the problems in Venezuela, after receiving a trillion US dollars from oil, he has built fewer houses in ten years than other president’s, with lower oil prices, now he said he wants’ to remain in power till 2,020

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 6th, 2009 at 1:58am #

    Good onya roy! Coming out as just another banal, lying Rightwing psychopath, with the Right’s innate hatred of other people and any politician who attempts anywhere, at any time, to ameliorate the suffering of the billions who live lives of despair because of Rightwing greedheads like you, takes some guts. I bet you’ve got lots of guts.

  30. Ramiro said on August 7th, 2009 at 6:48am #

    I spent a lot of time as a student reading British, USA, Spanish, French, and German newspapers, and I can say that the Economist is one of the most biased right leaning, and opinionated magazines.
    Reporting and journalism should report facts preferable from both sides of the argument, and if possible from the neutral perspective as well. The Economist does in no way do this.
    (In my opinion the only newspaper that does this is the Financial Times, but do not take my word for it, try it out). The litmus test, which any of you can do, is to follow a political story over a few days on a number of newspaper, from a number of countries (with the onset of the internet a quick and free thing to do). Or read an article and then read the same article from Reuters, which in a lot of cases is the source of most international reporting).
    PS. The Morning Star, is if anything worse than the Economist. So to the person who mentioned it, most modern toilet paper is softer on the bum, and even after use contains less SH*T.

    Morales and Chavez are both doing great damage to their countries. Both have been voted in with the hope of bring real change for their nations, in the case of Morales, this is failing and will fail as a lot of his changes are leading the country towards civil war as he is bringing an apartheid political system where the Indian peasants have overwhelming power. This is against the urban Indians, middle classes (which would compare to the lower classes in Europe or America), and the upper classes.
    In the case Chavez his style of rule is more akin to a despot than to democratic President. A president is a figure head of a nation, for the nation. Who is entitled to have a number of ideas himself, but should set the direction of the nation together with a parliament and a political party. In the case of Chavez he is the party, the parliament he tries to bend to his will, and the opposition is constantly being democratically weakened. (The opposition is an incredibly important tool in any system, be if of the right, left or centre, as it acts as the balance stopping the more radical or extreme actions of the ruling party). On top of this he is giving away his nations wealth for his political agenda (cheap fuel for the USA, incredible as most of the recipients of the fuel are vastly richer than the lower Venezuelan classes), fund for foreign political parties (which is illegal in most counties if not all).

    Finally the socialist governments of Lula or Bachelor will bring their counties forward, as well as their populations, and the living standard of their people. The more radical Morales and Chavez will bring poverty in the long run, and dilute their nation’s wealth (both have so far only survived for so long due to the misuse of oil and gas revenues.

  31. Tom said on August 7th, 2009 at 12:17pm #

    check out Melvyn Kohn’s story about the assassination attempt in Bolivia in April this year – posted on 20 May to http://www.hurryupharry.org

    It shows how the press works to cover up even an assassination attempt!

  32. roy said on August 22nd, 2009 at 9:41pm #

    It’s funny how people talk a of rightwing Billionaires being against Chavez.
    One of Latin Americas richest, Gustavo Cisneros (owner of cannel 4 Venevision TV) is left to keep his empire, as long as he goes along with Chavez. Mr Cisneros farther was a big supporter of Carlos Andres Perez, who Chavez did a coup against in 1992. Those who never lived in Venezuela should read up before they make sweeping statements, about rich and poor, in that unfortunate country. I lived in many countries and experienced racism first hand, being spat on for being black, as a schoolboy in England.
    In Venezuela I experienced no racism in fifteen years of living and working there. Chavez is trying to make it as if it’s a problem. He tells the sympathetic (leftist) western world, that a small group of Europeans run the country, against a majority of brown and black skinned population. Chavez second wife (his first divorced him for beating her, as did his second) is blond and blue eyed. Mixed marriages are very common to see in Venezuela. In Venezuela, class dived is based on education and money not race, as in Europe or the US. The people that makeup the Chavez government, are brown black and white, as have been previous governments. The coup Chavez did in 1992 was against a president who was the same colour as him. What Chavez is about is money and power, for him and his supporters, the Venezuelan way, for 200 years, the only difference this time is he wants to use race to keep him in power for ever.

  33. Fernando said on October 16th, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    I am Venezuelan, not rich or white (this is funny, because race was never an issue before Chavez) I understand that everybody wants to believe what they want to believe and specially if you are reading here you must be at some level (intelectual, emotional) connected with revolutionary ideas. But all of you have to ask yourself why we have so many venezuelans leving the country, professionals trained under the free education available way before Chavez decide to work as waiters/waitresses in other countries. Venezuela is suffering the first big exodus in history and that is because everything is getting worse faster every day. I live in Canada and I don’t plan on going back to my dear Caracas at all, since is just the ruins of the once most modern city in Latin America.

    I see Roy’s bad writng (like mine, but hey I’m no teacher) but that does not imply that he is either a troll or lying. He is very accurate on his assertions and Dominguez seems to be colecting a salary from the Venezuelan goverment.

    The thing with Chavez is power, the thing with his close supporters is money and the thing with his not so close supporters is resentment. Google on Julio Rivas, find out why this is a revolution without laborers or students, research about the credentials of the goverment figures or why there is always the same group of ten or twelve switching among all the different main roles (Vicepresident turned into General prosecutor, defense into vicepresident, elections officer as a prize for rigging elections turns into vicepresident, and so on)

    Somebody said above that North Korea is not socialist, you can say the same thing about Venezuela. Go, live there and then we’ll talk

  34. Fernando said on October 16th, 2009 at 3:39pm #

    I forgot something. The DISIDENT VOICEs in Venezuela is what Chavez is afraid of and its what he is making silent.