Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stirring the Venezuela Pot

On All Things Considered yesterday, May 15th, in a piece by Michele Kelemen, NPR uses a tactic that is very subtle and effective. In a report on the State Dept. improving relations with Libya they also cover the move by the Bush administration to place and embargo on weapon sales to Venezuela. Covering the two stories together seems fair enough. Then they pull their fast one. In discussing Venezuela they interview Professor Richard Feinberg who says the following regarding Venezuela, "the [Bush] administration has generally been restrained in the face of Chavez's purposeful provocations and constant name calling." Later he describes Hugo Chavez's "incessant claims that the US is destabilizing" his government. Bush administration restrained? Provocations? Incessant? These comments serve to bury the recent history of the US in Latin America--some of it very recent (the US supported attempted coup against Chavez in April of 2002). Feinberg is in fact a champion of so-called "free-trade" and has worked for the State Department. He's not the worst "expert" NPR could have found, but once again he nicely buries the long, bloody, and disgraceful history of US foreign policy in Latin America and twists Chavez's accusations and truths into nothing more than "provocations" and "name-calling."

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