VIO News Blog

October 24, 2008

“The Real Venezuela” Initiative Will Help Combat Media Terrorism

Venezuela’s Minister of Information and Communications, Andres Izarra, has announced a new initiative called “Venezuela de Verdad” (The Real Venezuela) to combat what he called “media terrorism,” according to the Caracas newspaper El Universal. Izarra spoke out against the “campaign of lies and manipulation” that he said prevents the country’s positive aspects from being known. Venezuela’s opposition-controlled media played an important role in the 2002 coup against Chavez.

Venezuelan officials have rejected as “interference” a resolution by the European Parliament condemning a measure that prevents hundreds of candidates, mostly from opposition parties, from running in regional elections due to pending corruption charges. The AP reports that Venezuela’s comptroller general explained, “It’s not a violation of human rights, it’s a measure against corruption.” Venezuela’s Vice Minister for Europe said that the vote was an inappropriate initiative spearheaded by Europe’s right-wing and stated: “With this resolution, the MEP’s have supported corruption.”

The “suitcasegate” trial is finishing up in Florida, according to the Washington Post and Miami Herald. Proceedings have consistently favored the prosecution, which claims Venezuelan businessman Franklin Duran operated as an unregistered foreign agent. The trial, though, has focused on allegations of corruption within the Chavez administration. “It’s shocking that a man who committed a crime in Argentina becomes a protected witness in Miami to make all kinds of accusations against the Venezuelan government,” said former Venezuelan Ambassador to the US Bernardo Alvarez.

In other international news, Russia is speaking out against US sanctions imposed yesterday on its state arms trader and other firms abroad including the Venezuelan Military Industries Company. This comes a day after US Treasury sanctions against an Iranian bank and its alleged affiliates, including a Venezuelan institution. The AP reports that the Bush administration also moved to press trade sanctions against Bolivia, alleging against all evidence that the country has failed to fight drug trafficking. Meanwhile, China has joined the Inter-American Development Bank in a move that may increase its presence in Latin America, the Los Angeles Times reports.

OPEC member states meet today and are expected to cut oil production in response to lagging demand in the US and globally. The AP reports that Venezuela supports the cut, along with Iran and other nations.

Finally, El Universal reports that President Chavez said that Venezuela would survive a drop in oil prices to $55 per barrel: “you can rest assured that Venezuela will not be affected by the economic crisis, because we can take any necessary steps to save money or to adopt austerity measures.”

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