Thursday, April 24, 2003

By Michael Rowan for El Universal 11 Feb 03

Many in the world media have made ten fundamental mistakes about the
Venezuelan story. These are:

One, Chavez is waging a revolution against poverty. It's all talk. Poverty has
increased by 20% or more in the last four years, and precisely because of
Chavez' policies.

Two, Chavez is out to eliminate corruption. Just the opposite is the fact. The
systemic incentives for corruption -- monopoly and secrecy -- have
skyrocketed under Chavez. Immense amounts of public spending are not
accounted for. The president has openly pledged to punish political enemies
through the [currency] exchange system - a virtual announcement of planned

Three, Chavez is fighting an oligarchy. Truth is, Chavez is the oligarchy.
Read the dictionary definition of the term.

Four, Chavez is president of all the people of Venezuela. No, he does not
govern to unify Venezuela but to divide it with class warfare. There are
millions of people the president does not represent and who he wants to drive
out of the country.

Five, Chavez is a democrat. No he is not. He was democratically elected, just
as Hitler was. But at heart he is an autocrat like Castro.

Six, there was a coup on April 11th waged by terrorists. False. There was a
coup on April 12th waged by a few dozen idiots who hijacked a genuine and
spontaneous public outrage by millions of peaceful demonstrators.

Seven, the media are leading the effort to remove Chavez from office. In fact,
the media are following the effort by millions of Venezuelans to do so. The
messenger is not the message. Take away the media, and the opposition to
Chavez would not diminish by one iota.

Eight, Chavez is the victim of racism - a small group of rich white men want
to cashier the dark-skinned president. This assertion is the height of cynicism.
If only people of color were to vote in an election, Chavez would lose.

Nine, PDVSA will recover from the attack on knowledge, technology, finance
and organizational culture it has been developing for 25 years. No it will not.
The PDVSA of 2002 is gone, whether it can recover is doubtful.

Ten, Chavez is a leftist like Lula of Brazil or Gutierrez of Ecuador. No he is
not. Like Castro, the president is obsessed with accumulating power, not
using it for any purpose on the left, center or right.

International journalists must not take the words of the most calculating spin-
doctor in Latin America literally. Look into the facts to find the truth.