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Good News about Free Speech in Venezuela.

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by glynch, May 30, 2009.

  1. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

    Dec 1, 2000
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    An international conference of think tanks and intellectuals many funded by US conservatives, the US government and multinational corporations hostile to Chavez is meeting in Venezuela to discuss how to thwart the changes Chavez and progressives have been making in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Chavez offers them a prominent forum to debate representatives of the left.
    Latin America’s Pro-Capitalist Elite Hold Anti-Chávez Conference in Venezuela

    May 29th 2009, by James Suggett – Venezuelanalysis.com
    Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa at the CEDICE conference in Caracas (El Nacional) Mérida, May 29th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Hundreds of right-wing political leaders and representatives of pro-capitalist think tanks from across the world gathered in Venezuela's luxurious Caracas Palace Hotel this week for an exclusive event titled "International Conference for Freedom and Democracy: The Latin American Challenge."

    A major theme of the conference was how to put an end to the political changes been carried out by President Hugo Chávez and a wave of other progressive presidents who have been elected across the region over the past ten years.

    Peruvian author and former Peruvian presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the high profile keynote speakers at the event, framed the Chávez government as the chief obstacle to the progress of capitalist free markets in the region.

    "The path of progress is not the path of collectivism, it is not the path of state-ism, it is not the path of social property," said Vargas Llosa, referring to new forms of social property that the Chávez government has promoted to co-exist with private property, which remains protected by the Venezuelan Constitution. "Property is individual and private or it is not property," said the author.

    Vargas proceeded to encourage the wealthy and powerful conference attendees to impede the Chávez administration's progressive policies, which have been approved by a decisive majority of Venezuelans in more than a dozen democratic elections. "If this path is not interrupted, Venezuela will be converted into the second Cuba of Latin America," said Vargas Llosa. "We should not permit it. That is why we are here."

    In response to Vargas Llosa's accusations that Chávez shows a "growing fear of all forms of criticism," President Chávez invited the conference participants to hold a debate with international advocates of socialism on his weekly presidential talk show, Aló Presidente.

    "I say this very seriously... since there is no freedom of expression here, we are inviting them to a debate," said Chávez on Thursday. "How great it would be to have a special Aló Presidente; invite the Right and the socialists, and I will sit among the public audience and leave you all to debate."

    Vargas and the other participants in the conference accepted the invitation on the condition that President Chávez participate. Chavez said the debate should remain between intellectuals of the Right and Left, and said the debate could take place on Saturday morning at 11 o'clock in the Miraflores presidential building.

    The conference was hosted by the Center for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge for Freedom (CEDICE), a pro-capitalist think tank founded a quarter century ago in Venezuela that has received funding from the U.S. government's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    Right-wing think tanks from across the world, many of them funded by the U.S. government and large multinational corporations, also sent representatives to this week's gathering in Caracas. Some of those include Vargas's own International Foundation for Freedom, the German Konrad Adenaeur Foundation, Spain-based Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis, the Argentine Freedom Institute, and the U.S.-based Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the libertarian Cato Institute, and the International Republican Institute.

    Regional political leaders who attended the conference included the former president of Bolivia, Jorge Quiroga, who lost to Bolivia's first ever indigenous president Evo Morales in the 2005 elections, El Salvador's ex-President Francisco Flores from the conservative ARENA party, former Mexican Foreign Relations Minister Jorge Castañeda, the president of the Bolivian Senate and supporter of the violent separatists in eastern Bolivia, Óscar Ortiz, and other right-wing politicians from across the region.

    A company of Venezuelan opposition leaders, all of whom joined Venezuela's business elite to foment a two-day coup d'etat and general strike aimed at ousting the democratically elected President Chávez in 2002 and 2003, attended the conference. These included CEDICE President Rafael Alfonzo, the former mayor of the wealthy Chacao district of Caracas, Leopoldo López, Mayor of Metropolitan Caracas Antonio Ledezma, the founder of the U.S.-funded Venezuelan group Súmate, María Corina Machado, and the media mogul Marcel Granier.

    At the conference, Mayor Ledezma said the Chávez government has become a dictatorship since 55% of Venezuelan voters approved a constitutional amendment to abolish term limits on elected offices in February. "After the February 15th re-election referendum, Venezuela went from being a semi-democracy or semi-dictatorship to being a dictatorship, pure and simple," said Ledezma.

    Two street marches, one socialist and the other anti-Chávez, took place simultaneously with the CEDICE conference. On Wednesday, which was the two year anniversary of the expiration of the twenty-year public broadcasting license of a prominent opposition television station, RCTV, approximately 2,000 people marched in support of the renewal of RCTV's license. The license had not been renewed because RCTV supported the 2002 coup against Chávez and had repeatedly violated laws on social responsibility in the media.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of Chávez supporters gathered outside the Caracas Palace Hotel to protest the CEDICE conference by performing impromptu theatre, clown acts, and parodies of the anti-Chávez nightly news shows that distort information and incite violence against the president.

    The CEDICE conference also corresponded with this week's inauguration of a new youth political training center outside of Caracas created by CEDICE in partnership with the Cato Institute. The Cato-CEDICE school has received support from the Future Present Foundation, which was founded by Yon Goicoechea, the leader of violent anti-Chávez destabilization riots who received a $500,000 "freedom" award from the Cato Institute last year.

    The Cato Institute, a fierce opponent of Chávez, espouses a libertarian free market philosophy, supports the privatization of social security, and is opposed to environmental regulations to halt global warming.

  2. conquistador#11

    Jun 30, 2006
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    Chavez is so witty. And most of the things he says are true, that's why the right wing politicians detest him with so much passion.

    The only things I ask from chavez are......

    Who are we kidding? The commander look is so 60s and it gives the right wing more fuel.

    2. Fire sean penn. We all know it's george clooney who directs the best politically inspired films.
  3. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

    Nov 14, 2001
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    Yeah, and when Globovision gets shut down, what will that mean for free speech?
  4. Major

    Major Member

    Jun 28, 1999
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    Huh? :confused: Was the US a dictatorship until the 1940's since we didn't have Presidential term limits? Venezuela may or may not be a functional dictatorship, but the Feb 15 referendum had nothing to do with that. Either the vote was fair and free, meaning the people chose to allow it, or it wasn't and the result was engineered by Chavez. If it's the former, then they are still a Democracy, though one with socialist leadership. If it's the latter, then they were already a dictatorship before the vote.
  5. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

    May 20, 2002
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    Not a dictatorship so much as a plutowaspocracy. But if the people hated you enough, even if they couldn't vote, you were out. See "Adams, John and John Quincy" and "Van Buren, Martin."
  6. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

    Dec 1, 2000
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    You are speaking to the choir on this one. International observers who are not funded by the CIA or the right have found the elections to be pretty fraud free. Perhaps as good or better than Dubya's two elections.
  7. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    Still trying to pretend that Chavez isn't setting himself up to rule Venezuela for life and insuring any opposition is powerless to stop him? He's well on his way, in my opinion. Without freedom of the press and all media, dissent has no voice. Democracy is made a mockery. Those on the Left who continue to fantasize about the "inherent goodness of Chavez and his support for democracy" are living the fantasy to its fullest. His actions put the lie to any pretense that his regime isn't simply one man rule. And what do you call one man rule? Not a democracy, that's for certain.

    Read it and weep:


    Venezuelan minister: More radio closures coming

    Story Highlights

    Venezuela says 29 more radio stations to be closed; 32 already shut down

    Minister also announces new charges against TV station critical of president

    Critics say President Hugo Chavez' government is trying to silence press criticism

    Announcements come at pro-Chavez rally, countering anti-Chavez rallies on Friday

    (CNN) -- The Venezuelan government initiated a new charge against a private television broadcaster and said that 29 additional radio stations would soon be closed, the latest move in what critics call a crackdown on freedom of expression.

    The Saturday announcement by Minister of Public Works and Housing Diosdado Cabello, who oversees the state telecommunications regulator, came at a counter-rally to marches protesting the hardline tactics of President Hugo Chavez.

    Friday's marches against Chavez were in part to protest the government's closure of 32 radio stations and two television broadcasters last month. The government said the stations were shut down for violations relating to their broadcast licenses. Critics say the president was clamping down on critical press.

    "There are 29 [radio stations] that will be off the air shortly," Cabello said at Saturday's pro-Chavez rally.

    Cabello also announced a new legal complaint against television broadcaster Globovision as a sanction for allegedly calling for a coup against Chavez during its coverage of Friday's rallies.

    Globovision carried text messages from viewers on a ticker on the bottom of the screen during the anti-Chavez protests that called for an overthrow of the government, Cabello said.

    "If you call for a coup, if you call for assassination, assume your responsibility," he said.

    The government has already initiated a number of charges against Globovision. The station, known for being critical of Chavez, is being investigated for breaking a law on "social responsibility" on some programs on certain dates. The station violated a statute that makes it illegal to utilize telecommunication channels to further criminal acts, the government alleges.

    Venezuelan authorities had also opened an investigation into whether Globovision broke the law May 4 when it reported about an earthquake before an official report had been issued on the matter.

    Two other investigations had previously been launched against the station.

    The relationship between privately-owned media in Venezuela and the leftist Chavez have never been rosy. Chavez has accused private television stations of supporting his brief ouster in 2002, and the president was a driving force behind denying a license renewal in 2007 to one broadcaster he said cooperated with the opposition.

  8. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

    Nov 8, 2002
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    When you have to post a link "proving" that free speech is safe in Venezuela, then it probably isn't safe.

    When Chavez "offers" a forum for free speech, he probably isn't a big fan of free speech.
  9. Ari

    Ari Member

    Nov 16, 2008
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    When will everyone cut the "capitalism versus socialism" crap and come to an agreement that too much of either one is a disaster? A mixed system is undoubtedly the best way to go. The bottom line is capitalism cannot survive without some socialism and too much socialism would make everyone poor. I am thinking an American-like system + universal health care is probably the best balance of both (Would that be Switzerland?)

    Can we at least agree on that?
  10. rudan

    rudan Member

    Jun 30, 2006
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    I agree but not with the universal health care part. The USA pretty much has a mixed system now, it might lean towards capitalism but its still the best economical system in the world. Much better than Venezuala of course :)
  11. Refman

    Refman Contributing Member

    Mar 31, 2002
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    I doubt that. Information is the key. If the voice of dissent is squelched, you don't need fraud or force to get Chavez re-elected.

    People just don't know what is going on well enough to vote against him.

    Somehow that is to be considered fair and free? Odd.

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