Friday, March 04, 2005

Televised Revolution

At the risk of sounding like an inveterate watcher of left-leaning documentaries, I have another one to recommend. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is an irish-made film on the attempted coup on the government of Hugo Chavez in April 2002. The film-makers picked a fortuitous time to be in Caracas making a film on Chavez -- just when some people tried to overthrow his government, and managed to get some jaw-dropping footage of it all from within the presidential palace. Whatever your political point of view, I'd recommend watching this film to simply get a chance to see a coup taking place from close-up.

In brief: Venezuela is a land of great oil wealth (third largest producer of oil in the world?), but also a land of great inequality. Chavez, an outsider to the ruling class, is democratically elected in 1998, replacing the two parties that have dominated Venezuelan politics until that point. [The film does say that Chavez had previously attempted his own coup in the early 90's (and failed) and served time in jail as a consequence]. I'm not surprised that the ruling elite does not like him -- what with his talk of redistributing wealth (especially oil wealth) and all. But Chavez has devoted supporters, especially among Venezuela's working class. On April 12th 2002, the old guard manage to take control of the palace and hold Chavez prisoner. Chavez's supporters pour out onto the streets and surround the presidential palace, and this inspires some palace guards to retake control of it and hand it back to Chavez (within a couple of days).

One of the more fascinating aspects of the film is the manipulation of media. All the private TV-channels,owned by the old guard, are rabidly anti-chavez, while the president gets to use the state-owned channel as his mouthpiece. A lot of the action during the attempted coup is the tussle for control of that state channel. There is an interview with a journalist, who used to work with a private news channel, who quit when asked to edit footage to make it look like it was Chavez's supporters that were the cause of the violence. The reaction of the US government (via Ari Fleischer) to the overthrow of a democratically elected president is something like "he had it coming". The NY times had a similar take on it in their editorial the next day.

I make no claims for the objectivity of the film-makers, but Chavez does come through as a very sympathetic figure. I'd highly recommend watching the movie from start to finish (though I was deprived of the last ten minutes because of a faulty video cassette), but if you can't wait to watch the whole thing you can see an excerpt here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Once again after crash Nifty has started going up. Now we suggest all rises should be used as an opportunity to exit old long positions.
This bull run will continue for few more days. Overall market is in bearish mood as in medium term its just a small rally due to short covering
and result season.

Happy Trading,


1/21/2009 12:12:00 AM  

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