Pat Robertson and Venezuela

The photo is of a community garden in Caracas Venezuela, operated by the Maiz Rebelde group which provides "pesticide-free and affordable food for people" was one of a series posted as to its "Venezuela: Urban Agriculture"August 7, 2005 at San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center.

On Monday, August 22, televangelist Pat Robertson seemed to call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. I don't watch the 700 Club, but here is a transcript from the CNN Live report which aired the next day.

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.

Given the United States administrations' record of destablizing governments set me on a search of the internet to find out some more about Chavez. Here's what I found.

First read this quote today...

Marcela Sanchez, "Dealing with the Good and Bad Hugo Chavez" in today's Washington Post:

The success of democracies in Latin America hinges on the ability of their economies to reduce poverty and inequality, the true source of resentment and instability. Chavez's impact can go either way -- at times increasing instability, at times reducing it.

Watch everyone laugh at Pat Robertson...

Watch "Pat Sounds" on Jon Stewart or check out Al Franken. But I had to wonder why they and their guests were only ridiculing Robertson for the assasination part, rather than the dictator part.

Read a little about what's been going on in Venezuela...

The people of Venezuala originally elected Chavez president in 1998 for a five-year term. Of 76.12 percent of the counted votes, Hugo Chavez won 2.87 million, representing 56.34 percent of the counted votes, as compared to 2.02 million, or 39.59 percent, for Henrique Salas, his close challenger, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Since then he has been re=elected after a new constitution in 2000, survived a coup and a recall. He invited the The Carter Center in to help from 2002 to 2005, which in its final report reiterated that it had "noted, on numerous and frequent occasions, the remarkable democratic culture of the nation, as well as the continuous effort to privilege the roads of dialogue and cooperation in order to overcome the deep divisions."

Then wonder why that's not in the media...

One of the most interesting articles was by Mark Weisbrot writing "Venezuela's recall: The other side of the story" in the the 9/29/03 International Herald Tribune. Comparing Bush's policy towards Iraq (and we know what a mess that is), he wrote,

Now there is another example of the triumph of misinformation, which not coincidentally again concerns an oil-rich country where the U.S. government seeks ''regime change.'' Venezuela. This time, however, it is not a dictatorship but a democracy that is under attack.

He noted the skewed media coverage in the U.S. and ended with the suggestion that, "
Those who want to hear the other side of the story or even get a rough idea of what is actually going on had better be prepared to spend some time digging around on the Internet.


Weisbrot is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He can be reached at weisbrot@cepr.net.

UPDATE (1/14/07) I imported this entry in Blogger to link with my new coverage of Rev. Robertson. As it was only my second post, I didn't even note the name of the photographer or whether there was a link to another source when I checked, the article from which I originally took this picture was no longer available online. And yet it somehow reappeared. Perhaps it has something to do with the woes the S.F. Indy Media Center experienced in 2007.

This year, in particular, was hard for us. Just as we were internally ready to launch a whole new SF-IMC that we believe would revolutionize the way IMC's are used, there was an enormous server crisis. It was announced that ahimsa was going to stop hosting IMC sites. And it was announced that CCCP, where many IMC's were hosted, was also powering off. It fell on a small group of people to solve this crisis. To our credit, we founded a new non-profit, set up a new co-location facility, and now things are back to running smoothly for all the IMC's that were at risk. All of them, that is, except for San Francisco Indymedia. We were always that last ones to receive attention because we were working to help other IMC's first.
When I looked for another copy of the picture, I found these wonderful photographs of the Caracas community gardens from Swords into Ploughshares, an August 6th - September 18th, 2004 show at DeLeon White Gallery, with photographs by from Carmen Victor (email), a curatorial assistant presently on leave from Toronto's Blackwood Gallery and with text by Richard Rhodes, editor of Canadian Art Magazine.

I also found this photo essay by Emma Lynch for the BBC. (Hat tip to Oil Wars)