"Ironically, the only time in Venezuela that a TV channel was taken off air, constitutional rights suspended, and journalists arrested and assaulted since Chavez’s 1998 election was during the two days when he was removed from power in a short-lived coup in April 2002."
"While it “condemns” some of the attacks on freedom of speech, it has little to say about the coup regime itself.
This is because, for the IAPA, there was no coup.
Its July 14 statement said the democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was simply “stood down” — not kidnapped and dumped in a different country by balaclava-clad soldiers."
Honduras: Anti-Chavez ‘free speech’ warriors linked to coup
July 21st 2009, by Federico Fuentes - Green Left Weekly
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) is well known for its mission to expose the Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez as a threat to free speech “all over the continent”.
These brave free speech warriors made a big deal this year about how they “dared” to hold a meeting in the Venezuelan capital, “defying” the repression of Chavez’s “dictatorial” regime.
It turns out that the IAPA has found little to condemn in regards to the dictatorship that has installed itself by military force in Honduras.
This regime has closed many media outlets, threatened and detained journalists, suspended constitutional rights, imposed nation-wide curfews and expelled the broadcasting teams of Latin America-wide station Telesur and Venezuelan state TV channel VTV from Honduras at gunpoint.
While it “condemns” some of the attacks on freedom of speech, it has ittle to say about the coup regime itself.
This is because, for the IAPA, there was no coup.
Its July 14 statement said the democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was simply “stood down” — not kidnapped and dumped in a different country by balaclava-clad soldiers.
And if anyone can recognise a dictatorship, it is the IAPA. After all, as it points out, the IAPA has been fighting off dictatorships “for a long time” — in the form of the Chavez administration.
Ironically, the only time in Venezuela that a TV channel was taken off air, constitutional rights suspended, and journalists arrested and assaulted since Chavez’s 1998 election was during the two days when he was removed from power in a short-lived coup in April 2002.
Rather than wait for the IAPA freedom fighters to save them, the Venezuelan people took to the streets, and together with most of the military, defeated the coup regime and restored Chavez to office.
So why are these free speech crusaders so soft on the coup regime in Honduras?
Probably because IAPA representatives in Honduras have been central to the coup.
For instance, Roberto Micheletti, who was installed by the coup as de facto president, is the owner of various companies, including the newspaper La Tribuna.
One of his associates at the newspaper is Edgardo Dumas Rodriguez, a Honduran representative to the IAPA.
Then there is Jorge Canahuati. Two of the most pro-coup newspapers are La Prensa and El Heraldo. Together, they control 80% of newspaper circulation.
Both are majority owned by Canahuati, also president of the IAPA international commission.
So it is no surprise that Dumas Rodriguez told Venezuelan newspaper El Universal on July 5 that “no military coup has occurred” in Honduras.
Not that he is unconcerned with democracy. Dumas Rodriguez said he had information of a lawsuit being filed against a threat to Honduran sovereignty — not his friend and military-installed dictator Micheletti, but Chavez “for the crimes he has committed by intervening in the internal affairs of Honduras and for threatening to overthrow the existing government”!
For this free speech crusader, the real criminal is Chavez and not the coup plotters that overthrew an elected government and suspended all democratic rights — including free speech.
Asked why the IAPA was not criticising Honduran media outlets openly supporting a regime that crushes free speech, IAPA president Enrique Santos said on July 4 that while there may “possibly be newspapers that have been partisans of the change of government”, this was no reason for IAPA to “tell them what to think ... IAPA is not a monolithic organisation, where all partners have to have the same political criteria.”
Within the broad church that is IAPA, fascist coup plotters are more than welcome.
Keep this practice in mind next time the IAPA issues a blistering denunciation of the Venezuelan “dictatorship” — which has closed not one media outlet and where the large majority of the media are vehemently anti-government.
Venezuela Reviews Relations with Colombia as More US Bases Established
July 21st 2009, by Kiraz Janicke
Chavez announces revision of Venezuela-Colombia relations (Prensa Presidencial)
Caracas, June 21, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Monday night that bilateral relations with neighbouring Colombia are being fully reviewed following the decision by Colombia to allow the United States to use five military bases in its territory. A high-level bilateral meeting of the Colombia-Venezuela Commission, which was set to meet Tuesday July 21st, was also suspended.
Chavez said he had instructed Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro to conduct a full review of bilateral relations, including diplomatic relations because Colombia's decision represents a threat to Venezuela.
"We very much regret the situation, but we have to review relations with the government of Colombia because they are opening the doors to those who attack us constantly, to those who are preparing new attacks and who have overthrown governments and are supporting the coup in Honduras - the State Department and the Southern Command," said the Venezuelan head of state.
The new military accord between the US and Colombia comes as the US has been forced to pull out of its Manta military base in Ecuador, after the government of Rafael Correa refused to renew an agreement allowing US military personnel to operate there.
The full details of the agreement have not been released, but in early July, Colombian magazine Cambio reported that in the framework of increased "cooperation" between Colombia and United States, the US will begin to operate in five Colombian military bases in Palanquero (center), Alberto Pouwels (north), Apiay (south), and two Navy facilities: in Cartagena de Indias, on the Caribbean coast and Malaga on the Pacific coast.
The central point of operations will Palanquero, a base located between the departments of Caldas and Cundinamarca, which has capacity for 60 aircraft and a runway of 3,500 meters and where the take off and landing of three aircraft can occur simultaneously, Cambio reported.
Colombian Defence Minister Gen. Freddy Padilla confirmed the information, but said there may be some changes.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe defended the decision on Monday saying it was justified by the fight against drug trafficking and guerrillas. Uribe said the United States will only have "limited access to military facilities in Colombia."
However, Senator Piedad Cordoba, from the opposition Liberal Party in Colombia, told the Venezuelan-based news channel, Telesur, on Saturday that it was "shameful" that Colombians had to find out about the decision through a magazine.
The proposal has not even been put to the Colombian parliament for debate, "the government has been making under the table agreements" so that the US can use Colombian military bases, she added.
Responding to Uribe, the senator argued that the Colombian government's "war on drugs" is a "total failure," and the agreement constitutes a "threat to the region."
Moreover, Cordoba declared, a clear majority of Colombians support a political and negotiated solution to the war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), not a policy of escalation "that jeopardises the safety of our neighbours."
"Fundamentally, it is very shameful because we are left as some servants of the empire, doing errands, acting as scabs, handing over territory and losing dignity," she emphasised.
In 2008 Venezuela and Colombia, a key US ally in the region, clashed over a cross-border attack by Colombian military forces on a FARC encampment in Ecuador. The attack was condemned by all Organisation of American States (OAS) member nations apart from the US and Colombia.
Former Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos justified the actions as "legitimate self-defence", saying Colombia would strike at "terrorists" wherever they are. However, Chavez countered that Colombia's actions were a "threat to peace in South America."
At the time Chavez charged that Colombia, acting as a US proxy, was carrying out a dress rehearsal for a possible future attack on Venezuela.
Other Latin American leaders have also raised concerns about the role of US military bases in the region.
During a ceremony to celebrate Bolivian Independence Day in La Paz on July 16th, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the US aims to install military bases in the region under the guise of the ‘war on drugs', but in reality trains military personnel to carry out coups, such as the coup in Honduras, that overthrew the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya on June 28.
"Those who accept them [US bases] are traitors to the Homeland...never again should [foreign] military bases exist in Latin America."
Ecuador's Defence Minister Javier Ponce also described an increased U.S. presence in neighbouring Colombia as "worrying."
This hemispheric awakening is being fostered by independent media artists/sources who you can easily follow. Some are:
Join this struggle for justice and true freedom. Our brothers and sisters across the Americas are doing their parts from conditions of extreme hardship and danger. Surely it is time for us to “step up” from here. We may be on the verge of an historic victory. Spread the news everywhere. jamie