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The video "The Revolution will not be Televised" is rejected, a media farce is unveiled

By Manuel Lebon, El Universal

On April 11, 2002, when Irish filmmaker Kim Bartley was preparing a documentary about the Bolivarian revolution, she got the opportunity of her life: the slaughter of the opposition march and the temporary absence of the Venezuelan President. From those terrible events, Bartley -together with her fellow countrywoman Donnacha O'Brien- created the documentary film "The Revolution will not be Televised." The film was backed by powerful European TV Corporations, including BBC, ZDF, RTE, Arte, and NPS. It was first broadcasted by Venezuelan state TV channel Venezolana de Televisión on April 13, 2003. Later, the government made 10,000 copies of the video in Cuba to show it in other parts of the world.

This film -clearly biased towards the revolutionary project of the current government- has been carefully analyzed by Wolfang Schalk, an engineer and film producer. Schalk spent four months studying the tape, scene by scene, and discovered a number of contradictions, omissions and manipulations in editorial stance. Helped by the well-known moviemaker Thaelman Urgelles, Schalk has made public the immense tall story that this documentary film presents.

Urgelles and Schalk have resorted to letters and online requests to stop this propaganda, disguised as an objective production.

Both are finishing a two-hour documentary. "The video completely refutes the film made by Bartley and O'Brien. It features alternative images interpreted by Thaelman and by me," Schalk explained. This video of the Irish filmmaker "constructs a story that resembles a Chávez' speech at the ONU," Urgelles says, since "it sells this idea: We have a president that, wanting to favor mixed-race and poor people, has gained the hostility of the white oligarchy, which is losing its privileges. According to the Irish video, this white oligarchy, supported by the U.S., launched a coup d'état against him on April 11, 2002. We can see that nothing from the video is wasted: black versus white, poor against rich and an emblematic ending in which the president is rescued by the people."

The audiovisual work "has a multimillionaire lobby, including the Venezuelan Embassies and even wealthy public relation agencies managing huge budgets. The aim of this lobby is to show the tape for free at universities and private theaters in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or New York. The government is successfully creating a communicational phenomenon with the video. It is like the film El Mariachi, a small film with a great promotion budget to take it all over the world."

A matter of freedom

The Venezuelan opposition won a victory when it prevented the showing of the video in September at a film festival held at Vancouver, Canada, thanks to the participation of Amnesty International.

On November 7, journalist Clodovaldo Hernández (from El Universal newspaper) wrote an article titled: "The Gag of the Worm," ensuring that the suspension of the broadcasting of the video in Canada was the first application of the so frequently mentioned Gag Law, but executed by the "The Worm of Light," which is the cultural section of the opposition organization Democratic Coordinator."

Urguelles replied to this assertion saying that "The Worm of Light was not the one who asked Amnesty to prevent the broadcasting of the video in Canada. According to him, it was due to an online petition that gathered about 8,000 signatures and that was the initiative of the organization Civil Resistance of Venezuelans Abroad. The justification of Amnesty- which usually maintains a neutral stance- to avoid the transmission was that the tape was too biased toward a political sector. Some people tried to cheat this organization. But, in view of the efforts of Venezuelan people, who warned that the film was not coherent with what they are supporting, the organization took actions."

A similar petition has been submitted to the five European TV channels that sponsored the video. This initiative presents in detail all the irregularities that the filmmakers have found on the tape and look forward to: an investigation of the film; an apology by its producers if the film proves to be a fraud; and the right to reply. More than 9,000 people have backed this petition at the electronic address - which is one of the most visited by Venezuelan expatriates and foreign people.

Translated by Teresa León


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