My internet browsing occasionally leads me into the weird and wacky world of Fox News. As most will be aware, the Rupert Murdoch owned company is a bastion of ultra-conservatism and general cheerleader for free market capitalism and US imperialism.
I have paid especial interest to their slant (and slant is the operative word when talking about Fox News) on the decision by the Venezuelan Government to not renew the license of RCTV, a right-wing propaganda station which has been linked to the coup against the Chavez Government in 2002. Fox News, a station renowned for its aversion to facts, calls this a ‘closure of RCTV’ and an attack on Free Speech, as per usual, the imperialist apologists at Fox News are being misleading in their reporting.
RCTV, which has been in existence for over 53 years, had a 20 year license concession granted in 1987. That license was up for renewal this year. In the 9 years since Chavez was first elected to office, the RCTV have been vociferously opposed to his administration and have consistently argued for it to be overthrown. In spite of this, the Government have freely allowed it to operate on national airwaves for the duration of its license. What must be considered in this situation is that the station were actively calling for people to support the Coup against Chavez, not just voicing a different opinion. What is most important to remember is that RCTV has shown a blatant disregard for Venezuelan broadcasting laws (long preceding the Chavez Government) and has been found guilty of over 600 violations. In any State in the world, this would put a broadcasting license in extreme jeopardy.
In this context, we have to look beyond the propaganda and examine the real reasons for the vendetta against the Chavez Government. Since his initial arrival in office, Chavez has been a thorn in the side of the US establishment and in particular, since 2001, of the Bush Administration. (An administration which Fox News, among others, have a fawning admiration for) The Venezuelan Government have challenged the interests of the powerful business oligarchy and have been very strong in terms of social provisions and in attempting to redress injustices which had been inherent in the system. They have openly opposed US Imperialism and have allied themselves closely with Cuba, the arch nemesis of American imperialism.
For radicals, Venezuela under Chavez, along with other nations in Latin America, such as Bolivia and Peru, show an example of the potential for a new global, socio-economic and political model. This is anathema to the forces of US imperialism. To US imperialists, the ‘natural order’ is a ‘free’ market economic system, coupled with an elitist political system, where a powerful few dominate. That a genuine, grassroots democracy is emerging so near to them, is more than they can handle. In a very real sense, Venezuela has become a key battleground in the battle between the forces of imperialism and those who advocate a genuine, Socialist, grassroots democracy. I make no apologies for siding with the latter.