Hugo and the Media Kings

Venezuelan dictator hugo chavez has had no trouble finding allies willing to trade their country’s democracy for green backs. Every dictator depends on greedy thugs as enforcers.
People form two factions: those who love and build and those who hate and destroy ~ José Martí
From this dualism are born heroes and villains. Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation rightfully points out that Fascism doesn’t triumph without help.
Excerpts from the NY Sun::

June 6, 2007 — On our TV screens in America, we see Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his army of thugs cracking down on the hundreds of thousands of students protesting the shutdown of the nation’s last truly independent TV station. Yet, inside the story of “the dictator vs. the forces of freedom,” is a tale of two Venezuelan media kings – one heroic, one craven.
The hero is RCTV’s director, Marcel Granier – who received no legal notice of the shutdown. He first learned of it when Chavez announced that RCTV would be punished for criticizing the government, for being “bourgeois” and for “coup plotting.” (As a final insult, the government two days before the shutdown produced a judge who ordered RCTV’s equipment seized and “loaned” to a new government station that has now replaced it.)
In response, Granier has risked his life and fortune for the sake of freedom of expression. He has kept his TV reporters working; they’re now broadcasting news segments on the student protests via YouTube, other Web sites and viral videos. The Congress’ vice president has called for his arrest for “destabilizing.”
Regime apologists will point to one other “independent” station, the privately held Venevision – which brings us to our media villain.
At first, Venevision did indeed harshly criticize Chavez. But in 2004 Chavez accused the station’s owner, New York-based Gustavo Cisneros, of being behind a plot to overthrow the government. After a private meeting between the two (attended by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter), Venevision changed course: Political commentary disappeared; opposition marches and statements by opposition leaders began getting short shrift; news became entirely rosy coverage of government activities.
How deep is the collusion between Cisneros and Chavez? Consider a December 2006 phone conversation between Cisneros’ senior deputy at Venevision, Carlos Bardasano, and Jesus Romero Anselmi, head of the government TV channel, Venezolana de Television. (The recording was posted anonymously on; “mirror sites” have defeated the regime’s attempts to suppress the record.) In the call, the executives agree that “together, we are unstoppable.” They also joke about how Venevision might undergo a name change to reflect government ownership.
Cisneros, a Fifth Avenue socialite, is a media giant. He’s on the board of Univision, the United States’ largest Latino broadcaster; his firm owns dozens of radio, TV and other telecom properties.
He’s also wont to attend media conferences in the United States, delivering speeches about the media’s duty to ensure that the public gets the information it needs and ensure government transparency. But back in Venezuela, Venevision executives have yet to even make a statement about the RCTV shutdown. Of course, Cisneros also stands to benefit enormously from the ad revenue that used to go to the rival channel.

Read the complete article here.

6 thoughts on “Hugo and the Media Kings”

  1. “People form two factions: those who love and build and those who hate and destroy ~ José Martí­”

    And the problem is, people assign Chavez to the former category when he’s really in the latter. This has been true about dictators and oligarchs through history; those enablers go to great lengths to maintain that illusion. Wretchard of Belmont Club has written about this twice, first here, using Paul Robeson and Stalin, and second here using John Pilger and Chavez, and his observations are excellent.

    I’ll never understand why people who consider themselves champions of the people will so willingly bind themselves to enemys of the same people they champion. And why they so willingly blind themselves to the depredations of those terrible men. I guess cognitive dissonance isn’t a phenomenon they’re experienced in.

  2. OAS, OAS, where are thou my OAS?
    In his June 3, 2007 speech at the inaugural session of the 37th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General, claimed to be very pleased that “Democracy was growing in the Americas.” He further affirmed that this democracy is “reflected in the development and consolidation of democracy, hemispheric security, economic growth and the struggle against poverty.”
    We all know Mr. Insulza is from the radical LEFT so he doesn’t see the closing of RCTV by chavez as an attack on Democracy and freedom of speech. In June 6, 2007 Mr. Insulza, stated that “he will not press Venezuela to approve a mission to study questions” about Venezuela’s media freedom. Well… It is no big secret that Venezuela’s vote, in the 2005 elections of the Secretary General of the OAS, was very important in breaking the tie between Mexico’s Luis Ernesto Derbez and Chile’s José Miguel Insulza. Not to mention all the lobbying chavez government did on Insulza’s behalf. I wonder how many promises he made and how much money he handed out. Soooo… Mr. Insulza is indebted to chavez BIG time. Let’s see how all this pans out.

  3. Firefly , You’re right. Why isn’t the OAS doing its job? Venezuela should be booted out. I’m not up on Chilean politics but I think I read somewhere that Insulza also has political ambitions back home. Anti-Americanism is always popular. Perhaps he believes his alliances will help him win an election and no one will remember or care about his OAS record.

  4. Many of us know the dismal record of the OAS, specifically with Cuba. They found it much easier to “wash their hands” and expell Cuba from the organization rather than deal with it like real men. They, like the MSM and others, refuse (or are unable)to grow a pair.
    It is dissaponting to know that some people in powerful positions make deals with the “devil” at the expense of their countrymen. Mr. Cisneros, I’m ashamed to say, is of Cuban descent.

  5. Yes, Cisneros sold out and chose to deal with the devil, which will end up as badly as such deals always do. If he’s of Cuban extraction, that obviously makes him look even worse. Unfortunately, being Cuban does not prevent someone from being greedy, amoral and stupid. If there hadn’t been enough bad Cubans, there would never have been a need fo a blog like this one. Same goes for Venezuela, only more so, because Chavez was always much easier to figure out than Castro was at the beginning.
    As for Jimmy Carter, I don’t know what the hell he was doing acting as go-between in the Chavez-Cisneros deal. On the face of it it makes no sense, but who knows what was really involved. Regardless, it was at best another instance of Carter’s apparent compulsion to be a big-league player. He’s so desperate to remain “important” that it would be downright comical if it weren’t for the fact he can do serious harm, as he has certainly done to Venezuela.
    If Chavez gets to continue on his current course, Cisneros will wind up like the Cuban tycoons who initially thought they could negotiate with castro and even use him to their advantagee. It did NOT work out that way.

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