VIO News Blog

November 4, 2008

President Chavez Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel in US-Venezuela Relations

As U.S. voters go to the polls today, AFP reports that President Chavez said he sees Barack Obama as “a small light on the horizon” for relations between the two countries. He predicted an Obama victory and said he looked forward to meeting him as “equals” and “with respect.” Chavez is often cast as an “anti-U.S.” figure in the media, which often passes over the context of aggression against Venezuela by the Bush administration.

Franklin Duran will appeal the guilty verdict he received yesterday from a jury in Miami, which propped up FBI allegations that Duran acted as an unregistered foreign agent. The AP reports that Duran’s lawyer contends that his client was entrapped by the FBI, and called the trial “a political circus” created by the U.S. government to discredit the Chavez government. According to the Miami Herald, Duran’s rep said, “We’re going to keep this fight up.”

If indeed the Miami trial is as politicized as some experts suggest, a Wall Street Journal editorial today provides the fruits of the FBI’s agenda. The Journal claims the trial shows President Chavez is a “danger to democracy” in the region. This is despite the fact that Venezuela has seen a democratic revival during Chavez’s two terms in office. The editorial also suggests that the Venezuelan leader funded the electoral victories of leaders in Argentina and elsewhere, an analysis that amounts to little more than a baseless conspiracy theory. Like many other new elected leaders in Latin America in recent years, Argentina’s Fernandez was legitimately popular, and would not have needed aid.

Finally, ahead of regional elections in Venezuela on November 23rd, Reuters provides a particularly flimsy report on the political scene there. Repeating  Chavez’s claim last week that he would seek to jail an opposition mayor aligned with those who staged a coup in 2002, Reuters wrongly states that campaigns for Venezuela’s ruling party revolve only around a “common enemy.” To make this suggestion, government policies are taken out of context.

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