Sunday, May 13, 2007

If you watch just one video of Marcel Granier…. 

In most parts of the world the private media is owned by a handful of very rich individuals who then have the privilege of deciding what everyone else gets to read and watch on Television. Venezuela is no exception to this. For example, the Venezuelan media magnate Gustavo Cisneros is a multi-billionaire who is one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Another Venezuelan media magnate is Marcel Granier who is the owner of the soon to be defunct RCTV. It is more than a little ironic that he is only gaining international notoriety just as he is about to become a good deal less relevant inside Venezuela.

In spite of his low international profile this man was smack dab in the middle of the turmoil that afflicted Venezuela from 2001 to 2004. From helping overthrow a government, to egging on a devastating oil “strike”, to running 24/7 anti-Chavez propaganda during elections this man has done it all.

Now he is busy making the rounds trying to explain why, from his perspective, it is so unjust that RCTV is losing its broadcast license. Personally, I hope he keeps it up. Every time he opens his mouth to spout yet more lies it gives people outside Venezuela more of a chance to see what the anti-Chavez Venezuelan opposition is like and what Chavez has been dealing with for all these years.

In this 15 minute video Marcel Granier speaks before a small group of handpicked journalists to give his accounting of recent Venezuelan history. The video then contrasts this with what actually happened. The video is also very interesting because is gives good footage of some very key events. I highly recommend that everyone watch it in full

[As the video is in Spanish I will give some explanations and commentary at key points referenced by the time on the video]

13:47 Granier talks about how they didn’t want to show what was going on in the days following the coup because it was horrible looting, people killing each other, and authorities protecting looters, etc. The video immediately following that shows people protesting for Chavez’s return being shot by police. Example number one of Granier’s mendacity. Of course it is perfectly clear why RCTV wouldn’t want to show that.

11:52 Granier complains about the government supposedly using “cadenas” (government TV broadcasts) to block what opposition figures such as Carlos Ortega were trying to say. Yet we then see the actual clips of Carlos Ortega (the head of the main union confederation) calling for an indefinite strike, followed by Pedro Carmona, head of the main business federation, also calling for an indefinite strike. Interesting a so-called union leader and a business leader would be working hand in hand for an indefinite strike. They wouldn’t have been trying to overthrow the government would they?

11:06 Carlos Ortega speaking to the opposition rally at Chuao on April 11th sends the marchers on to the presidential palace saying: “On to Miraflares, strongly, to get out the traitor to the Venezuelan people”. Right there began the coup and all the illegal and violent events that were to follow.

10:45 Granier says that the authorities knew that there was likely to be violence that day and then says “I don’t understand how the public authorities didn’t use the police at their disposal to prevent the march from reaching the place where it ultimately went to”. Considering RCTVs role in these events this is really an outrageous statement. For example, we then see the opposition governor of Miranda state, Enrique Mendoza, on top of a truck exhorting the crowd on to Miraflores. Not only did RCTV show this but note at the bottom of the screen it had the message “Ni un paso atras” – not one step back. This is yet more clear evidence that RCTV wasn’t simply reporting on the coup – it played an active roll in assisting it and helping to bring it about.

10:05 Here Granier pats himself on the back for continuing to work under difficult conditions where, according to him, there were lots of violent, drunk, and drugged people on the street.

9:45 Here begins video of the thousands upon thousands of ordinary Venezuelans who took to the streets to defend democracy and demand the return of Chavez. According to opposition mythology these people don’t exist as they like to pretend there were very few people protesting for Chavez’s return. Unfortunately for that myth, the video tape says otherwise.

7:11 Here Granier gives his opinion of the people you just saw protesting against the coup: “It was a shameful day for liberty in Venezuela; the use of armed mobs, drunk, manipulated, to terrorize the public” What can you say? I guess some people just have a different perspective on things than I do.

4:37 After a repeat of Granier calling people defending democracy a drunk and violent mob we see people demanding that the television channels, which had been hiding the demonstrations calling for Chavez’s return by playing cartoons and old movies, show what was really happening in the country.

3:54 Here are some very poignant statements by a Chavez supporter: “If they have had us vote on a president through 6 or 7 elections they have to respect our votes. They can’t just pass over the will of the people. The people is the majority. You can’t call us a mob just because you live in Country Club [one of the wealthiest areas of Caracas]. We are the people, we have feelings, we have a heart. We don’t want there to be a civil war in Venezuela”.

3:05 Here is a very good example of how dishonest Granier is. Here he recounts to his little select audience how on Saturday April 13th he went to Miraflores for a meeting with “President Carmona” from which he had to leave “quickly, very quickly” (the Chavistas were about to take back Miraflores). Contrast that to the following clip where he rudely upbraids a reporter for asserting that he was at Miraflores saying “I wasn’t at Miraflores supporting anything, I wasn’t there”. As is normal for a pathological liar, to one group of people he recounts how he was at Miraflores meeting with Carmona, to a different group he claims he was never there. Seeing this, people can decide for themselves how much they want to believe what this man says and whether they want him deciding what information millions of people get each day. [for the record he was there – they show a video clip of him there at 1:51]

I think people will agree this was a pretty revealing and informative 15 minutes. From the plotting Carmona and Ortega, to the open call for a coup, to RCTV not reporting but instead participating in the coup, to the Venezuelan people risking their lives to defend their democracy and on to just the everyday mendacity of the Venezuelan opposition which Granier embodies so well, we really get exposed to a lot of what has happened in Venezuela in this one short video.

We can see clearly the pernicious role of RCTV in the events of 2002 and it should be more than clear why know responsible government would allow such a station to keep broadcasting over the public airwaves.


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