Telesur's Alternate Reality

 Before we get started on this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment let’s talk for a moment about Telesur. They proclaim themselves as an independent media outlet but as we’ve covered here before nothing could be further from the truth. Last week we told you about how they are a Latin American echo chamber for the Maduro regime’s ally, the Kremlin. Today let’s look at some Venezuela coverage.

 Since Telesur only reports positive news on Chavismo on any given day they will have a dozen or two stories on my news feed and maybe one, or none, will be about Venezuela. “Human Rights Abuses In The US” or “Food Shortages In Sudan” …etc. When they do report on Venezuela it’s either meaningless blather or outright propaganda put out by the Maduro regime.What caught my eye today was we had five stories about Venezuela from Telesur in the news feed (among many). Let’s take a look…

 Telesur reports Venezuela’s Foreign Minister invites the US Secretary of State to engage with him based on mutual respect working toward a dialogue between Maduro and Biden. The Chavistas love to play the “mutual respect” card when there is nothing about Chavismo to respect. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have much respect for Biden either.

 Telesur reports ” Venezuelans Recall Maduro’s First Electoral Victory.” This piece was nothing but Chavista propaganda from start to finish from Maduro’s margin of victory (narrow, not resounding) to all the “free and fair” elections held since. (That would be none)

 Telesur reports “Venezuela Dismantles Colombian Terrorist’s Drug Center.” This read more like a puff piece than actual news. How is it no arrests were reported? No killings…nothing.

 Telesur reports “The US Instigates Illegal Cuban Migration.” Just another day in Telesur’s rhetoric-filled fantasy land in which the US is responsible for all the ills of the world, in this case Cuba, other days it’s Venezuela. Also included in the article was the highlighting of the “need for an independent judiciary.” …wait…IN PERU!!

 Telesur reports that Venezuela’s Foreign Minister (and other diplomats) said “The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (they always break out the ‘Bolivarian Republic’ when they’re spinning or outright lying),once again, categorically rejects the US State Department’s report on Human Rights…” … “…qualifying another country’s Human Rights policies (are policies and violations the same thing?) without any technical rigor or credibility…” (They remind me of statements by US VP Kamala Harris. She breaks out her ‘word salad’ leaving me thinking “What did she just say?…but I digress…) …” Washington seeks to overshadow the achievements of the Bolivarian Government (the utter destruction of Venezuela?) related to the guarantee of human, political, and social rights…” … “Venezuela advocates international respect.” (If it was Maduro speaking he would have gotten in a “pluri-polar” reference)

 OK, so what does that give us for the five Telesur articles? Substantively…nothing!

 Then we have a curious release by the UK government. The Brits are no longer advising against all but essential travel to the whole of Venezuela due to Covid-19 risk. They do, however, advise against all travel within 50 miles of Venezuela’s border with Colombia and within 25 miles of Venezuela’s border with Brazil and they advise against all but essential travel in the rest of the country (security and crime reasons). Is this better? We’re not told not to go there because of Covid-19 but don’t go there anyway?

 And Caracas Chronicles had an interesting piece. Encovi reports  that included in today’s migrants from Venezuela are people seeking family reunification. (Most used to think family reunification would occur with people returning to their families in Venezuela, not leaving to join them in other countries.) They also pose the question, is the right to project a future a Human Right? (If so, we can add that violation to the Maduro regime’s list as they have stolen any hope of a future for most Venezuelans and the dreams of an entire generation.)

 Then we have Daily Coin giving us some “kinda’ good news.” Venezuela taxi service, Yummy, now accepts cryptocurrency (no, not ‘el Petro’) via the Binance platform. As we’ve covered before, Venezuela is one of the leading countries in the world in cryptocurrency adoption. Sure, it’s out of desperation, but they’re a leader nonetheless.

 Now let;s head Down The Rabbit Hole….

 Chapter 16/ No Soapbox Here

 No, I’m not referring to a few years ago when there was no laundry detergent in Venezuela (yes folks, no detergent unless you had a black market supplier or maybe every month or two you could wait in line for 8 hours to buy a couple of kilos… yes folks, it was rationed). I’m talking about the figurative “getting on your soapbox”. In the US it’s called ‘free speech’. It applies to individuals, journalists, media, … everybody.In Venezuela it’s a thing of the past.

 The repression of free speech, in all it’s forms, is in high gear in Venezuela but it didn’t happen overnight. As always, it began with a simple declaration that was accepted by everyone and didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. In 2000 Hugo Chavez was riding high. People were fawning all over him, both domestically and internationally. He was fond of speaking for hours at a time going off on all kinds of rants and diatribes, sometimes for as much as 4-6 hours. Nobody was more enamored with Chavez than Chavez himself, so much so that he issued a declaration requiring all broadcast television stations to show his  speeches live and in their entirety. There was no push-back by anyone whatsoever.

 And so it began. It wasn’t a law enacted or anything like that. He just told the stations to do it and they did. Then, after a couple of years, came The Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, called the “Resorte Law”. It contained a lot of vaguely worded, restrictive rules on incitement of breaches of public order. The first offense carried a 72 hour suspension and the second would cause the broadcaster’s license to be revoked.

 It also contained language considered to be an affront to the integral education of children or adolescents. Violators would be fined between 1/2 to 1% of their gross revenues. It also required the broadcasting of government educational, informative, and safety material, to be monitored and enforced by the Directorate of Social Responsibility.

 The “Resorte Law” was amended in 2010 banning content “that could incite or promote hatred”… “foment citizen’s anxiety or alter public order” … “disrespect authorities” … “constitute war propaganda”. Now call me crazy but I don’t think the odds of getting any kind of stay, injunction, or appeal on a decision by the bureaucrats overseeing compliance with the law would be very good. That’s the great thing about vague wording. The law means whatever they want it to mean … and don’t forget those TSJ (supreme court) numbers… rulings favorable to the government… forty-something thousand … rulings to the contrary …zero!

 Before we move on I want to mention that between the enactment of the “Resorte Law” and the amendment of same Chavez, in 2006, had a law passed (he didn’t rule by decree, he just told the National Assembly what he wanted done and they passed whatever law would accomplish his wishes) barring insult or criticism of high officials.

 More tomorrow….

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