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The 20 lies about Chávez' "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

By Arquímedes Espinoza

This movie, now being exhibited under different titles such as “The Revolution Will not be Televised”, “Chávez Inside the Coup” or “Chávez The film” is a propaganda film designed to twist the Venezuelan reality. The authors of this film succeeded playing on the good faith and the sponsorship of serious and well known organizations such as the BBC, RTE, ZDF and Arte to broadcast it in film festivals and to project it all over the world like a journalistic documentary.

The 20 lies of this movie are as follows:

1) The images where people appear singing, musical groups and children supposedly in front of the Presidential Palace of Miraflores on the morning of April 11, 2002, correspond to another city in Venezuela. That day, there was not such a spectacle; people were only called aggressively to “defend the Revolution”.

2) The concentration of the opposition in Chuao, in the eastern part of the city, was formed by people of all city areas, including women, elder people, children and even handicapped people. In no case were there armed or aggressive people like the movie pretends to show.

3) The filmmakers ignored the radio and television “obligatory presentation” of President Chávez on April 11, between 3:45 and 5:27 pm, during which 21 Venezuelans were killed and more than 150 were wounded in the surroundings of the Presidential Palace. These “presentations”, that are very rare in other countries (Chávez used them 31 times between April 8 and 11, 2002), consist in commandeering all the open signal TV channels and all radio stations, FM as well as AM, to join the state channel and broadcast the same content. However, in the film, it is said that President Chávez only has the chance of speaking through the state owned channel.

4) In the middle of the “presentation”, all private channels, protected by article 58 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which grants the right of “timely and truthful information”, decided to split the screen in two parts in order to be able to show the tragic events that were happening. Immediately thereafter, the government jammed he signals of the private channels in an action that requires a series of legal actions and technical arrangements to be executed, which were never observed.

5) During the President's TV and radio speech that is not mentioned, the victims generated by the government supporting groups and by members of military forces were not shown shooting and there is little reference between them and the snipers posted on Miraflores bordering buildings, the access to which is restricted to the presidential guardianship in emergency situations like those occurring on April 11.

6) In the film, the producers insist on the thesis that the President never resigned office. However, the military high command, lead by then main military officer, Lucas Rincón, and current Secretary for Domestic Affairs of Chávez, stated on a radio and TV broadcast a little after midnight on April 12, that “... (the) President was requested to resign office, which he agreed to”. This singular event, known by all Venezuelans and of undeniable importance in the reconstruction of the events of that day, was simply ignored by the filmmakers in order induce the idea of a classical “coup d’état”.

7) Regarding the case of the Llaguno Bridge, where the famous images of a group of Chávez supporters shooting to the place where the opposition rally was passing by were taken (the journalistic team that took the images was awarded the King of Spain’s Journalism Prize for this report), the film backed up the government version that these people were not shooting at any rally and for this, film makers used images from an amateur video different from those used by the journalistic team that won the prize in Spain. In this second video, the avenue underneath the bridge is completely empty, without persons or rally walking and no person shooting from the bridge. Using a procedure similar to the ancient sun dials, it can be shown by the shadows of the buildings that the images were taken from about 1:00 to 1:30 in the afternoon, when the opposition rally was not even near that location, while the images taken by the prize-winning journalists were taken between 4:30 and 5:00 in the afternoon, when the tragic events were indeed happening.

8) The film says that the signal of the state owned TV station was cut on April 11 by the “coup mongers” and even showed the effect of a noise interrupted TV image. All Venezuelans know that on the night of April 11, 2002, the managers of the state owned station Venezolana de Televisión Channel 8 themselves, ended the broadcast and peacefully left the facilities. The doors of Channel 8 remained open and its facilities empty for almost an hour, until a group of reporters of the Globovision news station entered the place and showed us all the studios, offices and technical centers totally deserted. Later, a group of officers of the Miranda State Police (the Venezuelan state where Channel 8 is situated) arrived in order to protect the facilities and equipment.

9) In the aforementioned images, scenes are reconstructed with the participation of high officers of the Chávez’ government “acting” what was actually happening in Channel 8. This resource, which can be considered to be adequate under certain rules and circumstances in certain ethnographic and educational documentaries, is completely anti-ethical in a documentary that is presented as a truthful version of historical events; because the filmmakers never forewarned that they are creating a “staging”.

10) Certain images were presented as if they occurred before April 11, 2002, while they were made 3 months later. This is the case of a neighbors meeting held in June 2002, with the aim of preparing defensive actions in view of the threats made by the government through its “Bolivarian Circles” (groups of aggressive militants of the government’s party who frequently attack the public opposition demonstrations with stones, sticks and even gunshots) of attacking the housing estates of Caracas where the opposition predominates. This meeting, recorded without any written consent, portrays a group of mostly women, receiving self-defense training from a voluntary instructor in order to learn to defend themselves – in June 2002- from a presumed attack by the government supporting groups. However, the scene was edited and presented as if happening in February 2002 as a part of the opposition arrangements to march and attack Miraflores on April 11, 2002.

11) The film shows the Venezuelan crisis as a as a confrontation between a white and corrupt privileged minority, and a black or mixed-blood, poor, healthy and happy majority, defended by President Chávez. This simplified scheme, which otherwise corresponds to the political and diplomatic speech of the government in all international forums, constitutes a shameful misrepresentation of the history, the sociology and the political present condition of Venezuela. The filmmakers barely investigated on this reality, without deepening in it, thereby producing a rather biased, superficial, and to a great extent, untruthful document, wherein no European (Spaniard, Italian, Portuguese), Arab, Asian and Latin American immigrants, who came to Venezuela and were integrated therein, in the most diverse productive sectors: industry, commerce, arts, etc. appeared.

12) This diverse, plural and multitudinous condition of those who in Venezuela democratically oppose President Chávez, was completely ignored by the filmmakers. If this were a question of a real research documentary – as prestigious TV chains like BBC, ZDF, RTE, Arte y NPS should demand – the film should have shown the amplitude and variety of this opposing sector, constituted, among others, by the most important writers, artists, scientists, thinkers, jurists and professionals of the country, as well as millions of men and women of the working class, poor people who believed in Chávez and have been disappointed by his appalling government.

13) Filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain preferred to reduce the Venezuelan opposition to the false image of a group of rich women, worried about their privileges. They omitted the gigantic opposition rallies, the magnitude of which has astonished the whole world since last year. If they had included them, they would have shown the ethnic and social diversity present during these demonstrations, with a predominance of mixed-blood people and poor people. Those presumed “rich ladies” are Venezuelan women who have fought for three years a beautiful and brave democratic battle in the streets of Venezuela, even though they have been several times attacked and humiliated by the mercenary bands of the government and the very armed forces. In this battle, they have been accompanied by people of all socioeconomic strata, because the political problem in Venezuela is not the consequence of a class confrontation, as the government spreads, and this documentary shows, but a struggle between democracy and a blossoming dictatorship.

14) The filmmakers were very careful when selecting the images of popular support to Chávez in Caracas (at the beginning of the documentary); they used takes from February 2000, when the support was undeniable, enthusiastic and massive; and to show the opposition rallies, the filmmakers used only closed takes of few white skinned people and wealthy appearance, avoiding open frames. However, these images of government supporting rallies are no longer easy to obtain, because these rallies are currently reduced and unenthusiastic, attended for the most part by only a few spontaneous assistants and government workers who are forced to attend. The filmmakers tell the viewers: “this is an accurate narration, with its clearly indicated days and hours.”

15) The armored cars (tanks) shown at the beginning of the film suggesting that they were a part of the military component that participated in the “oligarch coup d’état supported by the USA”, were never used against the President and his government. Their presence was the result of a plan, called Plan Ávila, ordered by Chávez himself, which was partially obeyed and amply repudiated by the high military command, because it was about a display of war weapons intended to be used against civilian demonstrators that were marching on April 11 to the Palace of Miraflores.

16) The film tells us unequivocally: “while Carmona pronounced his inauguration speech, two blocks away the police was hitting and shooting against the people...” (there is even “voice over” of Carmona on the images of repression). This is false. On April 12, Caracas was normal; the only street demonstrations were made by some exalted opposition members in front of the Embassy of Cuba and in front of the houses of two or three leaders of Chávez government. It is truth that small government supporting groups posted themselves in the vicinity of the presidential palace on the afternoon of April 12, without disturbing the peace. The scenes shown by the film of policemen dispersing demonstrators certainly happened on the morning of April 13. This disarrangement of times can not be considered to be an innocent film mistake, as it leads to totally erroneous conclusions regarding what happened in Venezuela those days.

17) When mentioning the workers and business organizations opposing the government, the film only mentions initials that have no meaning abroad; it never talks about the main national labor union or the largest business association grouping all the business chambers of the country.

18) During the events after April 11, the film mentions a deliberate absence of news, but it does not talk about the news of events broadcast by TV stations, as well as the threats and attacks suffered by media during those days.

19) In the film it is falsely stated that the soldiers rebelling against the events of April 11, traveled abroad once the President was brought back to office, but the film does not mention the long trials these military officers were submitted to and that they were later absolved by the Supreme Court from the charges of coup d’état that were pressed by the government.

20) Mister Andrés Izarra, the main witness of the film against the private TV media, is now a high ranked officer in the Embassy of Venezuela in the USA. Izarra is the son of Commander William Izarra, a conspirator mate of Hugo Chávez during more than 10 years in the heart of the Venezuelan Armed Forces and current Ideology Director of the government party.

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