Venezuela: Murdoch press publishes Pompeo’s Corbyn slur while the FT sheds a positive light on events
As other papers headline the US secretary of state’s strictures on China, Iran and UK, the Times reports a remark made by Mike Pompeo about Jeremy Corbyn’s “disgusting” support for the Maduro regime – his refusal to denounce the president of Venezuela and his praise of the socialist regime’s “effective and serious” efforts to reduce poverty.
Mainstream media rarely refers to the US’ economic warfare, its imposition of sanctions on this oil-rich country, which are leading to food shortages and civil unrest and still less to the damaging IMF austerity regime.
The US and around 50 other countries say Mr Maduro is clinging to power on the basis of bogus elections – despite the reports of international observers – see Media Lens’ evidence. As Ian MacLeod, in Manufacturing Consent in Venezuela: Media Misreporting of a Country, 1998–2014, published in December, finds:
Alan MacLeod, a member of Glasgow University’s respected Media Group, documented the bias throughout the Chavez era in his book, Bad News from Venezuela: Twenty years of fake news and misreporting.
Fair, an American media bias watch group, published a February article by Mark Cook, Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America. Mark, writing from his home in Caracas, effectively and entertainingly debunks the allegations of shortages of food and painkillers.
As many countries predict the imminent bankruptcy of the regime, the FT – which notes Washington’s ‘relentless social media campaign against the Maduro government’ – alone in mainstream media presents (rather reluctantly) some evidence challenging the totally negative picture presented.
It reports today that some substantial debts are being paid and that the Venezuelan people are tired of the conflict – no longer responding to Mr Guaidó’s calls to demonstrate.
Venezuela is paying debts
- State-owned oil company PDVSA, is paying holders of PDVSA’s bonds, due in 2020, the $71m in interest payments owed from late April.
- In mid-April, Russia’s Finance Minister announced the Maduro government had paid more than $100m to cover an interest payment due in March
- In the first quarter of this year, ConocoPhillips disclosed that it had received $147m from PDVSA as part of a settlement awarded by an ICC tribunal.
Venezuelans are tired of the conflict and no longer responding to Mr Guaidó’s calls to demonstrate
In another FT article, planning a Saturday march to win over the military, Mr Guaidó urged his followers to march to military installations and hand over copies of a letter in which he urged the armed forces to support a “peaceful transition”. But few people heeded the call and even Mr Guaidó, who had been expected to lead one of the marches, did not turn up.
State of play (FT)
Mr Guaidó has acknowledged that he does not yet command enough support within the military to force regime change.
Mr Maduro has accepted that his administration needs to “rectify mistakes”. To that end, he authorised thousands of popular “assemblies” over the weekend to discuss what needs to be changed.
The Independent reports that the Zealand First party has agreed to form a centre-left coalition with the Labour Party; the Green Party will support the coalition but will not be part of the government.
Jacinda Ardern, who will take office next month said, in her first full interview since becoming prime minister-elect, that capitalism had failed our people. If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure,” she said. “What else could you describe it as?”
She added: “Has (the market economy) failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you’ve been successful when you have growth roughly three per cent, but you’ve got the worst homelessness in the developed world?”
The Labour leader said that measures used to gauge economic success “have to change” and has pledged that her government will judge economic success on more than measures such as GDP:
“The measures for us have to change. We need to make sure we are looking at people’s ability to actually have a meaningful life, an enjoyable life, where their work is enough to survive and support their families.” She also pledged that her government will:
- increase the minimum wage,
- write child poverty reduction targets into law
- and build thousands of affordable homes
The Green Party’s joint leader Caroline Lucas, who won 30,139 votes to retain her Brighton Pavilion seat – increasing her share of the vote by 10.4% – advocates working towards a progressive alliance government by talking to the SNP, the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru and forming the outline of an alliance which would prioritise bringing in proportional representation.
Neal Lawson of Compass asks: “Would Jeremy Corbyn rather be in government, sharing power with people like Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas and Leanne Wood – people with whom he has much more in common than with many in his own party – or let the Tories back into power?
“The door is open to a new politics – all the parties have to do is walk through it”.
Media 52: Mainstream media protect their sources and paymasters against a leader who is “exposing the smoke and mirrors designed to keep us in our places”
Margaret from Swansea (and a co-founder of VIP) recently sent a comment by email:
The vitriol launched against the polite, intelligent, principled new leader of the Labour Party by media and politicians, including members of his own party, isn’t really so surprising. He is rocking their nice, comfortable boat and quietly threatening the pillars of capitalist society – exposing the smoke and mirrors designed to keep us in our places. He dares to say that austerity comes from an economic ideology – that there IS an alternative! We don’t have to carry on in the same destructive direction, laying waste to planet and people; we could be more compassionate and use our intelligence to produce a better world.
What a threat a thinking, honest politician must be to the industrialists and their friends!
The FT’s George Parker and Jim Pickard have now been joined by a John McDermott to continue their mission to diminish a leader perceived as a threat to the affluent
Below a picture of Corbyn conveying the image of him as a dictatorial rabble rousing agitator (omitted), they assert that “the gap between Mr Corbyn and the MPs he aspires to lead has this week widened to a chasm”, quoting one ‘hostile senior’ Labour MP. “But how’s it going to end?” A good question which they answer correctly, switching to truth mode:
“Mr Corbyn is sustained by the knowledge that 250,000 ordinary party members and supporters backed him . . .”. A friend of Mr Corbyn said: “He’s quite relaxed about all of this. People are still rooting for him. All that support that was there for him still feels like it’s there.”
As conservative Peter Hitchens explains in the Mail, “ If (like me) you have attended any of Mr Corbyn’s overflowing campaign meetings, you will have seen the hunger – among the under-30s and the over-50s especially – for principled, grown-up politics instead of public relations pap”.
The FT continues: “If MPs mount a coup the party membership could still re-elect Mr Corbyn: his allies are seeking to clarify the rules to ensure that he would automatically end up back on the ballot sheet . . . Even Mr Corbyn’s critics admit it could take several years before the “Corbynistas” realise their alleged mistake and in the meantime the Labour leader is trying to tighten his grip on the party.
How do the FT journalists describe this ‘grip’?
“Grass roots members of the Momentum pressure group are telling dissident MPs to keep quiet or face deselection at the 2020 election”.
Not true; in a recent meeting of the Birmingham group (above), only one in a hundred made this suggestion and it was not accepted by the group.
The FT ends: “Ultimately Mr Corbyn’s fate will be determined at the ballot box: he needs to show his critics that his “new politics” appeals beyond a hard core of supporters. The Oldham West by-election next month, where Labour is defending a majority of almost 15,000, will be a crucial early test”.
The writer hopes that this contest will follow the pattern of the three successful by-elections which have been ignored by mainstream media.