Archive for March, 2014

Fauxccupy : sous les masques de Guy Fawkes de l’opposition vénézuélienne

March 16, 2014

Caracas – Les news et l’imagerie disponibles sur le Venezuela de ces dernières semaines mèneraient l’homme de la rue à conclure que les jeunes d’opposition sont des “manifestants pacifiques” dans la lignée de l’activisme global des jeunesses du “printemps arabe”, du mouvement Occupy ou d’autres pays d’Amérique Latine. Une telle conclusion serait erronée tant les informations sur le Venezuela relèvent de pratiques journalistiques très contestables, sur une échelle sans précédent.

pour Roberto Lovato

Qu’on considère, par exemple, les personnes tuées dans les deux camps. Les médias privés (en anglais ou en espagnol) ont omis de couvrir les huit (et plus) victimes pro-chavistes des violences perpétrées par les étudiants ou par le reste de la droite. Aucun n’enquête sur les dénonciations selon lesquelles les morts sont en majorité imputables à l’opposition. Le gommage radical des victimes pro-chavistes est surprenant.

L’image ci-dessus montre, par exemple, des membres de la droite vénézuélienne tendant un fil barbelé qui a décapité un cycliste innocent, Rafael Durán de La Rosa, mort omise par la plupart des médias. Autre exemple du silence, l’assassinat de l’étudiante chilienne Gisella Rubiar le 9 mars à Mérida, tombée sous les balles de militants d’extrême droite alors qu’elle tentait de dégager une rue obstruée par leur barricade.

Un autre aspect de ce traitement très spécial des médias sur le Venezuela concerne les images des masques de Guy Fawkes, symbole des mouvements anti-capitalistes popularisé par Hollywood et, plus récemment, par les manifestations du mouvement Occupy.

La semaine dernière j’ai interviewé des membres de l’opposition, parmi lesquels des dizaines de jeunes. Presque tous ceux-ci sont des étudiants de classe moyenne et supérieure vivant dans les quartiers ultra-élitaires de Caracas, les plus riches des Amériques. Lorsque je leur demandai s’ils se définissaient comme “anarchistes” ou “marxistes” ou comme partisans d’une des idéologies qui ont caractérisé la plupart des oppositions historiques ou actuelles dans la région, ces étudiants ont uniformément répondu par la négative, certains y allant parfois d’un “para nada !” (“pas du tout !”) ou d’équivalents espagnols de “Jamais de la vie !”

Certains des interviewés m’ont dit s’identifier à des militaires tels que le Généralissime Marcos Pérez Jiménez, ancien et très répudié dictateur. Ils se sont également reconnus dans l’opposition vénézuélienne, emmenée par trois membres de l’élite du pays —Henrique Capriles, María Corina Machado et Leopoldo Lopez— tous trois impliqués dans le coup d’État de 2002 contre Hugo Chávez et possédant des liens familiaux direct avec les propriétaires ou les plus hauts dirigeants des plus importants conglomérats privés du Venezuela et du continent.

Or, si l’opposition du Venezuela est dirigée par des milliardaires dans un pays pauvre et si, au lieu de combattre les initiatives multi-millionaires de la politique des USA (comme le font la plupart des mouvements latino-américains), cette opposition reçoit des millions de dollars du département d’État, comment comprendre toutes ces images d’étudiants portant un symbole associé aux mouvements de gauche ?

La réponse est triple. La première est que l’idée de porter ce masque face aux caméras fait partie de la très sophistiquée formation aux médias que les étudiants ont reçue de OTPOR/CANVAS et d’autres consultantsloués avec les millions de dollars US. La deuxième est que des étudiants commettant des violences et qui craignent les sanctions ont besoin de se cacher. Enfin, c’est la logique du marché, il y a des personnes achetant des masques parce que c’est cool ou d’autres qui y voient une aubaine commerciale, comme j’ai pu l’observer dans les photos que j’ai prises la semaine passée.

Sans analyser de près l’imagerie dominante, sans examen minutieux de ce qu’est l’opposition vénézuélienne, on risquerait de la confondre avec quelque chose comme le Che Guevara ou Occupy ou le Printemps Arabe. Mais avec des dirigeants de la droite étudiante comme Lorent Saleh, lié aux paramilitaires de l’ex-président Uribe et à des groupes néo-nazis colombiens (voir El Espectador du 21/7/13) (1) ou Yon Goicochea qui a reçu les 500.000 dollars du prix “Milton Friedman” et d’autres financements privés ou gouvernementaux des États-Unis, il y a beaucoup plus derrière les masques de Guy Fawkes au Venezuela que ceux que nous laissent voir les médias. Et peut-être que nous voyons naître quelque chose de nouveau et radicalement différent dans le continent insurgé de l’Amérique : Fauxccupy

Roberto Lovato

http://www.latinorebels.com/2014/03/13/fauxccupy-the-selling-and-buyin…

Roberto Lovato est écrivain, journaliste et co-Fondateur de Presente.org, une des principales associations on-line de défense des droits des immigrants latino-américains aux États-Unis. Une de ses enquêtes sur l’exploitation des travailleurs immigrés à New Orleans après les ravages de Katrina, Gulf Coast Slaves, a servi de matériel pour une enquête du Congrès. Producteur de programmes de radio et collaborateur régulier de dizaines de médias dont Nation magazine et Huffington PostLire son blog. Twitter : @robvato.

Photos : Roberto Lovato

Traduction de l’anglais : Thierry Deronne

Fauxccupy: The Selling and Buying of the Venezuelan Opposition

March 15, 2014

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MARCH 13, 2014 BY 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Latino Rebels contributor Roberto Lovato visited Venezuela last week and wrote the following opinion piece. As of this morning, according to reports, the death toll resulting from the protests in Venezuela is at 25. The most recent violent events have occurredin San Cristóbal, near the Venezuela/Colombia border.

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CARACAS—Reports and imagery coming out of Venezuela in the past weeks would lead the casual observer to conclude that the country’s youthful opposition are “peaceful protesters” following a long line of global youth activism seen during the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement or in other parts of Latin America. Such a conclusion would be false, as the news from Venezuela’s protests contains journalistic practices that are very questionable and on an unprecedented scale.

Consider, for example, how both sides have killed people. The corporate media (both in English and in Spanish) have failed to cover the eight (or more) pro-Chavista victims of student and other opposition violence. No one is investigating claims that the majority of the killings were committed by the opposition. The radical erasure of pro-Chavista victims is astonishing. The following image, for instance, allegedly shows Venezuelan opposition students setting up barbed wire that beheaded an innocent cyclist, 29 year-old Elvis Rafael Durán de La Rosa, whose death eluded most global media.

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Another example used in the carefully curated Venezuela media reports pertains to the images of rock-bearing youth wearing Guy Fawkes masks, a popular symbol of anti-capitalist movements, thanks to a Hollywood movie and, more recently, the Occupy protests.

Last week, I conducted interviews with opposition members, including dozens of opposition youth. Amost all of the youth were middle- to upper-class university students living in middle-class to ultra-elite neighborhoods of Caracas, the wealthiest in the Americas. Asked it they identified with  ”anarchists,” “Marxists”  or any of the other oppositional ideologies that have historically and which still define most opposition movements in the region, these students uniformly responded in the negative, with some even throwing in a “para nada!” or other Spanish equivalents of “hell no!”

Some interviewed even told me they identified with military men like El Generalísimo Marcos Pérez Jiménez, a much reviled former dictator. They also identified with Venezuela’s opposition, led by three elites —Henrique Capriles, María Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez— all of whom have direct familial ties to either the owners or top executives of the most important corporate conglomerates in Venezuela and the entire continent.

So ask the following question: If the Venezuelan opposition is led by millionaires in a poor country and if instead of fighting multi-million dollar US policy initiatives (as do most Latin American opposition movements) the Venezuelan opposition is receiving million$ from US policy, how do we account for all those images of students wearing a symbol associated with and used by leftist movements?

The answer is threefold. One is that the mask-wearing is part of the very sophisticated media training the students (and the opposition) received from OTPOR/CANVAS and other consultants bought with millions of US dollars. Second, students engaging in violent acts or those who fear retribution need cover. Finally, there is the logic of the market—people buying the masks because they’re cool and because someone saw a chance to make a buck, which is what I mostly documented in the photos I took last week.

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(Photos: Roberto Lovato)

Without closely analyzing the imagery and careful curation of the Venezuelan opposition, one would conclude that this opposition is just like Che Guevara or Occupy or the Arab Spring. And with Venezuelan student opposition leaders like Yon Goicochea receiving the $500,000 Milton Friedman prize and other funding from private sources as well as from the U.S. government, there’s much more behind the Guy Fawkes masks in Venezuela than meets the media eye. And we may be witnessing the birth of something altogether new and radically different in the insurgent continent of América: Fauxccupy.

***

Roberto Lovato is a writer and dissonant dude. You can read more at his blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @robvato.

 

For Lulu: You Get What You Pay for in Venezuela-and Online

March 14, 2014

“Lulu,” one of many supporters of the Venezuelan opposition, recently tweeted complaints about my article titled “Fauxccupy: The Selling and Buying of the Venezuelan Opposition,” an article about how the Guy Fawkes masked worn by many youths of the opposition seems odd in a social movement led by millionaires and made up of middle to upper income people in a largely poor country. More specifically, Lulu challenged me about the vendor of the masks pictured here:

fauxccupy v

Curiously, Lulu questioned whether I’d even spoken to the woman and her life, while at the same time generously offering to host me in her (Lulu’s) home. The mix of her sincerity and the kind gesture informed my response, something I don’t bother to give most online right wing Venezuelan trolls whose invective and propagandistic repetition doesn’t even inspire a fart for an answer to one of her questions about the woman in the pic:

lulu ilulu ii

Not being able to tweet the pics I took bc they were too big, I am answering Lulu here by saying yes, I did interview her and she had a lot to say about a lot of things, including her poverty and what she thought of the middle to upper class, mostly white people protesting and buying the Guy Fawkes masks that most poor people “couldn’t afford and didn’t want them.” And she also had some choice words and body language for them…(expletives deleted)

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(Fotos by Roberto Lovato)

Venezuela’€™s opposition is united against Maduro, but internally divided

March 7, 2014
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History suggests it may be difficult to overthrow a Venezuelan government without support from the country’€™s have-nots

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Cristian Hernandez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

CARACAS — His face and muscular arms sweating, hands dirtied from the sand-filled sugar bags he dragged toward the makeshift rampart blocking half of his street, Emilio Palacios’ immediate political struggle was with his mother. “No, Mama, no!” he yelled toward his mother, Maria Bravo, a longtime resident of the Chacaito district of Venezuela’s capital. “No!” he repeated, after hearing her tell Al Jazeera that the purpose of the barricade under construction in front of their apartment was “getting rid of this government.”

Measuring his words, he offered a different explanation. “We’re here as students to protest against the insecurity in the country and scarcity and the killing of students by the National Guard,” said Palacios, an engineering student at Central University. “This is not a protest against the government. We’re sending a message to the government.”

“OK. We have differences,” responded Bravo, a 48-year-old publicity and marketing executive, while sitting in a plastic lounge chair alongside her dog, Bruno, who almost knocked over a makeshift sign saying “Resistencia SOS Venezuela.”

On the anniversary of the death of socialist President Hugo Chavez, his successor, Nicolas Maduro, faces the biggest challenge to his 10-month-old government. Demonstrators frustrated by a long string of electoral defeats in municipal, gubernatorial and presidential election challenges to the Chavistas are exploring new strategies: taking to the streets to demand Maduro’s resignation as a solution for rampant crime and food shortages. But history suggests it may be difficult to overthrow a Venezuelan government without support from the country’s have-nots, and they have yet to be seen mimicking the burning of garbage or smashing of concrete seen in more well-off neighborhoods.

“Yes, we’re here to support the students, to protest the waiting in lines for food like we were in Cuba,” Bravo continued. “But we’ll be in the streets until this nefarious government, until this dictatorship goes, until Maduro renounces!” Asked how the crisis affects her well-groomed mixed sheepdog, she said, “Four kilos of dog food costs 400 bolivares ($63). Four hundred bolivares! Absurdo!”

A visibly tense Emilio raised his eyebrows, nodded his head from left to right and rushed down the street to continue gathering tree trunks and sugar bags to fortify the barricade. The lines of burning garbage, rocks and dead trees were not clearly drawn. Neither are the political divisions within Venezuela’s opposition.

The family argument between Palacios and Bravo reflects wider differences in the opposition involving politics, strategy and tactics over the protests and street clashes that have left 18 dead, including some Chavistas. While Chavez built the base of his movement among Venezuela’s poor and working class, the current protests are centered in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. The movement challenging Maduro is led by wealthy and privileged individuals, some of whose photographs feature regularly on the society pages of El Universal and other newspapers. And they seem unable to agree on whether change will be achieved via the ballot box and negotiation or through insurrection and violence — and also on who should lead the opposition. What they are united over is their desire to end crime and shortages, but also to reverse the Chavez legacy of major government spending in housing, education and other social programs, limits on profits that can be made by companies and other socialist initiatives.

The most visible leaders of the opposition — former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, the telegenic Harvard-educated former mayor of Chacao Leopoldo Lopez and Lopez’s closest ally, Maria Corina Machado — all hail from families that own or have powerful positions with conglomerates in media, food and other industries. All are connected to middle- and upper-class student groups currently protesting in the streets of Caracas. And WikilLeaks cables suggest that the key protest groups have, over many years, been the beneficiaries of hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. “democracy promotion” assistance.

Despite efforts to project unity at recent rallies and marches, deep differences divide the opposition. Lopez and Machado are seen as promoting the more confrontational street actions to end Chavismo, but other opposition leaders fear that those tactics will alienate the larger public. Some opposition leaders even called for a moratorium on protests out of respect for commemorations of Chavez this week — a call that was ignored by student leaders and Machado.

Capriles and his key allies, including a number of industrialists, are more inclined to press for negotiations with Maduro, signaling discomfort with the more radical approach of the unyielding “Salida” (“Exit”) call by Lopez, Machado and many student groups on the streets who demand Maduro’s ouster. Capriles ally Lorenzo Mendoza, one of the wealthiest people in Venezuela, recently stood alongside Maduro to report on the National Conference for Peace, convened by the president and attended by leaders in politics and industry. “This is a convening to build a peace agenda,” declared a solemn Mendoza to a national audience.

Statements like Mendoza’s also reflect growing discomfort on the right with some of the student violence, like that which ended the life of Santiago Henrique Pedroza Longa. He was a 29-year-old motorcyclist who was beheaded by barbed wire put up by students at the behest of a pro-opposition retired general who had tweeted instructions on how to “neutralize the criminal hordes on bikes.”

And then there are the more radical student activists who distrust the close ties between fellow student groups and well-connected, well-heeled leaders of the political parties. “Leopoldo Lopez is a prefabricated martyr engaged in political theater designed to promote him as the new leader of the opposition,” said Joshua Cespedes, a 20-year-old working-class student protester and member of the Organization of Nationalist Students (ORDEN). “Capriles is the same, but he’s losing ground to him because people on our side are getting desperate and want quick solutions,” he said on Sunday at an opposition protest, standing next to a colleague hiding his face behind large, dark shades and a black poster with big white letters saying “Negotiation = Submission.”

Cespedes and other youth founded ORDEN after concluding that “politics in Venezuela is controlled by international interests. The opposition is controlled by the U.S. and Obama, and the government by Cuba. So the only solution is a nationalist solution.”

ORDEN traces its nationalist legacy to El Generalissimo Marcos Perez Jimenez, a former dictator, whose repressive policies eventually brought about his demise. Many years and several political defeats later, Perez Jimenez’s legacy still brings division to the right. After unfurling a banner with a picture of the smiling generalissimo, members of ORDEN were violently challenged by supporters of rival opposition groups during a widely televised opposition gathering on Jan. 23, 2013. “We were beaten with our own flags, punched, kicked at and dragged out of the conference — all at the hands of our ‘allies,’” said Cespedes. Despite the internal tensions, he said, he and the other members of ORDEN will “continue to organize and agitate in the streets.”

Striking a philosophical pose about the possibility of continued student clashes with Venezuelan government forces, 62-year-old Edith Mujica, Secretary for Organization for Caracas in Primero Justicia — the political party founded by both Lopez and Capriles — worried that the continued confrontation will not yield the desired results. “We may learn that all this excitement in the streets turns out to be an error,” said Mujica. “We might actually end up looking like we don’t want peace. We may even end up strengthening Maduro and the Chavistas. And we all agree we don’t want to do anything to make them stronger than they already are.”