I spent my last week in picturesque Caracas, the far away capital city of Venezuela. And, incidentally, the weekend coincided with the sixth anniversary of the coup against the Constitutionally-elected Presidency of Hugo Chavez. I spent some time talking to Venezuelans – young and old -middle class and from the poor – from the barrios of urban Caracas. The subject was the eventful three days of the second week of April – six years back- that shook not only Caracas, but the entire country- which is the gateway to the South Americas and Caribbean.
Our discussion reinvigorated my memories of the coup against the elected president and the reawakening of this country inhabited by a little over 26 million people. That since this coup - this man who occupies the presidential palace in Caracas has become the number one enemy of the White House and the US establishment is a fact which has become much clichéd .But that this enmity has endeared Hugo Chavez as somewhat of a darling and an icon of rebellion, not only in his own Venezuela and her people but the whole of Latin America was evident. Right before my eyes, the sea of red – men and women – sporting all kinds of red t shirts and headgears and skirts celebrated the sixth anniversary of the people's victory to defeat the coup. The huge human sea was rising like a wave greeting Hugo Chavez near the very bridge which was the scene of action which acted as the trigger for the reprehensible attempt to overturn the Constitution, six years back.
The scene this April 13 in Caracas also brought back to me memories of a memorable film – a documentary that I had seen a couple of years back. The film was made by an Irish duo – Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Brian – that had been in Venezuela during those fateful days of 2002 to document the life, times and the work of President Hugo Chavez and the revolutionary process that he was leading. Fortuitously, the Irish film makers were in a position to make this film which bares the entire machinations of the conspirators and the leaders of the coup – obviously including those in the White House itself.
But the purpose of this column is not to pen a travelogue of my days in Venezuela or recounting my exchanges with several vibrant people that I met there. The remarkable film – captioned very aptly but at the same time somewhat sarcastically - `Revolutions cannot be televised' – brings back candidly the memory of what havoc the corporate media played in the enacting of the coup. That the free world lapped it up comes alive in the film with promptitude that the White House spokesman recognizes the protagonists of an unconstitutional coup as a legitimate government brings out the political patronage that these free media receive. That the Venezuelan people had to be disempowered in terms of access to real information by the forcible closing down of the official broadcast and telecast of the television and radio stations is a pointer to what role media controlled by the global corporatocracy is playing in international politics today.
Yes. That is what this column is all about. The televised protest by `human right activists' and a handful of `free Tibet protestors' are now consuming much of our television prime time and column centimeters of mainstream electronic and print media. And, no doubt, the very same political objective is at work from Athens to London, Paris and, now in India, everywhere the very same scenario is being enacted and reenacted in different parts of the world.
It is another matter that the modern Olympic Games as envisaged by Baron Coubertin were essentially a celebration of not only the collective human prowess and creativity of our athletes but also for world peace, universal brotherhood and harmony. That does not dampen the spirit of Nicholas Sarkozy or Hillary Rodham Clinton or the apologia of western imperialism. China, the new emerging Asian giant is to be demonized. And, the western world has just 'tasted blood' in Kosovo. Therefore, now the moment of reckoning has arrived.
Even the most strident critiques of China have not been able to blow up the number of dead in Tibet beyond three figures during the disturbances in the beginning of March. That these disturbances were triggered by violent and armed Buddhist monks smuggled from across the Chinese boundary; that Tibet has not yet been recognized diplomatically by any member of the United Nations as anything but an autonomous region of People's Republic of China seems to be of no relevance.
That Dalai Lama- the 'revered apostle of peace' himself talks of resolution of the Tibet question only within the framework of 'one China' does not deter these self appointed trustees of human rights and world's collective conscience and their media backers from flaunting the photographs of 'His Holiness' is another question!
Kosovo has shown that under the watchful eyes of the occupying NATO forces the separatists in a small geographic domain can be legitimized as a government of independent nation. Those who find their legitimacy in shambles in the continued occupation in Iraq or Afghanistan or Palestine are out to wreak havoc on the very concept of sovereignty of the nation-state. So uphold the cause of 'Free Tibet'-howsoever preposterous its tenability may be!
India has been a victim of such propaganda in the past on the Kashmir question. But so what? George Fernandes', Arunadhati Roys and the gentlemen of the BJP must make a common cause with Clintons and Sarkozys of the world. If six years back the poor from the barrios of Caracas proved that 'Revolutions cannot be televised' does not mean it equally holds good for disinformation of 'counter-revolutions'. What else is the purpose of increasingly corporatised media the world over?