News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela

No one criticized former Venezuelan presidents for being friends with Fidel Castro by Oscar Heck

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 commentarist Oscar Heck writes:  Associated Press  (AP) and CNN appear to be on the same bandwagon as Venezuela’s privately-owned anti-Chavez media … spreading subversive and manipulated information against Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s democratically-elected President.

CNN published and AP article (a news report, not an editorial) on June 13, 2005, entitled “ Venezuelans demand extradition of bombing suspect.”

The report sounds like something that Globovision, El Nacional or El Universal would have published, making a marked point to highlight Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ relationship with Cuba’s President, Fidel Castro .. even though the report is specifically about Venezuela’s request for the US government to extradite Posada, a former CIA operative who is wanted in Venezuela on charges regarding his implication in the bombing of a commercial airliner which reportedly killed 73 people in 1976. 

(Globovision, El Nacional and El Universal are three of the “traditional” or “corporate” Venezuelan news sources, one television station and two newspapers, which joined the Venezuelan opposition in promoting the sabotage of the country in 2002 and 2003 during the opposition’s attempts to “get rid of Chavez” through a coup and by destabilizing the country.)

I don’t remember anyone criticizing or ostracizing former Venezuelan presidents, Carlos Andres Perez or Marcos Perez Jimenez, for being friends with Fidel Castro.

So why is the US media trying to make Chavez look bad because of his friendship with Fidel Castro?

When AP states, “Chavez has close ties with Cuban President Fidel Castro,” it isn’t saying that the fact that Chavez has close ties with Castro is a “bad thing,” it is implying it. 

AP (and CNN) know that most USA readers believe that Fidel Castro is an “evil commie” … a “threat” to the USA and to “democracy.” Therefore, for many readers, if Chavez has “close ties” to Castro, Chavez must also be an “evil commie” … or at least a “commie” … and a potential “threat” to the USA and to “democracy.”

So, why highlight Chavez’ relationship with Castro in this (and many other) AP reports?

Why does AP go out of its way to mention Chavez’ friendship with Castro, twice in the same report?

The report states:

“Castro, who is Chavez’s closest ally in Latin America, has demanded Posada be extradited to Venezuela, not communist-led Cuba … Chavez, a self-styled ‘revolutionary’ and outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy, said it would be hypocritical for Washington not to turn Posada over while talking about getting tough on terrorism. Chavez has close ties with Cuban President Fidel Castro.”

To state, “Castro, who is Chavez’s closest ally in Latin America” is a subversive statement … with negative implications. In other words, if Castro is an “enemy” of the USA (which is what most people in the USA seem to believe) and if Chavez and Castro are “allies,” then it is reasonable to assume that many readers will infer that Chavez is also an “enemy” of the USA.


This is how news is manipulated.

AP also uses the description, “communist-led Cuba” in the same report.

As far as I can see, the only other country for which this description (communist-led) seems to be popular these days is North Korea. Now that China has become a business “ally” of the USA, we no longer really hear, “communist-led China.”

In other words, the description “communist-led” appears to be usually used when the “communist-led” country is considered at “threat” to the USA.

Even though Cuba is too small to be a threat to the USA and even though North Korea is too far away, it remains a fact that both North Korea and Cuba are labeled as “threats” by the US government … and it remains a fact that many people in the USA believe that Cuba and North Korea are “threats” to the USA … even if they are not. Thus, as far as communist countries go, Cuba and North Korea are “communist-led” … and it seems that is must be repeated over and over and over by the US “corporate media.”

Furthermore, when reading the AP article, some readers will automatically assume that Venezuela is communist country … because they will assume that Chavez is a “commie.”

(Venezuela is not a communist country, far from it. It is perhaps the most democratic country in the world.)

Now, I must assume that the people who write for AP and CNN are not stupid. 

They must know what they are doing, and they most certainly know when and how to say what … and how words and phrases can be interpreted by readers. They are in the business. I also suspect that they consider themselves to be “professional.”

I find this AP report (as many of their reports) to be unprofessional and intentionally manipulative.

Now, if AP writers are “professional,” then who is “forcing” the writers to write such manipulative statements? The editors? Maybe the editors are also “told” how to edit? 

Where do the guidelines come from? 

If the editors are “told” how to do their job, then the guidelines must come from above, I suppose. But who is above the editor? The publisher? The owners?

Who owns CNN?

According to information on the internet, CNN is owned by Time-Warner-AOL, which also apparently donated 1.6 million ($) to Bush’s 2000 campaign. 

(I don’t know how or where people get such information, but I suspect that it is true. At least, it is highly probable. Also see: Boycott Bush website for the list of the 25 top donators to Bush’s Republican Party – 1999-2003.)

Who owns AP?

According to AP’s website:
“The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative, which means it is owned by its 1,500 US daily newspaper members. They elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative.”

But … as far as I can find out, it appears that no one can find out who exactly is on the board of AP.

According to an October 23, 2004 article by Lynn Landes:

“The Associated Press (AP) will be the sole source of raw vote totals for the major news broadcasters on Election Night. However, AP spokesmen Jack Stokes and John Jones refused to explain to this journalist how the AP will receive that information. They refused to confirm or deny that the AP will receive direct feed from voting machines and central vote tabulating computers across the country. But, circumstantial evidence suggests that is exactly what will happen … Their board of directors is elected by voting Œbonds.‚ However, it is not clear who controls the bonds. AP spokespeople would not give out information on who sits on their board, however AP leadership appears quite conservative.” In 2003, Louis D. Boccardi was president of AP. Louis D. Boccardi also sits/sat on the board of directors of Gannett, which owns USA Today, the USA’s most sold newspaper. Gannett also owns many other newspapers throughout the USA and the United Kingdom and television stations in the USA … and, coincidentally, the following:

Army Times
Navy Times
Navy Times
Marine Corps
Air Force Times
Federal Times
Defense News
Military Market

Now it makes sense!

In summary: CNN is owned by a company which apparently donated 1.6 million ($) to Bush and AP appears to indirectly support the US military, which is under Bush’s control.

It is becoming clear to me that both AP and CNN “must” publish information which conforms to the whims of the US government and to Bush’s aspirations. 

CNN and/or AP “cannot” write against US-government policies .. or against US government foreign policies.

CNN and/or AP “cannot” write against US-government policies regarding Venezuela. 

CNN and AP “must” follow suit … they “must” write in favor and in support of the US government … they “must” follow the US State Department’s rhetoric about Chavez, which they often do.

Remember people. If AP and CNN have  loyalty to Bush and to the US Military (as they appear to have) AP and CNN may not necessarily have loyalty to the truth.

If this seems like a conspiracy, it is. 

How can we expect to receive accurate and objective news if the people who own the “corporate” media (the media which most people depend on, such as AP and CNN) have loyalty to Bush and/or to the US government and/or to the US military? 

To exacerbate the situation, AP’s motto is “The essential global news network” … and according to their website:

242 total bureaus worldwide
1,700 US daily, weekly, non-English and college newspapers
5,000 radio/TV outlets taking AP
1,000 AP Radio Network affiliates taking AP Network News
330 International broadcasters who receive AP’s global video news service, APTN, and SNTV, a sports joint venture video service.
8,500 International subscribers who receive AP news and photos
121 number of countries served by AP
5 languages, including English, German, Dutch, French and Spanish. The report is translated into many more languages by international subscribers.
3,700 AP editorial, communications and administrative employees worldwide

These are scary statistics … considering that AP seems to support US-government policy.

Scarier yet, is the thought that AP might somehow be linked to The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) … a Washington-based organization which promotes US world dominance, economic, social and military. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz signees of the PNAC. So is Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. 

According to the Center for Security Policy website, Frank Gaffney (a signee of the PNAC) has also written editorials which have been published, amongst others, in USA Today, the newspaper owned by Gannett, on whose board of directors sits/sat the former president of AP.

Is this coincidental? 

Perhaps … perhaps not.

Is it possible that AP’s 242 bureaus throughout the world are really covers for CIA operatives?

Finally, when AP and/or CNN make any references to Chavez, keep this in mind:

Perhaps they are not telling you the truth.

They may want to twist your minds and lead you down the path of deception and into the web of their masked support for US foreign policy.

Oscar Heck

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