The words The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela

Monopoly Media

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one," said American journalist A. J. Liebling.  Who owns the press in America?  The class who owns the rest of America: the capitalist class. Today 90% of the media are dominated by just six corporations: GE, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.  The World Wide Web is no better.  Our search for information is filtered by the powerful duopoly of Google and Facebook.  You don't have to be a Noam Chomsky or an Edward Herman to figure out that corporate media are not inclined to give fair representation of governments or movements that challenge the interests of capitalists. They would rather exclude them altogether or portray them as villains to be defeated.

Voices of Chavistas  in  Venezuela,  Solidarity Activists in the  United  States

Hence the pro-socialist Bolivarian government of Venezuela is demonized,  and  the  voices  of  working-class Chavistas -- who continue to defend their government from the US-backed, pro-capitalist  opposition commandeered by Juan Guaidó -- are silenced by the US media monopolists.  How many Americans have heard  about Orlando José Figuera, who was burned alive by opposition rioters for "being Chavista" and died of the burns two weeks later? Or about the information that "the opposition protesters were responsible for well more than half of the deaths in the streets" in Venezuela? Or the revelation that it was the opposition's own Molotov cocktails that set "aid trucks" ablaze?

Also silenced are the voices of solidarity activists in the United States.  On March 16, 2019, to take just one example, thousands protested in Washington D.C. against the US intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the Bolivarian government, using every means from economic sanctions to assassination and coup attempts to threats of war.  It was one of the largest and liveliest anti-imperialist demonstrations in recent years, but few Americans would have had an opportunity to see it on their TV screens.                                           

Not a "Failed State"

US propaganda is sometimes crude, like a false flag operation blaming opposition violence on the government as in the case of the aforementioned burning of aid trucks. It is often subtle and insidious. One of the subtler methods has us believe that Venezuela is already a so-called "failed state," the government's incompetence is the main problem, and there is no social program worth fighting to preserve. The truth of the matter, though, is that the main causes of Venezuela's current predicament are dependency on oil (which predates the rise of Hugo Chávez), a dramatic oil price decline that coincided with the succession from Chávez to Nicolás Maduro, and the US sanctions aimed to make it impossible for the government to benefit from an incipient oil price recovery this year. Even under the increasingly harsh sanctions, however, the government's social programs are superior to what the opposition will bring, let alone a facade of US charity: "[i]n order to provide 1 million families with boxes of 18 kilos of food, as the Venezuelan government does with the CLAP free food program, 232 flights would be needed from those who have sent US 'humanitarian aid'." That is why many working-class Venezuelans still support the government. "What we want is for the US to lift the blockade it has put on us in Venezuela," as one such pro-government woman says during an interview by Max Blumenthal.               

Meet Dan Kovalik

Against capitalist censorship, we at the Community Organizing Center, having introduced Steve Ellner to Columbus last year, are hosting another teach-in on Venezuela in mid-May 2019 (date, time, location TBA), featuring a speaker who will have just returned from Venezuela: Dan Kovalik from Pittsburgh, a labor and human rights lawyer who served as Senior Associate General Counsel of the United Steelworkers for twenty-five years.  (His latest book The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How the U.S. Is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil will be out in June.)  To get involved in organizing this teach-in, contact the Community Organizing Center at or 614-252-9255.

Support the Free Press                        

You say you want to not only attend our teach-in and learn more about Venezuela but also combat media monopoly?  Great!  Then put your money where your mouth is and support the Columbus Free Press.  Donate what you can to its publisher, the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, located at 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43205.  What if all of you who cherish freedom of the press each gave up one issue of a corporate newspaper or one Hollywood movie per month and donated what would have cost you to buy it to the Columbus Free Press?  A free press is worth paying for.