Venezuelan Civil Society Groups Accuse U.S. of Fomenting Destabilization

6-03-07, 9:47 am

Caracas, May 31, 2007 (— Organizations, journalists, students, activists and intellectuals in Venezuela accused the national and international media of waging a campaign against Venezuela and of supporting destabilization plans that have been carried out in the country in the past few days. According to declarations made by various groups and individuals, the RCTV protests and media coverage of them have a hidden agenda directed by the United States and their Venezuelan allies to destabilize the country.

At a press conference yesterday in Caracas, more than six hundred different social organizations, including communal councils, political movements, collectives, community media, and cooperatives signed a document in rejecting the 'imperial interference to destabilize and overthrow the Bolivarian government.' The organizations support the Venezuelan government's decision not to renew the broadcast license of the private TV network RCTV and insist that the protests in the country are a part of an imperial strategy.

'The Venezuelan people forcefully reject the interference of the United States government in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Once again the CIA has put a destabilization plan in place with the objective of overthrowing the Bolivarian government and of assassinating President Hugo Chavez,' said the opening paragraph of the document.

Later in the document the text makes reference to recent revelations of 'documents that show the payment in dollars of journalists' from RCTV and Globovision 'by the government of the United States, through the National Endowment for Democracy, connected with the US State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency through Freedom House.'

The document assures that the plan seeks to create violence and deaths in the street with the intention of discrediting and weakening the government of Hugo Chavez.

In contradiction to the claims made by the media regarding freedom of expression in the country, the social organizations claim that RCTV and Globovision have systematically 'called for subversion, chaos, fascism, terrorism, and assassination.'

'These television channels have been spokespersons of foreign interests, specifically those of the Bush government, whose final objective is to overthrow and assassinate President Hugo Chavez,' they said.

Eva Golinger, Venezuelan-American attorney and author of the recent book Bush vs. Chavez, affirmed these declarations yesterday, calling on all Venezuelans to be aware of the media offensive on the part of national and international media with the intention of destabilizing the country.

'We have to be very aware that there are actors that are looking to create a scenario that later is going to justify what they want, which is an international intervention, above all from the United States,' said Golinger.

Journalists and students in Venezuela have also denounced the media campaign in recent days. Journalist Ernesto Villegas assured that part of the destabilization plan surrounding the case of RCTV includes an immense media operation to create a situation similar to the 2002 coup attempt.

'Here what they are looking for is a death,' said Villegas on the state television channel VTV yesterday. 'The opposition media insists on stressing the peaceful nature of the protests, but, in reality, we have been able to observe that they aren't of that nature. We can see a clear intention to destabilize through the use of violence and provocation,' he said.

Students who support the government from various universities across the country also came out against the media campaign. In a statement released yesterday the students rejected the destabilization plan and warned the Venezuelan people to not be deceived.

'We, the university students, denounce before the country and the world the destabilization plan that is being promoted by the private media that respond to the interests of the national and transnational elite,' said the statement. 'With this behavior they are trying again to break the constitutional order.'

'We reject and condemn the manipulation of the private media who use the freedom of expression guaranteed by law, to 'denounce' a supposed abuse of that right on the part of the government,' they said.

'Likewise, we repudiate the use of that lie to alter the public order and peace, with the intention of creating situations similar to the events of April 11th 2002, and during the oil strike of 2002 and 2003.'

Some Argentinean intellectuals also came out against what they called a 'disturbing' campaign in the international press earlier this week. Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, filmmaker Fernando Pino Solanas, and sociologists Atilio Boron and Alcira Argumedo all condemned the campaign for trying to 'convince the world' of the supposed 'closure' of RCTV. According to the intellectuals, the media campaign is a 'dangerous escalation of disinformation that could serve as a platform for other plans by Washington.'

For a full listing of the groups that signed the statement, see: