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That was interesting, sort of ...
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Got an email from the BBC World Radio Service asking me if I'd be interested in appearing on the show "World Have Your Say". They were interviewing journalist John Pilger who is a huge fan of Hugo Chavez and has a film coming out this friday about Latin America and democracy there.

The person who contacted me asked me if I'd be interested in asking him some questions. I said, yes indeed, sign me up. So we had a phone conversation and got all the essential info transmitted (name, blog, etc). About an hour later they called, and put me on hold awaiting my time in the box.

Interestingly just before I got on Tim Worstall, who I assume was also contacted by BBC, was on the show. His experience, unfortunately matched mine:
Well, that was a waste of time and effort.
Tim feels he made a fool of himself. I didn't think so. However, Tim did, at least get a follow up question, something I wasn't given.

So, after hearing Pilger call Venezuela a "popular democracy", I asked "given the fact that Chavez is ruling the country by decree as a virtual autocrat, and given that the hallmarks of a democratic nation are accountability and limits on power, how in the world can you characterize Venezuela as a "democracy"?"

Well, of course he didn't agree with my premise or characterization and I had to sit and listen to him compare a US president's signing statement as the same as Chavez ruling his country by decree. But as I began to ask my follow-up question (and it was some good stuff), boom, they moved on to someone else.

Grrrrr ....

It was interesting though. The two Venezuelans who got through made it very clear that Pilger really was spouting a lot of nonsense and, as one of them said, "I find it hard to believe he's even been to Venezuela if he thinks his description is a good one".

Oh, one other interesting thing said by Pilger. He didn't feel Venezuela was a socialist nation at all.

Guess he missed the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly's chilling declaration as she handed the power to rule by decree over to Chavez:
Fatherland, socialism or death!
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Glad they got ahold of you, they came into chat looking for people. I told them to try e-mail.

Sounds like it was hilarious, Venezuela’s a democracy hahaha, satire? right?... :-/
Written By: Shinobi
Well it’s not REALLY socialism until they start up the gulags and we see mass starvation.

But don’t worry...those are coming soon.
Written By: TS Elmo
URL: http://
The hard question is what to do we do about this tendency. Trying to support a coup only embarrassed the US and ended up making Chavez even less responsive. There are also similar movements in other Latin American countries. Does it really work to simply try to isolate and oppose such governments? Castro’s been in power for 48 years, after all!
Written By: Scott Erb
"The hard question is what to do we do about this tendency."

Uh, fight it? It really is not in anyone’s interest to pine after narrative "truths" when the reality on the ground is light-years away from that image.

"Castro’s been in power for 48 years, after all!"

And he hasn’t exactly been a major player in the region for almost the past 20. That is really not the point though. The point is that there are many among us that need to seriously disabuse themselves of any notions of "democracy" when discussing Chastrez...Cavez...Chastro...oh, nevermind.
Written By: D
URL: http://
Great question Scott!!

A missile disappears in Chile, but the CIA has other problems: Chavez gives an oil contract to China, cutting out a US company that promptly fires its immigrant workers and merges with a small firm that has landed an Iraqi oil contract. The Department of Justice suspects bribery, and the oil company’s law firm finds a scapegoat. The CIA also needs one when its plot to kill Chavez fails. Agent Bob Barnes, the fall guy, sorts out the double cross. An American economist parlays the death of his son into a contract to advise Chavez who the CIA wants dead. The jobless Venezuelans join a fundamentalist group. All roads start and end in the oil fields.

Sounds like a new course for good old U of Maine!!

Please fill me in with more of your astute self sustaining conjecture and foolish narrative.
Written By: coaster
URL: http://

And he hasn’t exactly been a major player in the region for almost the past 20. That is really not the point though. The point is that there are many among us that need to seriously disabuse themselves of any notions of "democracy" when discussing Chastrez...Cavez...Chastro...oh, nevermind
Well, yeah, but Pilger isn’t exactly mainstream. And if Chavez didn’t have oil (and couldn’t share the oil wealth), he’d have been out long ago. This is in some ways less about socialism but more about how oil wealth corrupts and leads those in power to want to scheme to keep it — there’s a lot of money on the line!
Written By: Scott Erb

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