Latin America’s True Leaders

Oliver Stone: “Rafael Correa is now being cast as one of the ‘bad left’.”
[President of Ecuador] Rafael Correa: “…knowing the North American media, I would be more worried if they spoke well of me.”

It is a personal rule of mine that everything a politician says is a lie or a bastardization of the truth until proven otherwise. This runs counter to my general attitude towards strangers, where I believe their words as truth unless I know or until I can prove otherwise. Politicians are corrupt, cowardly individuals who claim to be agents of democracy. The reality is, they are agents of plutocracy, and serve various business and lobby groups often at the expense of general social interests. The exception may be in Latin America. But let me first address my mistrust of North American politicians and the media that so often quote them.

A classic example of political/media incest is the Israel lobby and its nefarious influence on North American politics.Recently, Israel attacked a humanitarian flotilla off the coast of Gaza in the dead of night using naval commandos armed with assault rifles. 9 Turkish aid volunteers were murdered in cold blood. Did the media portray this as the atrocity it was? Not as far as I can tell. It merely parroted Israeli hasbara propaganda that somehow shooting activists multiple times in the head, because they were armed with sticks and deckchairs was a justified exercise in restrained self defence!

Now, contrast this with the words of Helen Thomas in the US, who recently said that Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home.” That resulted in outrage and the media was instrumental in having her fired in spite of the fact (or because of it?) that she was pretty much the only critical reporter in the White House Press Corps.

Compare also NDP politician Libby Davis in Canada. When she said she supported a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, and made the minor error that Israel had occupied Palestine since 1948 (arguably the occupation began in 1967, but those who reject the moral legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state could easily argue the occupation began in 1948 when Palestinian land was given to foreign Jews), the media treated the story as if she made some fatal error and focused on what consequences for such a transgression should be. Davies, being a mere politician, apologized even though her statements were a refreshing change from the Israeli talking points routinely parroted by North American politicians in media. Note how Canada’s National Post takes advantage of this event to attempt to delegitimize any discourse of Israel’s moral failings and how to characterize them. Note also the odd irony that mass murder on the high seas is looked at neutrally in mainstream media, while a logical questioning of Israel’s morality and legitimacy is somehow a cardinal sin that must be tarred and feathered for all to see.

Hence the interesting recent development in Latin America. Long a de facto economic colony of the United States, Latin America has recently witnessed a wave of elected officials who are actual representatives of the people. Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales are two examples of politicians who represent the social interests of the country and will not defer to the economic imperialism that ran rampant there in the 1980s and 1990s.

Yet look at how they are presented in North American media. Chavez is portrayed as a petty dictator who oppresses his people. Morales is portrayed as a radical linked to “to narco-trafficking and to the two most militant Latin American leaders: Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s leftist populist military strongman, and Fidel Castro.”

First of all, when the New York Times makes the strong allegation that Morales is linked to “narco-trafficking”, they’d do better to research that statement and provide proof, rather than merely accepting Pentagon and State Department press releases as gospel. If I want dogma, I’ll waste an hour of my life in a church on Sunday. When I read the news, I want facts, not insidious innuendo.

Second: links to Chavez and Castro? Well, considering Morales is Bolvia’s elected leader and the aforementioned are the heads of state in Venezuela and Cuba, two of the most significant economic and political powers in the region, I would hope he has links with them! Would the NYT rather heads of state not speak with foreign leaders? Or deal with them in any way? And why the hell are these links slyly inferred to be some kind of nefarious relationship? Where’s the evidence that this is in any way a bad thing?

Which leads me to the quote at the beginning of this entry. When Correa says he takes North American media slander as a complement, he realizes how entirely rotten and corrupt North American media is. There are numerous examples of North American media shystery, and rest assured I will expose as many examples of it as I can find. In the meantime, consider looking at alternative sources than North American media. Blogs and foreign media are just two examples of sources with more accurate information and which adhere to journalistic principles of objectivity, neutrality and integrity much better than most kinds of North American media do.

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