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Elections Au Venezuela

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Comme vous le savez, les élections vénézueliennes auront lieu dimanche.

Je suis tombé sur un fort intéressant article d'Open Democracy. Lecture indispensable à plus d'un titre: OD est un site plutôt de gauche, mais l'auteur de l'article ne fait pas dans l'adulation Chaviste, bien au contraire. Phil Gunson, acien correspondant pour le Guardian, établit à Caracas, fait le tour des mensonges de la propagande répandue dans la presse occidentale par les amis de Chavez. Vraiment édifiant. On notera que Gunson est qualifié par le pouvoir de conspirateur au service du grand Satan…


Deux passages ci-dessous, mais lisez l'article - il est long, mais vous ne perdrez pas votre temps.

Equally disturbing is the way certain myths about the country and its recent history have become so firmly embedded in what passes for the international "debate" on the subject that they are no longer questioned, merely reiterated, by people with no direct stake in the outcome.

I am not speaking here of opinions but of matters of verifiable fact: statements which, if not demonstrably false, are at the very least unsupported by the available evidence, and whose repetition divides us by convincing each side of the bad faith of the other.

Some of these myths are spread by the right. "Chávez gives aid to the Colombian guerrillas", for instance; or "Venezuela is supplying uranium for Iran's nuclear programme".

But much of the responsibility lies with those foreign writers and journalists who have openly sided with the government of Hugo Chávez, whilst regularly blasting his critics for their alleged bias, or worse.

They argue that Chávez must be given credit - and even imitated - for his "revolutionary" programme on behalf of the poor. Yet their unwillingness to analyse the evidence with intellectual honesty is of little service to the masses they claim to sympathise with.

Those who dissent are deemed to do so because they favour inequality, despise the poor and sympathise with United States foreign policy. The possibility that one might hold none of these positions, and yet still disagree with Chávez's methods, is ruled out.

For the most part, the process begins with an uncritical acceptance of the "facts" provided by the side with which one is inclined to sympathise. There can hardly be a journalist in the world who has not fallen into this particular trap more than once. Some stories are, as the shamefaced journalistic adage has it, "too good to check".

But there is a difference between this kind of professional lapse and the construction of an entire edifice built of half-truths and outright falsehoods, followed by the dismissal of anyone who argues otherwise as a pawn of "the imperialist media" (or, if the boot is on the other foot, of "Castro-communism"), and an assumption of unassailable moral superiority.

From insult to argument

The standard pro-Chávez argument in the international "solidarity" community goes something like this:

▪ before Chávez came along, Venezuela was a dictatorship, run by a tiny minority of white, racist oligarchs for the benefit of themselves and the United States

▪ 80% of the population were poor and non-white. They had never seen any benefits from the country's oil wealth: education, health and welfare services were not available to them

▪ Chávez, the country's first truly democratic president, has distributed wealth to the poor and his government has been legitimised over and over again in free elections, within the framework of a functioning set of independent branches of government

▪ Chávez is merely trying to introduce a version of "European social democracy", and has never repressed the opposition; yet the opposition has repeatedly tried to overthrow him, with the financial and logistical backing of the US, which wants to recover control of Venezuela's oil industry.

This caricature - plausible enough if you are in an armchair thousands of miles away - is repeated over and over again by foreign propagandists, some of whom are merely ignorant (and often uninterested in an impartial consideration of the facts), while others know better but find it convenient to parrot the government line.

Anyone who dares to dissent is labelled a racist "neo-con" with a hidden agenda, allied to the Venezuelan "oligarchy" and probably paid by Washington.

This intolerant attitude has the effect of stifling the debate as to whether chavismo really is the best the left has to offer Latin America, and the world in general, in the face of the challenges of the 21st century.

That debate, which is an important one, will not be conducted by hurling insults - the weapon of those who have no arguments - but by coolly appraising the facts and exchanging ideas with others who, whilst they may hold different views, are equally willing to set aside prejudices and foster a civilised discussion.

En complément, le billet de Lucilio:


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