NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Two Visions of Venezuela Contend in April 14th Elections


    Miguel Tinker Salas: The Presidential elections in Venezuela will decide if the socialist transformation will continue or a pro-US elite will return to power -   April 18, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    Since I happily discovered TRNN, I have noticed the great strides it has made with having numerous reporters on the ground in important sites - Jennifer Humiston
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Miguel Tinker-Salas is a professor of History and Latin American studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He is co-author of Venezuela: Hugo Chavez and the Decline of an Exceptional Democracy and author of Under the Shadow of the Eagles and The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela. His latest book is Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know.

    Transcript

    Two Visions of Venezuela Contend in April 14th ElectionsPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    [snip] the elections in Venezuela [snip] April 14 to decide who is going to become the new president following the death of Hugo Chavez.

    Now joining us to talk about some of these developments is Miguel Tinker Salas. He's a professor of Latin American history at Pomona College in California. He's published and lectured widely on Venezuelan politics. And he is from Venezuela. He's author of the book Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela and a soon to be released book, Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know.

    Thanks for joining us again, Miguel.

    MIGUEL TINKER SALAS, PROF. LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY, POMONA COLLEGE: Thank you very much.

    JAY: So we're going to get into kind of the two different visions for Venezuela in a minute. But before we do, let's start with the main--one of the main accusations, you could say, of the opposition against Maduro and the Venezuelan party he leads is that they're using a lot of resources of the state to reelect Maduro. They're saying military officers that are supposed to be neutral are coming out in support of Maduro. They're talking about him having, you know, unequal access to state-owned media. Anyway, what do you make of that, that this isn't very equal in terms of how the state gets used?

    TINKER SALAS: I'm not quite sure I accept the argument. First of all, the idea that Capriles Radonski somehow doesn't have the same kind of presence in Venezuela, I think, is an error. The reality is that he has the presence in Venezuela. He's been a candidate for the opposition in the October election against Chavez, in which Chavez defeated him by close to 11 different points. He has been part of the Venezuelan political scene since the 1980s. He has access to all the private channels in Venezuela. He has access to all the social networks in Venezuela. He has access to the international media, which has been running very, very favorable articles about him in Venezuela, and abroad as well, which always get replayed in Venezuela.

    Undoubtedly, the incumbent in this case, Maduro, because he has the benefit of being in the presidency for the time being, enjoys a certain amount of benefit from that. But the idea is that the media is still primarily controlled by the private sector in Venezuela. The government-controlled media, the TV channels and radio channels, are actually a very small portion--less than 20 percent--of the actual media in Venezuela. So if we look at the print media, the digital media, the television media, most of it is in private hands and most of it has been very supportive of Capriles Radonski. He has a presence in Venezuela. He has a voice in Venezuela. And he's there ever-present, as well as internationally.

    JAY: So let's get into more the substance of the difference between the two leaders. Capriles, the opposition leader, has been talking more like a sort of social democrat and essentially talking about a sort of Chavez program and sort of having a social safety net, but only executed more efficiently. I mean, to what extent do these two leaders represent two different visions for Venezuela?

    TINKER SALAS: I think we have two different visions, two different programs, and two visions of the nation, because if one has to go beyond the rhetoric that Capriles is using to try to get elected, if you go back to the October election that Chavez defeated Capriles, the MUD, the M-U-D, the national unity table for the opposition actually had a very long set of principles that included discussions that sounded very much like a neoliberal program, talking about privatizing the oil company, talking about reversing the course of the international policies adopted by Venezuela, talked about recasting Venezuela's role in the region, realigning itself with the U.S. in ways that had been done in the past.

    And I think that overall what we see coming out of the opposition is still very much that. They want to return Venezuela to what they imagine Venezuela was before 1998--a faithful ally of the U.S., a country that was an oil-producing country whose oil enterprise, PDVSA, was a leading multinational. And they were on their way to privatizing the oil company. So I think that that largely is still the vision that drives--. And the other part of that is the return to the privileges enjoyed by a middle class and an elite sector of society that was willing to sustain 60 percent of the population living in poverty, inequality, high crime rate.

    And I think the other vision, somewhat eclectic and somewhat still undeveloped in the discussion of 21st-century socialism, has attempted to take and recast the nation, recast its past, its present, and its future, realign it with Latin America to establish it as a regional leader. Many of the promotion of the issues of regional integration that Venezuela took up in the 1990s, late 1990s, and 2000s are today a reality, the vision of the country that's different, that actually heightens it or relates it to its Afro-Latino heritage, its indigenous heritage, recognizing its indigenous past, recognizing its role as a Latin American country addressing inequality, taking the national oil company and actually using its profits for social investment, upwards of a 60 percent increase in social investment to reduce poverty, inequality, to have social movements, to have social councils, to have community organizations. It's a whole different vision of the country, and I think there are two visions, two models, and two interpretations of what the future of Venezuela should be like.

    JAY: So if you read or watch American media, I don't know that the name Chavez ever got mentioned, including after his death, without the word dictator in front of it. And they would kind of explain that the fact that he would win election after election and still call him a dictator was that these oil profits get used in order to sort of gain votes amongst the poor, and so they vote for him, but it doesn't mean that he isn't still acting like a dictator once he's voted in. I mean, that's sort of the predominant narrative in American media. What do you make of it?

    TINKER SALAS: I think if you were to rely on the U.S. media to understand Venezuela or even Latin America, you would really not have the basis with which to understand it. It would seem like this quandary to you, because how do you explain a country that was one of the number-one U.S. allies in the region, a model democracy which the U.S. promoted, its ally in the UN and the OAS, and then you simply say, well, Chavez shifted it all?

    No, I don't think Chavez shifted it all. There was a glaring inequality in Venezuela that was heightened by the fact that it was an oil-producing country, and it had the resources with which to address the question of inequality, then chose not to. And that's the reality of why Chavez came to power, and the fact that it was fueled by the existence of social movements. It wasn't simply two parties that knew how to transition democracy and how to efficiently run a society. It was not that. That was not the reality.

    And much of what we read in the media, then, doesn't really give us the insight, because you're right: they say, well, he reduced poverty, but he was a dictator. He reduced poverty, but he was an anti-U.S. element. He helped regional integration and promote regional integration, but the reality is that many of the countries in the region now chart their own course. It's always from the framework of what is in the interest of the U.S. and not what's in the interest of the Latin American countries.

    JAY: What do you make of the report that comes from Human Rights Watch? I mean, Human Rights Watch has been very critical of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and other places in the world. When it comes to Venezuela, Human Rights Watch has been part of this, you know, you could say chorus declaring Chavez essentially a dictator. I'm not sure if Human Rights Watch uses exactly the word dictator, but they talk about, you know, grave violations of human rights. They point to the jailing of this Supreme Court judge particularly and the closing of a TV station. And they seem to time their reports, I have to say, to be very connected to when there's elections. It seems to me if you're going to do a Human Rights Watch report like that, it shouldn't come out just weeks before an election. That seems to be the pattern. But set that aside. What do you make of their, you know, very harsh critique on the human rights side?

    TINKER SALAS: I think it really in some ways exposes their hand, because if you look at what they're saying in Venezuela, as you say, it seems to be very political-oriented. And many of their reports rely primarily on opposition sources. They have not done the groundwork, research to prove that these arguments exist. They put together a context, but then they don't explain the situation in which it developed.

    Yes, there was a judge arrested, but that judge was also involved in releasing a person that had been arrested for corruption and fraud, so that there's really not a context in which to understand these so-called human rights violations.

    And they speak of the need for separations of powers as if that was something that had existed previously. I think we all would like to see a separation of powers, the independence of these different powers--the judiciary, the presidency, the congress. But the reality is much more complex in Venezuela. And it's the same thing when it relates to other countries in Latin America. Why wait in Mexico, for example, to come out with Human Rights Watch report at the end of the Calderon administration when we knew all along that these issues were happening, so that one needs to--one always questions the political timing of many of these reports when what they're talking about has been known for quite some time?

    JAY: Alright. We're going to be asking a representative from Human Rights Watch to see if they'll come on The Real News and talk about this.

    Thanks very much for joining us, Miguel.

    TINKER SALAS: Thank you very much. Have a good day.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Resegregation of American Schools
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting