An opinion writer at Aporrea.org, Ivana Cardinale, has pinned down the real reasons why the US is so "concerned" about all those nationalizations--and the non-renewal of broadcast licence to a right-wing TV station whose main contribution to Venezuelan culture has been its soap operas. Here's a snip:
We Venezuelans are on the point of witnessing a coup d'etat against our president for the third time. The reason for this latest coup is NOT the end of RCTV's broadcast licence, much less the brothel of expression which we see and hear daily thanks to the media whores. RCTV is the mask Washington needs.
The State Dept. NEVER assassinates presidents or destroys governments over the end of a foreign channel's broadcast licence. Bush couldn't care less about RCTV or Granier.
The only thing that would move the empire to commit assassinations and coups d'etat in other countries is ENERGY, and failing that, natural resources.
The real reason is the nationalization of the Orinoco oilfields which happened about a month ago. Nothing more, nothing less. It's the ORINOCO, THE BIGGEST RESERVE IN THE WORLD. But...does no one see that?
The measures taken by Chavez infuriated Bush, drove him and his transnational oil buddies crazy. Had Chavez not nationalized the Orinoco reserves, believe me, the country would be totally calm and no one would care about RCTV or mobilize students to protest on behalf of the media whorehouse.
When Chavez nationalized [phone company] CANTV and Caracas Electricity, the empire was pretty pissed, but the nationalization of the Orinoco reserves was the final straw. Chavez dared to put a stop to the theft of our energy on the part of the "greengos". That was sufficient motive for the US State Dept. to assassinate or overthrow Chavez.
I think Ivana has nailed it. Freedom of speech be damned; anyone who's seen a sampling of RCTV's "speech" would agree that their trashy programming isn't worth funneling US taxpayer money to dubious "student groups" (many of them headed by suspiciously over-aged "students"!)
And, in fact, free speech was never the issue. No more than free enterprise was the issue when CANTV and Caracas Electricity were nationalized. Both those decisions were "of grave concern" to Washington, but for the people of Venezuela, they were very popular and long overdue. Since CANTV was nationalized, President Chavez has announced that its rates will be cut and its coverage expanded to areas lacking regular phone service. Moreover, there will be more landlines. Venezuela has an inordinate number of cellphones, since the landline service there has been sporadic and unreliable--thank you, Free Enterprise, for another fine fuck-up. (And thank you, Chavecito, for having the cojones to un-fuck it.)
But the major media here are either paid propaganda organs or useful idiots. (The right-wing bloggers are both of the above, and often just plain idiots.) They keep overlooking the fact that RCTV had a rap sheet longer than your arm. Its licence to use the public airwaves was simply expired, and it is not being renewed for various reasons--everything from infractions against anti-porn and anti-violence laws passed before Chavez, to labor abuses including non-payment of its own hard-working talent, to--what was that last one again? Oh yeah, TREASON.
Just ask yourselves, people--if FOX News Channel were broadcasting 24/7 incitements to oust Bush, how long do you think they'd stay on the air? Do you suppose anyone would wait till THEIR licence was up for renewal before deciding to yank it? That channel is putrid and filthy, lousy with labor abuses (Bill Oh-Really, phone-molesting his producer, comes to mind) and rife with lies and lying liars, but how lucky for them that they're firmly attached at the lip to BushCo's collective scrotum. Even their token Democrats are, for the most part, mealy-mouthed go-alongs, the kind of cowards who'd never say shit even if they had a mouthful of it. No chance that they'd ever offend Der Bushler, except accidentally.
And no chance that they'd ever look hard at the truth. Just ask Jane Akre and Steve Wilson; bless their hearts, they tried. FUX shafted them most shamefully, and in the process it was determined that the US news media can lie and the law won't compel them to be truthful.
I bring that all up not as a digression but as a way of backing my truck into the truth. If the US media can legally lie about a major corporation and its unsafe products--in the case of FUX, it was Monsanto and its bovine growth hormone, Posilac--what else are they not legally obligated to be truthful about?
Surely not, oh, say, Hugo Chavez and RCTV, and the real reason for all this hoopla, which is not the silencing of Venezuela's oldest TV station?
Surely not the nationalization of the Orinoco oilfields, and the relegation of all foreign firms pumping oil there to junior-partner status in joint ventures with Venezuela's national oil company, PDVSA?
Surely not the fact that broadcast licences have been yanked in several other countries, all to no foreign fanfare at all, let alone alarm bells in Washington?
And surest of all--the fact that free speech has dick-all to do with this in reality?
If "free speech" means the right to lie with impunity, then yeah, free speech is definitely under threat in Venezuela. But if it means the right to state one's opinion and be heard, and to have a participative say in democracy, then no, FUCK NO, it's NOT under threat in Venezuela at all. Quite the contrary. The station that went up on Channel 2 (RCTV's old roost) is far more democratic and free of speech than RCTV ever was. Its content is generated by a greater spectrum of people. Its purpose is to give voice to the Venezuelan people--to show the country as it really is. This stands in sharp contrast to RCTV, whose only purpose, so far as I could tell, was to stuff the already well-lined pockets of Marcel Granier, and to be his faithful mouthpiece.
And if Granier said something was to be muzzled, like say Chavistas, by God, the gags came out fast. Ask Andres Izarra about that "cero Chavismo en pantalla" policy sometime. Now that he works for another network--the multinational TeleSur, South America's answer to CNN--he is free to talk. Mind you, in order for him to do so, it was first necessary for that evil, wicked media-censoring Chavez to set up a whole new channel, AND get other countries to sign on as co-sponsors. Seems a rather long way to go to assure freedom of speech, but it sure as hell beats getting a bunch of "student leaders" with money from the US State Dept. to whip up a guarimba, doesn't it?
And if you're gonna fling phrases like free speech around, it would behoove you to meditate long and hard on what it means to use it. Starting with a single word that's harder to spit out, mainly because it's harder to swallow: RESPONSIBILITY. Responsibility to use your speech in the service of freedom, not bullshit. Responsibility to tell the truth, the whole truth. You have the right to have your own opinion--which we all do--but you are not entitled to your own facts. Any news outlet that reports only the RCTV side of the story, and not what's really behind it, is fucking with the truth. It is well established that RCTV and its cohorts, Globovision, Venevision and Televen (among others) have been doing that for some time--aided and abetted by the tentacles of the US Senate, the State Dept., the CIA and numerous North American news outlets and supposed human-rights organizations like Reporters Without Borders. Part and parcel of true freedom of speech is holding them accountable for that.
But then again, this is really not about free speech, which is in no danger in Venezuela. It's about the oil, stupid. The only three-letter four-letter word in the vocabulary of the free-speech fascists, it seems.