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Ear to the Ground

Chavez’s Latest Nemesis: The Internet

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Posted on Mar 14, 2010
Flickr / Mike Gonzales (CC-BY-SA)

Can we bring George W. Bush out of retirement so Venezuela’s president has something more appropriate to rant about? A reportedly pissed Hugo Chavez said Saturday, “The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done.” Someone tell @shitmydadsays.


“The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms,” Chavez said. He cited German Chancellor Angel Merkel as having expressed a similar sentiment recently.

Chavez is angry with Venezuelan political opinion and gossip website Noticierodigital, which he said had falsely written that Diosdado Cabello, a senior minister and close aide, had been assassinated. The president said the story remained on the site for two days.

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AP translates the Chavez quote as “free” instead of “open,” but the gist of its reporting is the same. Tip of the hat to CNET News.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

It’s funny to find myself agreeing with BOTH rfidler and Nemesis in the same thread!
R: Thanks for the unexpected but welcome kudos.
N: GREAT post! 

I hate this crap of “acid tests”—if you are right-wing you hate all things Clinton and Obama and Carter, if you are a “Progressive” you must hate Israel (but claim you only hate Zionism) and love Chavez.

I’d love Chavez, too—if he was half of what his portrayed as, and none of what he REALLY is: Another corrupt, fascist dictator, only this one’s hiding behind “Socialism” as his Bloody Shirt to wave.

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By rico, suave, March 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

Well put.

You think you’re a poet, but you’re an idiot.

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By nemesis2010, March 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

@ John Ellis:

Much Brighter Light:

1. There is no such entity as a politician who doesn’t lie; Chávez included. The constraints of which I spoke were the few institutions that exist and prohibited Bush/Cheney from barring all forms of free speech. Bush/Cheney and Obama do not own Media Corp. AmeriCorp—like Media Corp—is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Corp. Trying to one up me you actually confirmed my position. DUH much?

2. Bush and Chávez aren’t alike in the labels they wear. They are alike in that both men enjoyed a popular mandate to effect change for the better in their respective countries. They are alike in that both men are abject failures who drove their nations off a cliff. History will not be kind to either one. Whether a society is destroyed by the misnomered right or the misnomered left matters nothing at all; the results are the same. Chávez is not a social democrat. He’s a little tyrant on the way to becoming a totalitarian dictator if he and his cronies aren’t stopped soon.

3. Ownership means nothing under the dictates of a near totalitarian rule. Chávez controls the media in Venezuela. The status quo predator capitalists still “own” media outlets but the restrictions being placed on them are designed to squash the oppositions’ voices. The Chávez government shutdown 34 radio stations by refusing to renew their broadcast permits because of their anti-Chávez sentiments and is threatening to shut down 200 more. The government reserves the right to interrupt any broadcast it wishes, any time it desires to do so, on radio and non-cable TV.

Almost daily privately owned businesses, small corporations, and land are being expatriated or are under threat of expatriation in Venezuela. Government controls all foreign currency transactions. Foreign currency trafficking in Venezuela now carries a 7 year prison sentence. 

Would you like to discuss the staple food shortages, daily, nation-wide, 3-hour power blackouts, 30-50 percent decline in PDVSA’s production, approx. 26% inflation rate, even higher unemployment than under the status quo predator capitalists, medicine shortages, capital flight, etc.?

Chávez’s popularity is in decline despite the propaganda to the contrary. His own party, The United Socialist Party for Venezuela (PSUV), has come out against him on this Internet issue. All over Venezuela there are signs posted by supporters of retired military officer and former Chávez ally, Capt. Carlos Guyón, declaring “Ya Guyón Viene.” (Guyón is coming soon!) And you have to be fat, drunk, and stupid not to know that AmeriCorp is provoking a war with Venezuela through its client state Colombia. Chávez has allied himself with Russia, Iran, and a few other countries like Cuba because he has made very powerful enemies; both within and without his nation’s borders. The handwriting is on the wall and it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose over there. ExxonMobil wants its oil back!

If you’re going to come here trying to blow smoke about the wonderful socialist revolution in Venezuela you had better bring you’re “A” game. I have several Venezuelans in my employ who fled Chávez´s Bolivarian Socialist Revolution and who have family living there still.

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By rico, suave, March 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Well put.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

I love the hypocrites here!  Folks, Chavez is pushing for CENSORSHIP, just like Ann Coulter-geist.  The ONLY difference is you LIKE his policies and hated Bush’s. 

Me, on the other hand, hated Bush’s policies (that hasn’t changed) but hate Chavez’s as well.

Hypocrites! It always depends solely on whose ox is being gored.  In that you are no different than Re-thuglicans.

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By gerard, March 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Can human beings ever escape from the knife-edge of either/or?  Every subject seems to lead us to want some clearly defined conclusive decision on every subject, whereas life itself argues plainly with evidence that almost nothing is clearly this or that, everything is more or less something or other.

Chavez and Venezuela are a current example of this fierce dichotomy working its way to the surface.  Either he is a benefactor or a villain, and we are happy enough to make our decisions on the basis of slanted information, lack of accurate information and prejudices based on largely “inherited” opinions of others whom we trust—but often for no good reason.

When will we—or should we—learn to temper opinions and actions with more sophistication, more flexibility, more acceptance of the human tendency to make mistakes wherever and whenever it is possible to do so—and to learn from those mistakes?  Or can we?  These times when we know so much about so little and so little about so much, attitude seems to be shouting at us:  “Hey, look at me!  I’m important!  Why do you think what you think?  Is the way you think the only way to think? Does attitude limit possibilities or broaden them?  Etc. Etc.”

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By rico, suave, March 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment


“90% of all media in Venezuela is owned by the elite 1%”. And you call me a notorious fiction teller, you big kidder you.

Who owns the internet? And why is it such a threat to “Ugo”?

And what lies have I told? All I do is ask questions and call out fantasists like you.

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By rico, suave, March 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment


Yes, and back in the 70s, the USSR and China also had zero unemployment, zero poverty, universal health care, and 100% literacy. Does anybody but you believe that fiction?

Cuba’s “labor rights record”? Are you serious?! How many trade unions are there in Cuba? What is the minimum wage in Cuba? How many black Cubans hold positions of power in Cuba?
So what’s your point?

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By nemesis2010, March 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Chávez is a South American George W. Bush without the constraints that Dubya had in the U.S.

His rabid paranoia is not totally unwarranted because he has not only managed to make enemies of Big Oil, Big MultiInter Corp, the Venezuelan status quo predatory capitalist opposition, and AmeriCorp, but also a nascent opposition of disenchanted Chavistas within Venezuela.

Like the Bush/Cheney regime, Chávez cannot stand any criticism and accepts no responsibility for his government’s massive policy failures. Unlike the Bush/Cheny regime there are no institutional safeguards to prevent him from eventually outlawing all criticism of Chávez and/or his government. Chávez has almost unlimited control of all television, radio, and print media; this is his next step toward his ultimate goal of total control of all media.

The Bush/Cheney regime had to be satisfied with free-speech zones, stuffing audiences with pro-neocon forces (where Bush bumbled his way through a verbal exercise—called a Bush speech—of stringing fascist platitudes, jingoisms, and slogans together), and MediaCorp’s control of propaganda. Chávez doesn’t suffer such indignities. He’ll do all in his power—and it’s considerable—to squash any and all oppositional voices.

Today’s political class is comprised of reprobates and miscreants who cannot tolerate the truth that they and their policies are society’s bane.

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By Austin Thompson, March 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think progressives should be wary of attacking Hugo Chavez. If you are anti-war
and pro-social and economic justice then Venezuela has done more in the last ten
years than any Democrat has. Venezuela has made great strides to empower the
poor there. What has the government of the United States done but invade
countries and give bailouts to corporations?

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By Commune115, March 15, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

rfidler, Venezuela has the lowest unemployment in South America, poverty has been reduced by 70%, illiteracy erased and free healthcare has been made available to the general population. As for Cuba, its own domestic healthcare and even labor rights record is far superior to anyone else in the region. I would rather be a poor person in Cuba than in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or US favorite Colombia which has the worst human rights record in the hemisphere.

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By rico, suave, March 15, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment


In exactly what ways have “these leaders…improve[d] the lives of their citizens”?

If things are so much better in Venezuela, why worry about the internet? Why demonize the US?

By the way, did you hear that Cuba will now require all non-Cuban visitors to purchase health insurance? So much for free health care.

The Cuban embargo is a straw man lately- hell half the economy is probably dollar denominated anyway. It’s getting harder and harder to blame the US for the problems in Cuba and Venezuela.

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By RdV, March 15, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Dylan sang, “I learned to hate Russians through my whole life” and so it goes with our kneejerk disdain of Castro and by extention, his political heir, Chavez. By gawd we can’t actually hold in esteem these leaders who actually improve the lives of their citizens and stand firm against american imperial explotation.
  This comment is out of smugly context—but we can always talk about the patriot act if we want to compare government clampdowns.
  I respect Chavez, whereas I can’t say the same for Obama.)r—am I not allowed to say that?

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By radson, March 15, 2010 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

The Fifth Elements are hard at work and they have a big bag of Colors to choose from .Destabilization is their game and free money without shame.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 15, 2010 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chavez has to contend with CIA disinformation campaigns
and sabotage so he is right to be concerned.

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By Ouroborus, March 15, 2010 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

Commune115, March 15 at 3:18 am

Agreed. Chavez has every reason to be wary. An enemy
like the U.S. is to be taken seriously. We’ve screwed
basically every freedom/independence movement south of
our border. That also includes democratically elected
governments that had the temerity to want to be free of
our interference.
If ever there was a time to fix ones own house first;
this is it!!

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By Commune115, March 15, 2010 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

Chavez’s comments were meant for neofascist opposition groups, many backed by the US, which are seriously trying to destabilize the country and provoke a coup. Sad to see Truthdig march in step with typical, watered-down American Liberal elite thought.

To see just what Venezuela is up against, read this important new article by scholar Eva Golinger:

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By Jim, March 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chavez is right. Libel laws make the internet a place where not everything can be said. That’s true off line or online. Looks like your latest Nemesis is Chavez, as it is for neoCon right in America.

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