The latest in the series #youcantmakethisshitup comes from Hollywood director Oliver Stone. Early in his latest propaganda film, aptly entitled "Mi Amigo Hugo", Stone says (3.13) "I did not know then that Hugo's end was near, that he'd be infected with a brutal and aggressive cancer in 2011..."
You know Eva. She was the "darling" of Hugo, the "sweetheart" of the "revolution". She must be sobbing today. Upon finishing her studies, in a rather expensive college, she went on to study law, and became, according to chavismo's conventional wisdom, a "renowned author", an "investigative journalist", a "TV presenter", an "editor of Correo del Orinoco", an "expert on Venezuela", and even a "Venezuelan". Imagine just how desperate for useful idiots those revolutionaries are, that Eva, an American citizen, published her first "book" in Havana.
There's a tendency, by international journalists covering the current Venezuelan crisis, of projecting own ideological, political and cultural baggage onto their reporting. It is only to be expected and natural, for true objectivity is an utopia. While professional journalists have to maintain an appearance of striving for objectivity, examples of gross subjectivity continue to find their way to media outlets perceived to be editorially objective. I can think of a couple of recent examples: Associated Press and the BBC.
Marvinia Jimenez is a young, partially disabled mother (35). When spreading protests came to her largely poor neighbourhood in La Isabelica, Valencia (some 200 kilometers from Caracas) on 24 February, she thought that instead of retreating, or running away, she would approach the National Guard, to have a word. What followed was one of the darkest episodes of brutality seen in Venezuela in the last few years. To President Nicolas Maduro's shame, almost every detail of the vile attack on unarmed Marvinia was recorded by many neighbours, who uploaded the gory stuff onto social media in real time. The pictures and video immediately went viral.
The last couple of days have been kind of extraordinary, in the sense that some of chavismo's big dogs have come unhinged. First we saw Jose Vielma Mora, Governor of Tachira state where protests began, criticising President Maduro in a radio interview. Vielma Mora said he was against the brutal way in which protesters have been repressed, and added that he disagreed with keeping political prisoner Ivan Simonovis and opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in jail (both on trumped charges). We then saw President of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, come on TV to lie about an alleged weapons cache that General Angel Vivas had in his house.
"When you're not allowed to think for yourself, when you're not allowed to have, and voice, an opinion, insofar as such opinion is contrary to the diktats of the ruling party, you lose the only thing that makes us human. You become like an object in a meaningless life, and such life is not worth living. So I decided to rebel against that system and I had no fear of dying, for living in such condition was akin to being dead."
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will take to the streets today. The Maduro regime has failed spectacularly in its attempt to 'convince' the world that widespread protests that have rocked our country since Feb. 2 are the product of U.S. intervention, fascism and other such totally unsubstantiated nonsense. I remember having written a while ago that if the Cuban dictators could not impede the free flow of information in the prison island, Maduro stood no chance of succeeding at it. Despite the local media blackout, social media has roundly defeated all chavista attempts at censorship.
In the last few days the chavista regime in Venezuela censored the Colombian news channel NTN24. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul and his crew were assaulted by police in Caracas for, basically, doing their job. Caracas Press Club and Instituto Sociedad y Prensa have reported various attacks on journalists in the last few days. Images and videos of the brutality unleashed on protesters uploaded to Twitter have reportedly been censored. Yesterday, President Maduro threatened to kick CNN out of the country.
There's confusion. Loads of it. On the one hand, everyone feels energised by Leopoldo Lopez's heroics yesterday, on the other a question hangs in the air: now what? Dawn breaks in Venezuela with a resolved opposition movement with its leader in jail, unable to organize, communicate and execute whatever strategy going forward. Or is it? Let's take stock of what happened yesterday. Hundreds of thousands dressed in white took to the streets across Venezuela yesterday, answering the call made by Lopez.