There is no doubt that the revolution in Venezuela is a test for all those active in politics. Movements like those in Venezuela force everybody to take a stand - and the “progressive” liberal press is no exception. Simon Tisdall, in his Guardian column titled “Chavez the Bush baiter” (November 25), reveals the bias of the mainstream media towards the Venezuelan Revolution. How could it be any other way? The Venezuelan Revolution has given a voice to exploited majority of society – those that are rarely given space in the bourgeois media – and not to the editors and owners of big media groups. Here we include a link to Tisdall’s column and to the letters that some readers sent to the Guardian in rejection of this biased piece of capitalist propaganda.
Tuesday November 29, 2005, The Guardian
Simon Tisdall repeats the dogma of the Bush administration (ChÃ¡vez the Bush baiter, November 25). They would have us believe that ChÃ¡vez is undemocratic. The truth is that since 1998 ChÃ¡vez has been elected directly twice and also survived a California-style "recall" election.
The ChÃ¡vez government actually brought in the new constitution which allowed the recall referendum (a constitution which itself was approved by referendum). And despite Tisdall's assertion that Washington no longer silences its critics in Latin America, ChÃ¡vez was temporarily removed by a violent coup d'etat in 2002. The coup was instantly recognised by the US as "a return to democracy", but the general public didn't agree and massive popular protest returned ChÃ¡vez to power. The US has since given asylum to the coup leaders.
Simon Tisdall quotes claims that "Venezuela's opposition parties and media had been browbeaten into impotent subservience". In reality, it would be hard to find another country in the world whose government has received such perpetually hostile coverage from its own media - Venezuela's five major private TV stations are all vociferously anti-ChÃ¡vez.
Offering discounted oil to the poor of Massachusetts or humanitarian aid to hurricane victims in New Orleans might be seen as Bush baiting by some. Alternatively, it could be seen as an extension of ChÃ¡vez's domestic policies of alleviating poverty, and improving healthcare and education. Given the choice between Bush's America and ChÃ¡vez's "Bolivarian revolution", I know what I'd chose.