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Carlos Herrera: Official statistics completely belie Michael Rowan’s intentional fabrication

VHeadline commentarist Carlos Herrera writes: Opposition journalists all use the same tactics to discredit the Bolivarian process and throw darts at President Hugo Chavez Frias in particular.

An article in question was published in the Daily Journal, penned by Michael Rowan.

According to Rowan, Chavez – who he refers to as Mr. Chavez, but in the same article addresses President Uribe and Dr. Rice – is in bigger trouble now than in 2002, due to: …the domestic expansion of the Chavez revolution; the export of the revolution to Colombia, Bolivia and the region; and the awakening of the United States to the Chavez threat to stability in the Americas.

The expansion of the revolution and the legally backed up measures required to implement it have been approved democratically in 9 electoral or referendum processes since 1998.

This is democracy, whether Rowan likes it or not.

He provides no evidence that Chavez is “exporting” his revolution to Bolivia or Colombia (?), unless he stupidly or maliciously believes the words of Bolivian ex-President, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada who, in December 2003, in Cartagena, said that Chavez had “financed his downfall.”

No proof has ever been presented … as usual.

The United States obviously regards Chavez as a threat … but not necessarily to stability in the Americas (does this include Canada and the US?) … but to its neoliberal interests in the region and the capital flows it needs to continue dominating the region and offset its crippling fiscal and trade deficits, the latter with Asia and Europe.

All overstatement and exaggeration on Rowan’s part to dramatize a paranoid perception of “danger.”

Rowan speaks of the “rampant assault against private property rights” … is he referring to squatters (which are nothing new in Venezuela) or the implementation of the Land Law and the Zamoran Decrees — all legal under Venezuelan law?

Some property is being expropriated in Carabobo and in the center of Caracas, under what one could term “compulsory purchase orders”… the same mechanism as exists in developed countries.

By his way of thinking, are compulsory purchase orders a rampant assault on private property in other countries as well … or only in Venezuela?

All these compulsory purchases will be executed within a legal framework as in any other country.

How convenient that Rowan does not mention this fact … he wants to give the impression of anarchy and mayhem as far as private property in concerned in Venezuela – ergo Chavez is a dictator, communist or worse.

What poppycock and what a way to twist reality … it is dishonest journalism.

Crime is another subject he addresses in general terms: “More random, vicious and universal” and, as usual, no mention of the joint police and military operations being taken in Caracas (coordinated by the Interior & Justice Ministry), which have reduced crime by around 53% in four months.

Official statistics completely belie Rowan’s intentional fabrication.

Corruption scandals and the Danilo Anderson case – this is still under investigation and nothing has been proven or concluded so far.

In the true style of tarring everything with the same brush, Rowan takes one supposed case of corruption and, using the logic of a syllogism, concludes that corruption is everywhere.

This sort of ‘journalism’ is merely part of the disinformation campaign being waged this year at international level against Venezuela.

Parroting the most rancid elements of the traitorous Venezuelan opposition, Rowan assumes that Uribe will be the downfall of Chavez (”suicidal”) due to the Granda affair, talks about a “pandora’s box of terrorists” in Venezuela and even has the gall to compare the Granda affair to the Montesinos scandal.

As his article progresses, Rowan goes from the dishonest to the Goebbelian, repeating half truths in the vain hope that the mud will stick.

For the readers’ sake, no concrete evidence has ever been produced to prove that Chavez is in any way consorting with terrorists and the guerrilla.

The only “evidence” is published in the right wing press and in rags such as US News & World report by paid mercenary journalists, such as Linda Robinson … or even perhaps Michael Rowan?

Rowan predicts war between Colombia and Venezuela and states, as he has done in previous articles, that the Venezuelan military “has been debilitated by internal spying and political loyalty oaths; sent on government tasks for which it was not prepared or intended; and has lost its mettle for defense.”

All of this is conjecture, since internal documents reveal quite the opposite concerning the Venezuelan military. Morale is higher than ever; those who command the troops are committed to the Bolivarian ideal as many in key command positions are true nationalists and not US lackeys such as the military personnel who set up camp in Plaza Altamira.

In addition, has Rowan forgotten the 80,000 reservists ready to defend the sovereign territory of the nation?

Rowan does not realize that Colombia is not in a position to mount an assault on Venezuela, as this would simply leave the back door open for the guerrilla to move in on major cities as Colombian troops are displaced to the border. The US is currently embroiled in Iraq, and US involvement would be the only way of occupying Venezuelan territory … leading to the Colombianization of Venezuela and a repeat of Colombia’s 50-year civil war at least.

Is this what Rowan wants for the Venezuelan people, or is he writing this stuff as an integral part of the international press campaign contribute to the triggering of such tragic events?

The Rowan piece was obviously written before Colombia issued a communique effectively defusing the diplomatic tension due to the Granda affair … so now the Uribe government will have to manufacture another “crisis” if he, Uribe, is to use Chavez as a bogeyman in his 2006 election campaign.

Rowan really jumped the gun forecasting this “strategy.”

Until evidence is produced to the contrary, all “accusations” such as this by Rowan, dramatically headlined “A political earthquake in Venezuela,” should be read as one would scan a political pamphlet. The style of these articles generally predict terrible events … always sometime in the future … and which never materialize.

They are political propaganda.

To give Rowan his due, he is correct when he lauds the qualities of Condoleezza Rice, the new US Secretary of State. Just as the opposition web sites are now grasping at straws in the future expectation that Dr. Rice will take on Chavez and “defeat” him, Rowan plays the same card.

First President Uribe, now Dr. Rice.

When will someone please explain to hacks like Rowan that any external threat will simply strengthen Chavez’ resolve, that of his ministers, the armed forces and the Venezuelan people as a whole. Rowan’s time would be better spent trying to regroup the Venezuelan opposition and turn it into a democratic force, instead of calling for intervention by the US or a war with Colombia to topple Chavez.

The one part of Rowan’s article I fail to understand is when he asserts: “With just about everybody in the country on the Chavez payroll, overtly or covertly, it is an amazement that Chavez could not entrench his revolution in the Venezuelan culture.”

Anyone with a grain of common sense knows that you cannot “entrench” anything in popular culture by throwing money at it.

Culture is the spontaneous and historical expression of people producing music, poetry, art and theater which they feel, as it comes from their inner being and roots. This is already happening – simply look at the number of Bolivarian Circles discussing literature and music, for example. Musicians from Los Llanos and the barrios creating Bolivarian lyrics in the classic framework of Venezuela music.

Outside the east of Caracas, this sort of culture has permeated every level of Venezuelan society … and is still growing.

If by “Venezuelan culture” Rowan means cutting out vices formed during the 40 years of an officially sanctioned corruption binge from 1961 to 1998, he is also wrong in this assertion. Cultural change can take one or two generations … and you cannot make people be honest simply by paying them to be so.

New values have to be instilled and that is the role of education as exemplified by the Bolivarian schools.

Not only is the sort of journalism exercised by Rowan a disgrace to the profession, but also says little about democratic principles, the dignity or self-esteem of the author, his love (?) for human life by predicting a war … without even mentioning his disrespect for the democratic will of the poor and historically downtrodden in the country where he currently takes refuge.

Carlos Herrera

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