British MP Backs Chavez Dictatorship

Interesting column in the Guardian this morning from Colin Burgon, a Labour MP in the UK and chair of "Labour Friends of Venezuela." He writes that Britain (and the world) need to stand against Washington (America) and defend Hugo Chavez's move to take away the broadcast license of private television channel RCTV.

He writes:

In RCTV's case, the broadcaster failed to meet basic public-interest standards. The criterion for this assessment is similar to that used by the US Federal Communications Commission. RCTV will be free to broadcast via cable and satellite, which are available across the country.

In the UK, if Channel 4 aided an attempted coup against the government that resulted in civil unrest and even death, would anyone be supporting the renewal of its licence? RCTV has lost its licence because its wealthy owners slanted news coverage to provide support to the April 2002 coup against Chávez and the elected government. This will not be news to those who gathered in parliament last week to view John Pilger's excellent documentary The War on Democracy, which shows footage of RCTV involvement.



There's some interesting back and forth in the comments section including this from "hyvaslide":

The author of this "editorial" mischaracterizes Chavez's treatment of RCTV. Its "support" for the 2002 coup consisted of running editorial cartoons instead of displaying pictures of pro-Cavez crowds(see "Rising Censorship Among World's Oil Powers" http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0524/p01s04-woam.html). And even if this decision was interpreted as tacit support for the coup, such a stance does not merit the arbitrary withdrawal of the outlet's broadcasting license. Freedom of speech demands a hands-off aproach from regulatory bodies unless the news agency in question is inciting imminent violence.



Back and forth, to and fro.

Look, here's the thing with Hugo Chavez: his situation is very similar to Hitler's. Now I'm not saying Chavez is another Hitler. Hitler is responsible for the deaths of six-million Jews and a fair number of gentiles. Chavez is still in the minor leagues on that count. Like any good Marxist, he prefers the slow painful death of starvation to the tacky quick death of a gas chamber. Anyway, defenders of Chavez love to point out that he was democratically elected. That's true, by Latin American standards. He won the presidency twice, through lots of intimidation and rule-bending, but he won it. Hitler won power in Germany quite democratically as well. There was intimidation, there was rule-bending, but ultimately the Nazi party made the right power plays and won a majority of seats in the Reichstag. Once in power they made all the moves necessary to end democracy and keep their hold on power. Churchill knew this was coming...most learned men of the age knew this was coming, and while I'm not a history expert, I'm sure there were many Labour MP's in Britain at the time who were saying "Hey, he was democratically elected by the Germans. Leave him alone."

That's the point with Chavez. We can quibble over the legitimacy of his elections or his power to censor broadcasters, but ultimately all learned men know that his goal is a dictatorship, that's why defending his "democratic" actions is a fool's game. Chavez is a dangerous thug and an enemy of freedom and anyone who tries to paint the situation with a layer of anti-Americanism and Utopian dreams are just as dangerous.