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Chavez Walks the Red Carpet With Stone in Venice

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Posted on Sep 7, 2009
Chavez and Stone
AP / Andrew Medichini

President Hugo Chavez, right, of Venezuela salutes the crowd as he arrives with U.S. director Oliver Stone for the screening of the film “South of the Border” at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival.

Oliver Stone made quite a dramatic entrance at the Venice Film Festival on Monday for the premiere of his documentary, “South of the Border”—the director was joined on the red carpet by none other than Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, the subject of his film.  —KA


Before Mr Chavez arrived in Venice from Turkmenistan, Stone defended [...] the controversial Latin American leader [at] a press conference to launch the documentary film.

“Chavez was elected by popular vote in no fewer than 12 different elections. And Venezuela has seen a clear economic improvement with him,” Stone said.

He added that “South of the Border” was an attempt to combat western views that many Latin American countries were not democratic.

The documentary, he said, was meant “to combat the level of stupidity of the press”.

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By diamond, September 10, 2009 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

James D. what part of ‘They tried to kill him’ don’t you get? You can’t give these insane, murderous fools a platform because they don’t respect democracy or anything else. Chavez has done nothing to these people. They are still disgustingly rich and able to fly back and forth to Miami doing their deals with organized crime and buying fancy clothes and then returning to their palatial mansions to curse Chavez and the hardship he inflicts on them. As John Pilger pointed out in his doco ‘The War on Democracy’ all these people have lost is power and they can’t BEAR IT. I don’t believe you would allow a radio station to broadcast in America that incites people to go out and assassinate the President. Freedom has to be balanced with responsibility or you end up with anarchy not to mention blood on the streets. If you heard that Republican cretin shouting ‘Liar’ at Obama in the Congress then you might have some inkling of how some people can’t balance freedom and responsibility. Or privilege and responsibility come to that.

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By James D, September 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Just because radio stations criticize the president does not mean they are “propaganda.”  And even if they are there should be freedom of speech.  Just because I don’t like what FOX News has to say doesn’t mean I think they should not be able to say it.  That’s the price of living in a free society.

And here is an article about the closing of the radio stations:
Here’s a quote from that article:

“What we are witnessing is the most comprehensive assault on free speech in Venezuela since Chávez came to power,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

“With the exception of Cuba, Venezuela is the only country in the region that shows such flagrant disregard for universal standards of freedom of expression.”

That’s someone from HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, that right-wing, propaganda, CIA-funded operation, right?

When you ignore reality and deify anyone no matter who they are you lose any objective reasoning ability.

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By Aaron Ortiz, September 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I’d like to see Mr. Stone’s documentary, but from what I’ve read of it, and from Chávez’s own reaction to it, it seems to be overwhelmingly flattering to him.

No one-sided portrayal deserves respect. It only promotes ignorance, and blindess. Truth is not simple. How can someone know the truth unless they are prepared to discover they might be wrong?

The least I expect from anyone, left or right, is honesty and the truth, and the humble admission that they might be wrong. I admit I have no monopoly on the truth, and enjoy understanding viewpoints I don’t share.

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brewerstroupe's avatar

By brewerstroupe, September 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

The proof is in the pudding.


The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003.

    Since then, real (inflation-adjusted) GDP has nearly
    doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.

    Most of this growth has been in the non-oil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.
    During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008.

    Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education.

    Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.

    Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in

    Real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.

    From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than one-third. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12-fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.

    There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008.

    The labor market also improved substantially over the last decade, with unemployment dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by
    more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains.

    Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.

    Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP.

    Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has been falling over the last half year (as measured by three-month averages) and is likely to
    continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide.

  Center for Economic and Policy Research
  1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 400
  Washington, D.C. 20009
  (The CEPR advisory board includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; plus Janet Gornick, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University.
  Additional commentary on the above.

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By diamond, September 9, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

James, why does anyone have to apologize for a man who is dedicating his life to improving life for the poorest people in his country? Those radio stations were propaganda vehicles, spewing out hatred and encouraging hate crimes. Having narrowly escaped assassination once at the hands of those who run this propaganda war I can understand Chavez’s attitude. It’s amusing how many people who swear they’re dedicated to freedom and freedom of the press are only too happy to use the power of the media to oppress the majority of the population of their country. Look at Fox, for example, and the way Rupert Murdoch runs his fascist misinformation agenda like some emperor. Objectivity, what’s that? The CIA will never forgive Chavez for nationalizing Venezuela’s oil just as they’ve never forgiven the Iranians for nationalizing their oil in 1953. The CIA holds a grudge like no one else and believes all the oil in the world belongs to America.

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By James, September 9, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chavez just shut down something like 34 radio stations.  I’ll bet that’s cause they’re all “CIA propaganda” right?  Chavez apologists have this false idea that because the CIA and US is bad, then since Chavez speaks out against them, then he MUST be good, right?  Maybe they’re BOTH bad.

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By bogi666, September 9, 2009 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

I can’t believe that so many fools are duped by the U.S. government propaganda against Chavez. These are the same who go around buying bridges, cheap of course. Seems like the coup leaders in Venezuela in 2002 were taking their advice from Chalabi the Iraqi who duped the American government into invading Iraq because they had WMD and Americans would be greeted as liberators. The bill for Iraq $3,000,000,000,000 trillion. This country has so many suckers, no wonder the rest of the world takes us for the fools that we are, even if we don’t know it here.

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By diamond, September 9, 2009 at 1:56 am Link to this comment

Mr. Stone probably knows more about Lenin than you ever will, A Ortiz. Chavez is not a communist but the CIA thinks anyone who isn’t a Fascist is a Communist so they tried have him killed in a coup anyway. You’ll be pleased to know that it was a journalist from CNN who saved Chavez’s hide by revealing the truth about the coup. A cheap coup by CIA standards - only $2 million paid to the plotters who organized -I choke on the words-a false flag operation.

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By meier, September 9, 2009 at 1:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look people, i don’t know where you’re from but it sounds like most of you are from Venus. i’m a south american, i live in Brazil and i can tell you that by any standards Chavez is a banana republic dictator, and Oliver Stone doesn’t know what he’s talking about. granted i haven’t seen the movie but i saw Stone at an interview in Cannes (with Chavez sitting beside him, not understanding a word he was saying) and the man is totaly delusional. saying that 90% of Venezuela’s media attack Chavez relentlessly and that TV stations even tried a nation wide coup to bring Chavez down! Stone is completely insane or he’s just trying to promote his film, either way he is a hypocrit. Chavez is the one clamping down on the venezuelan media, and not just tv stations but also newspapers, radio stations and even writers. do not be fooled, Chavez is a dictator even if he was (re-re-re)elected democraticaly. by the way, what kind of democracy allows for a “president” to be re-elected for ever? a great man? a giant of our times? and what do us “indigenous south americans” have to be so concerned about? Obama is going to invade the amazon? or try to take away Chavez’s oil (which is what keeps him in power)? yeah, right! we have a lot to be concerned about… i’m more concerned about desposts like Chavez and other south american “presidents” who imitate him than about what Obama might want to do to us “indigenous south americans”. face the facts, Chavez and others like him are a menace and Oliver Stone is completely nuts!

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By bogi666, September 8, 2009 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

Just the fact that Chavez is of indigenous ancestry makes him a marked man by the US government. The same holds true for other indigenous leaders in Latin America. I base this on the history of the US government against the indigenous north Americans of genocide and not even considering them citizens of the USA until 1923. The treatment of Mexicans who lived in the USA hundreds of year before the Europeans also serves as a reminder of the US government’s disdain for indigenous peoples of color.The indigenous leaders of South America have legitimate cause for the concern of their safety.

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By meier, September 7, 2009 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A moron who made a film about an even bigger moron!
and by the way “commune115”, Cuba??? realy??? Chavez is a giant of our time? what planet have you been living in? Chavez is a giant dictator a-hole, that’s what he is!

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By Commune115, September 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

Glad to see Oliver Stone getting some press again, he’s one of the few, radical political filmmakers around. I hope “South Of The Border” gets a wide release, at least on TV and DVD, so people can see a different perspective of the revolutionary changes taking place in Latin America. Most corporate media coverage is slanted, distorted or too simplistic. Hugo Chavez is a giant of our time in the style of Egypt’s Nasser, Algeria’s Ben Bella and Cuba’s Castro. I recommend people check out the books “Changing Venezuela By Taking Power” by Gregory Wilpert and “Pirates Of The Caribbean” by Tariq Ali. Eva Golinger’s “The Chavez Code” is also essential reading on how the US is using classic destabilization tactics against Chavez similar to what was done in Allende’s Chile and Nicaragua during the Sandinista era (except the US has not escalated the situation to full violence as it did in that case).

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By Rubiconski, September 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you! Thank you Mr. Stone for bringing the truth about this great man to
the world!!

Unplug yourselves from the corporate propaganda matrix long enough to go see
the story of a real hero!

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By Aaron Ortiz, September 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Seems Mr. Stone hasn’t been reading Lenin lately.

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