The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Venezuela Referendum


Reuters reports: "Venezuelans will vote on Sunday in a referendum on
lifting a two-term limit on presidents, which would allow Hugo Chavez
to remain in power for as long as he keeps winning elections."

of international programs at the Center for Economic and Policy
Research, James said today: "It is not surprising that Chavez remains
popular with Venezuelan voters. Over the ten years Chavez has been in
office, the Venezuelan government has been able to deliver on economic
growth, reduced poverty and unemployment, and increased social
spending, including free health care and education and discounted food.
Major health indicators -- including life expectancy and infant and
child mortality -- have also improved. This track record could give
Chavez another victory on Sunday."
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Rendall is the senior analyst at FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In
Reporting) and author of FAIR's latest study, "Human Rights Coverage
Serving Washington's Needs."

He said today: "Chavez's desire to remove term limits through a
referendum is cast as a huge media story about Chavez assaulting
democracy. But when Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's efforts to lift
term limits succeeded in 2005 -- because the deciding congressional
vote on the constitutional amendment was bribed by Uribe aides -- the
[U.S.] media took little notice, and Uribe's reputation as the U.S.'s
favorite 'democrat' in the region remained intact.

"The task of U.S. reporting and opinion on Venezuela (and
Colombia) seems to be less about shedding light on the real threats to
democracy and human rights in Latin America and informing North
Americans accurately about the world, and more about serving as a
propaganda arm of U.S. foreign policy."

See FAIR's February 2009 study, "Human Rights Coverage Serving
Washington's Needs: FAIR finds editors downplaying Colombia's abuses,
amplifying Venezuela's": .
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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.