Thursday, March 06, 2014

...Um ... By The Way

(Cartoon by Felipe Galindo and found at Cartoon Stock.  Click on image to enlarge.)

We've had non-stop coverage of the Russian "invasion" of the Ukraine for about a week now.  The latest is that the U.S. and the E.U. are offering loans/loan guarantees to the interim government in Kiev and the U.S. is still threatening Russia with economic sanctions of one kind or another.  We're getting plenty of information and we're getting an education on the history and geography of the area.  It's a serious situation and deserves all of the coverage.

That said, however, I'm a little puzzled by the lack of coverage for another area in crisis, one closer to home.  While there have been a few articles buried in newspapers, little, if anything, has been said on television for at least a week.  I did find something of recent vintage in my hometown newspaper from a few days ago:

From the March 2, 2014 Los Angeles Times:

Tens of thousands of students and other opponents of the Venezuelan government filled the streets of the capital Sunday, putting a damper on President Nicolas Maduro’s hopes that a mandated holiday might bring a respite to weeks of protests.

The march originated at four points near universities in Caracas that have been opposition hotbeds and converged on the Chacaito barrio where opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was arrested Feb. 18 for alleged incitement to violence.

Opposition leaders say the charges against Lopez are politically motivated and have demanded his release from the military prison where he is being held in isolation.

Each of the four “feeder” marches Sunday had a theme built around a complaint against the Maduro administration: justice, scarcities, freedom and censorship [Emphasis added]

OK, that's some coverage, but nowhere in the article could I find a statement from the White House or the State Department.  Apparently there has been none.

Here's what columnist Ruben Navarrette had to say about the silence from the White House:

In Venezuela, for the last few weeks, blood has stained the streets of Caracas and other major cities. It started with massive student protests on Feb. 12 against the social and economic "crisis" plaguing the country -- corruption, high crime rates, skyrocketing inflation, etc. -- under a government they consider illegitimate. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro responded with violence, as if he were suppressing a coup attempt at all costs.

Former President Hugo Chavez was crazy. But what Maduro is doing -- using armed soldiers and plainclothes goons on motorcycles to beat and kill people in order to stifle dissent and keep power -- is flat-out criminal. The casualties are young people who look like they're barely old enough to order a drink in a bar. ...

This is how they roll at the intersection of socialism and fascism. ...

...the unrest is framed differently. When people rise up against their government in Ukraine, the media call it a revolution and present those stories in a positive light. But when it happens in Venezuela, you are not likely to hear the word "revolution" and you might hear it described as simple unrest.

It all amounts to a crisis in our backyard that President Obama is not up to dealing with. ...  [Emphasis added]

The Secretary General of the United Nations has stepped  up and urged negotiations among the parties, as has the Pope.  Yet all we hear from our government is the sound of crickets.

Maybe it's because Venezuela is a major petroleum producer, but that certainly didn't stop the E.U. from speaking out and many of its members rely on energy products from Russia.

Or maybe it's because the Venezuelans are ... well, brown ... non-European.

Whatever the reason, I find the silence of our president shameful.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Is Navarro telling us the real story?

Decade after decade, in South America and in the Middle East, there is a pattern.

A leader who stands up to "our" corporation is demonized and overthrown, often with our fingerprints all over it.

And our media helpfully supplies us with stirring propaganda. "These are the courageous freedom fighters, and this guy is the Hitler." And they don't miss a beat when they have to re-brand those same "freedom fighters" as "terrorists and militants" later, as happened in Afghanistan.

Maybe Leopoldo Lopez is a nice Harvard graduate who went back to Venezuela to help his people.

OTOH, we know that the CIA was involved in a coup against Chavez as recently as 2002.

3:32 PM  

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