Don't believe everything you read in the papers about Venezuela
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Contrary to the reports of a spoonfed western press, Hugo Chavez was not unpopular and did not resign, says Greg Palast
Here's what we read this week: On Friday, Hugo Chavez, the unpopular, dictatorial potentate of Venezuela, resigned. When confronted over his ordering the shooting of antigovernment protestors, he turned over the presidency to progressive, democratic forces, namely, the military and the chief of Venezuela's business council.
Two things about the story caught my eye: First, every one of these factoids is dead wrong. And second, newspapers throughout the ruling hemisphere, from the New York Times to the Independent to (wince) the Guardian, used almost identical words - "dictatorial", "unpopular", "resignation" - in their reports.
Let's begin with the faux "resignation" that allowed the Bush and Blair governments to fall over their own feet rushing towards recognition of the coup leaders. I had seen no statement of this alleged resignation, nor heard it, nor received any reliable witness report of it. I was fascinated. In January, I had broadcast on US radio that Chavez would face a coup by the end of April. But resign? That was not the Chavez style. MORE