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Chavez wins in Venezuela – No kidding

Greg Palast 

The fact that the party of the late Hugo Chavez lost two-thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s congress puts a lie to the canard that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as created by Chavez is some kind of dictatorship, a nasty bit of propaganda long pushed by the US mainstream press.

For BBC, I covered Venezuela elections. There, they count the votes – unlike in the Third World dictatorships of Florida and Ohio.

I know the leader of the opposition, Julio Borges, just as I knew Chavez and the current President Nicolas Maduro.

Borges is no right-wing fascist. It’s important to note that the opposition did not run against Chavez or his legacies and policies. Rather they ran against a sclerotic government, too long in office, petty corruption – and the crushing reality of oil income cut by more than half.

Chavez’ revolution is permanent. The redistribution of wealth and power to the Black and Indian population from the white “Spaniards” is irreversible.

Chavez is gone but Chavismo lives despite the crying and moaning of the world financial elite.

Ironically, Chavez’ socialist party is the victim of the success of its policies: young people, who did not know the crushing poverty and hopelessness that reigned before Chavez, are now college grads, clamoring to maintain the middle-class lives they’ve come to expect.

Chavez would be pleased with the triumph of the real democracy he created.

In honor of this affirmation of democracy, our foundation will offer a free download of “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.”

And next year, may democracy return to the USA.

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Chavez, Maduro and Venezuela
the story they don’t want you to read

Greg Palast 

Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro wrote on Op Ed published in the New York Times yesterday calling for peace.

As someone who knows president Nicholas Maduro, Hugo Chavez’ successor, (and Maduro’s opponents), I can say that I’ve never met a head of state (and I’ve met many) who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.

Venezuela is Occupy Wall Street on its head: the 1% are out in the street, violently hoping to overthrow the government elected by working people. Are the Kochs involved?

Why not read my reports on Venezuela?

— Did Chavez’ Pick Steal the Election in Venezuela?

— Hugo Chavez vs “The Network”

— The Koch Brothers, Hugo Chavez and the XL Pipeline

— Big Oil, Big Ketchup and The Assassination of Hugo Chavez

And once again, to shed light through the US media bullshit on Venezuela, my not-for-profit foundation is offering my film, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez” as a FREE Download.   …more

Crisis in Ecuador
Greg Palast Interviews President Correa

Greg Palast 

Palast Interviews President Correa

Ecuador’s president promises punishment
after day of chaos.

Rafael Correa promises ‘no forgiveness’ for those involved in uprising, as opposition politicians are accused of staging a coup.

Ecuador remains in a state of siege with the military in charge of public order.
President Rafael Correa is promising to punish his enemies a day after a police rebellion triggered mayhem.

In February 2008 Greg Palast met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. They discussed the Lawsuit against Chevron, Eradicating Foreign Debt and Why He Says “Ecuador is No Longer for Sale”

Watch part of the interview.
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$300 MILLION FROM CHAVEZ
TO FARC A FAKE

Greg Palast 

for TomPaine.com/Ourfuture.org

Originally published 6 March

EN ESPANOL

Do you believe this?

In early March Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop – and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million – which they’re using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That’s what George Bush tells us. …more

Exclusive interview with the
President of Ecuador

Greg Palast 

Palast Interviews President CorreaThis week, Colombia’s military invaded Ecuador, killing a guerrilla leader hiding there. Undoubtedly, the invasion, which has brought Ecuador, Colombia and their border-mate Venezuela, to the bring of war, was meant to undermine the new, progressive, and very popular government of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s new President.Correa, shining new star of South America’s rising Left, and an ally of President Hugo Chavez, granted an extraordinary interview to Greg Palast, Correa’s only English-language interview of his presidency.

Watch or listen to an excerpt as broadcast two weeks ago on Democracy Now!

And catch Palast’s interviews with President Hugo Chavez for BBC Newsnight and on-the-ground investigations on the DVD, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.” Trailer here.

From Ecuador: Good and Evil
at the Center of the Earth

Greg Palast 

A Conversation with Ecuador’s New President
[Quito] I don’t know what the hell seized me. In the middle of an hour-long interview with the President of Ecuador, I asked him about his father.

I’m not Barbara Walters. It’s not the kind of question I ask.Correa reading his daughters letter

He hesitated. Then said, “My father was unemployed.”

He paused. Then added, “He took a little drugs to the States… This is called in Spanish a mula [mule]. He passed four years in the states- in a jail.”

He continued. “I’d never talked about my father before.”

Apparently he hadn’t. His staff stood stone silent, eyes widened.

Correa’s dad took that frightening chance in the 1960s, a time when his family, like almost all families in Ecuador, was destitute. Ecuador was the original “banana republic” – and the price of bananas had hit the floor. A million desperate Ecuadorans, probably a tenth of the entire adult population, fled to the USA anyway they could.

“My mother told us he was working in the States.”

His father, released from prison, was deported back to Ecuador. Humiliated, poor, broken, his father, I learned later, committed suicide.

At the end of our formal interview, through a doorway surrounded by paintings of the pale plutocrats who once ruled this difficult land, he took me into his own Oval Office. I asked him about an odd-looking framed note he had on the wall. It was, he said, from his daughter and her grade school class at Christmas time. He translated for me.

“We are writing to remind you that in Ecuador there are a lot of very poor children in the streets and we ask you please to help these children who are cold almost every night.”

It was kind of corny. And kind of sweet. A smart display for a politician.

Or maybe there was something else to it.

Correa is one of the first dark-skinned men to win election to this Quechua and mixed-race nation. Certainly, one of the first from the streets. He’d won a surprise victory over the richest man in Ecuador, the owner of the biggest banana plantation.

Doctor Correa, I should say, with a Ph.D in economics earned in Europe. …more

Fear of Chavez is Fear of Democracy

Greg Palast 

Bush: If it’s our oil, why do Venezuelans get to vote on it?chavezwtext.jpg
GOP panicked that counting votes in Venezuela will spread to Florida

Monday December 3, 2007

The Family Bush can fix Florida. They can fix Ohio. But it’s just driving them crazy that they can’t fix the vote in Venezuela.

[Note: Watch the reports taken from the Palast BBC investigations in Venezuela in the newly released DVD, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.“]

The Bush Administration and its press puppies – the same ones who couldn’t get enough of the purple thumbs of voters of Iraq – are absolutely livid that this weekend the electorate of Venezuela had the opportunity to vote.

Typical was the mouth-breathing editorial by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the referendum could make Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s President, “a constitutional dictator for life.” And no less a freedom fighter than Donald Rumsfeld, from the height of the Washington Post, said that by voting, Venezuela was “receding into dictatorship.” Oh, my!

Given that Chavez’ referendum was defeated at the ballot box, we now know that, as a dictator, Chavez is a flop. Of course, without meaning to gainsay Secretary Rumsfeld, maybe Chavez is not a dictator.

Let’s get clear exactly what this vote was about. Firstly, it was a referendum to change the nation’s constitution to end term limits for President.

fdr1.jpgOh, horror! Imagine if we eliminated term limits in the US! We could end up stuck with a president – like Franklin Roosevelt. Worse, if Bill Clinton could have run again, we’d have missed out on the statesmanship of Junior Bush. While US media called Chavez a “tyrant” for suggesting an end to term limits, they somehow forgot to smear the tyrant tag on Mr. Clinton for suggesting the same for the America.

We were not told this weekend’s referendum was a vote on term limits, rather, we were told by virtually every US news outlet that the referendum was to make Chavez, “President for Life.” The “President for Life” canard was mis-reported by no less than The New York Times. …more

War Paint and Lawyers:
Rainforest Indians versus Big Oil

Greg Palast 

Greg Palast investigates for BBC Newsnight –
Chevron: “Nobody has proved that crude causes cancer.”

Wednesday, November 27 – Available on Democracy Now!

Greg getting in Canoe

BBC Television Newsnight has been able to get close-in film of a new Cofan Indian ritual deep in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. Known as “The Filing of the Law Suit,” natives of Ecuador’s jungle, decked in feathers and war paint and heavily armed with lawyers, are filmed presenting a new complaint in their litigation seeking $12 billion from Chevron Inc., the international oil goliath.

It would all be a poignant joke – except that the indigenous tribe is suddenly the odds-on favorite to defeat the oil company known for naming its largest tanker, “Condoleezza,” after former Chevron director, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Cofan Leader CriolloRice.

For Newsnight, reporter Greg Palast, steps (somewhat inelegantly) into a dug-out log canoe to seek out the Cofan in their rainforest village to investigate their allegations. Palast discovers stinking pits of old oil drilling residue leaking into drinking water – and meets farmers whose limbs are covered in pustules.

The Cofan’s leader, Emergildo Criollo, tells Palast that when Texaco Oil, now part of Chevron, came to the village in 1972, it obtained permission to drill by offering the Indians candy and cheese. The indigenous folk threw the funny-selling cheese into the jungle.

Criollo says his three-year son died from oil contamination after, “He went swimming, then began vomiting blood.”

Flying out of the rainforest, past the Andes volcanoes, Palast gets the other side of the story in Ecuador’s capitol, Quito. “It’s the largest fraud in history!” asserts Chevron …more

Dick Cheney, Hugo Chavez and Bill Clinton’s Band

Greg Palast 

Why Venezuela has Voted Again for Their ”˜Negro e Indio’ President

There’s so much BS and baloney thrown around about Venezuela that I may be violating some rule of US journalism by providing some facts. Let’s begin with this: 77% of Venezuela’s farmland is owned by 3% of the population, the ‘hacendados.’ …more

Venezuela Floridated

Greg Palast 

Will The Gang That Fixed Florida Fix the Vote in Caracas this Sunday?

Hugo Chavez drives George Bush crazy. Maybe it’s jealousy: Unlike Mr. Bush, Chavez, in Venezuela, won his Presidency by a majority of the vote. …more

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ with Hugo

Greg Palast 

In Caracas.

Hugo Chavez has an attitude problem. Only last April the Venezuelan president escaped a kidnapping by the Chairman of the nation’s Chamber of Commerce. This weekend, Chavez is facing a recall petition by the angry rich of Venezuela. He also faces the wrath of an angry rich American president who does not appreciate Chavez’ bad attitude toward globalization a la Rumsfeld.

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