Venezuelans welcome good
news. They pray for Chavez's full recovery. News from Havana is encouraging.
On January 14, The Havana Times headlined "Chavez Is Improving," saying:
His respiratory infection is controlled. On national radio and television,
Vice President Nicolas Maduro presented a communique, saying:
"Despite his poor health after complex surgery this past December 11,
his overall clinical evolution has been favorable over the last several
"The president continues to strictly comply with his medical treatment.
The respiratory infection is controlled, although the commander-president
still requires specific measures for addressing his insufficient breathing."
"The president is aware and in contact with his family, his political
team and with the attending team of physicians in order to keep abreast
of relevant information."
"On the eve of the celebration of the “Divina Pastora” procession, the
Bolivarian Government of Venezuela invites Venezuelan families to join
in prayer to the patron saint of Barquisimeto to fill our country with
peace and happiness."
"Long live Chavez!"
False rumors circulate. Chavez's brother, Adan, refuted them. He's making
steady progress. He's not in a coma. Saying so is false.
"The head of state continues to respond well to the treatment and his
recovery is advancing every day, said Adan."
"We are sure that with the support of God, science and our people, the
president will come out on top in this new battle."
"The reports circulating on social networks and other media that the president
is in a coma and the family is discussing the supposed disconnection of
life-support equipment are totally false."
Maduro was in Havana. He arrived with National Assembly President Diosdado
Cabello, Oil Ministry head Rafael Ramirez, and Attorney General Cilia
Argentina's President Christina Kirchner and Peru's Ollanta Humalta came
on January 11. It was mainly on official business.
Chavez's health provided another reason. It's unclear if either leader
saw him. He's very much on their minds.
Over the weekend, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)
and Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) met.
GPP is a broad front. It was created in 2011. It's an alliance of popular
organizations and political parties. They advance social justice. They
support Chavez and Bolivarianism.
On January 10, they rallied throughout Venezuela supportively. Tens of
thousands joined them. So did representatives from 27 regional countries.
They reacted against right-wing opposition.
Days earlier, they called for massive street protests. They deny the legality
of postponing Chavez's inauguration. Constitutional law is clear. Venezuela's
Supreme Court affirmed it.
It ruled unanimously for postponement. A later date will be scheduled.
High Court magistrates will administer swearing-in when it's held.
Chavez was democratically reelected. Popular sentiment chose him. The
Organization of American States (OAS) concurs.
Secretary-general Jose Miguel Insulza said the body "fully respects the
decision taken by the constitutional powers in Venezuela."
"This issue has now been resolved by the three powers of the Venezuelan
state (executive, legislative and judicial).
"They have chosen a way that gives time for the situation (with regard
to Chavez’s health) to become clear."
It "allows a waiting period for the president elect to return and be sworn-in."
Democracies work that way. Popular sentiment matters most. Venezuelans
won't tolerate less.
Opposition elements have other ideas. They called for a January 23 "massive
demonstration of force."
They urged supporters to join "this civic, peaceful and democratic struggle,
principally inside our country, as well as bringing the denouncement of
the violation of our constitution and its democratic principles to the
Dark forces never quit. Washington provides support. Chavistas stand tall
against them. They won't tolerate subverting democratic freedoms.
Chavez has overwhelming popular support. It comes out often supportively.
It's there when needed. Public sentiment won't be denied.
Washington and opposition Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) leaders
want Venezuela returned to its ugly past. So do media scoundrels.
Chavez's health is exploited. Bolivarianism is challenged. Constitutional
law is twisted. Venezuelan print and broadcast media are predominantly
private. They're some of the worst anywhere.
Corporate television is especially hostile. It has a 95% market reach.
Anti-Chavez programming is featured. Dark forces are defiant and undeterred.
They take advantage of Venezuela's Social Responsibility Law.
It expanded on Venezuela's 2004 Law of Social Responsibility for Radio
and Television (LSR).
It affirms free expression without censorship. It promotes responsible
programming. It respects civil and human rights. It advances cultural
values. It encourages active citizen participation.
It tolerates dissent. It enforces acceptable media standards. Violators
face fines. Promoting coups, war, public disorder, crime, or other socially
disruptive acts may bring temporary or longer-term license suspensions.
Venezuela's media scoundrels usually approach the line without crossing
it. In America they'd face sedition or treason charges.
US law Section 2384, Title 18 defines seditious conspiracy as follows:
"If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to overthrow,
put down, or to destroy by force the (elected) Government of the United
States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority
thereof, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United
States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under
this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."
Constitutional law goes further. Article 3, Section 3 defines treason
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War
against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
Guilty parties potentially face capital punishment. Courts have jurisdiction
Venezuela's dominant media exceed the worst of America's. They take full
advantage of Venezuelan law. They come close to inciting insurrection
They compromise national security. They get away with what's impossible
in America. They'd face sedition charges or worse if tried.
When Venezuelan media cross the line they're challenged. Responsible
societies enforce legitimate standards. Venezuela is perhaps most lenient.
Media scoundrels take full advantage.
Globovision is one of the worst. It's a repeat offender. It's been fined
but not suspended. In America and most other societies, it would be shut
down or worse.
It's hostile and manipulative. It's unabashedly right-wing. It's a platform
for subversion. It spurns journalistic standards. It participated in the
aborted April 2002 coup.
It's not alone. Other dominant broadcasters do their share. So do privately
owned print media. They make America's almost look respectable. Venezuela's
government tolerates them. It elevates freedom to a higher level.
On January 10, Venezuelan corporate print and broadcast media reacted
angrily to Venezuela's High Court decision. They turned truth on its head.
They called delaying Chavez's inauguration a "coup d'etat."
They've featured hostile anti-government programming. They claim ruling
United Social Unity Party (PSUV) leaders engaged in a "power grab."
The National Commission of Telecommunications (Conatel) investigated Globovision.
At issue is violating Social Responsibility Law's Article 31.
It states "television and radio media cannot transmit elements that seek
to create agitation among the population, alter the public order, attack
the stability of the democratic system and the legitimate authorities,
or seek to generate hate or intolerance for religious or political reasons."
Globovision's programming bent the rules. It falsely accused Venezuela's
government of violating constitutional law. Conatel ordered it to cease
and desist. Fines and/or sanctions may follow.
Director Pedro Maldonado said the channel manipulated information illegally.
Doing so "generates anxiety in the citizenry and disturbs public order."
Globovision is a repeat offender. It's a hostile force. It mocks legitimate
media. It's an embarrassment to free expression. It gets away with what
most free societies won't tolerate.
MUD leaders are no better. They called Venezuela's High Court ruling "prefabricated"
and "a huge lie." Opposition spokesperson Vestalia Sampedro said "The
decision allows our country to be governed by people who have not been
MUD presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said the ruling "doesn't
clear up the uncertainty. This is a government full of liars."
"Venezuela's Supreme Court has decided to resolve this problem for the
government. (It) respond(ed) to the interests of a political party."
Capriles initially accepted the High Court decision. It conforms fully
with constitutional law. Capriles is a right-wing ideologue. He deplores
social justice. He spurns rule of law principles.
It remains to be seen what he and likeminded hardliners have in mind ahead.
Washington provides generous support.
US officials targeted Chavez for years. They want him ousted or dead.
They want subservient puppet leadership replacing him.
El Universal is a prominent opposition broadsheet. It called the Court
decision "the worst crisis in the history of the republic."
Venezuela is a hornet's nest of virulent right-wing opposition elements.
The power of popular sentiment stands resolutely against them.
They've prevailed for 14 years. They've been counted out before.
Like the mythical Lazarus, they're resolute in better than ever form.
They're committed to preserving Bolivarianism. It's institutionalized
in Venezuelan culture. Chavistas won't tolerate sacrificing what's vital
They've got help. MercoPress said "Presidents, Foreign ministers and representatives
from 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries stamped their signatures
to a (Caracas) declaration stating their commitment in support of Venezuela
and its institutions in the international stage."
They're collaborating in "international spaces." They're challenging efforts
to capitalize on Chavez's health. They oppose "pretext(s) to attack the
democratic institutions of Venezuela."
They're firm against efforts "to destabilize and promote interventionism
in affairs on which the Venezuelan people (have) clearly expressed (themselves)."
Ecuador Rafael Correa expressed popular sentiment, saying:
"Lest there be no mistake from the enemies of democracy, the constitution,
peace and development in Venezuela."
"In our America and with the peoples of the world, we will remain in solidarity
with Venezuela and her democratic decision."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
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