I recently featured an item that claimed Venezuelan President Hugh Chavez was seeking 25-year terms, perhaps in an attempt to rival his mate, Fidel Castro.
Alas, it appears Chavez was doing no such thing:
A little scrutiny of a recent Associated Press report about Venezuela provides a lesson in how the English-language press often gets the story wrong. Take the first sentence: “President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years.”
No, such a referendum would not be about “whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years.” A referendum would be about whether Chavez would be permitted to run every six years and – in the event that he were to continue winning elections – serve multiple presidential terms. The AP report’s opening sentence makes it sound as if such a referendum would do away with elections in Venezuela, as if its intent would be to grant Chavez a new 25-year term in office! The website of The Calgary Sun even titles the wire report “Chavez seeking 25-year term”!!
This is obviously an extremely poor piece of reporting. Chavez made it clear that, if the opposition committed to participating in the upcoming presidential election, he would not convoke a referendum to end presidential term limits. He explained that the intent of his threat to convoke such a referendum was not to perpetuate himself in power but rather to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.
Watch this space. Never underestimate the mainstream media’s desire to demonise Latin America at the expense of facts or reason.