Venezuela, Mexico and the media

July 1, 2016

The U.S. corporate media demonize Venezuela’s government while it prettifies the Mexican regime. Consider this:

People in some Venezuelan cities this spring, complaining of food and other shortages, seized goods from markets. The corporate media reported these with sympathy. They blamed Venezuela’s government for food shortages. They reported that five people died during the “food riots,” without clarifying who killed them.

The Venezuelan government said the deaths had nothing to do with the “food riots.”

In the city of Nochixtlán in Oaxaca state in Mexico, police opened fire with live ammunition at anti-government protesters and killed 13 people, mostly Indigenous, wounded 100 others and “disappeared” another 20.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is a U.S. collaborator in the NAFTA trade deal, the “anti-drug war” and the “anti-terror war.” The Mexican army and police of the different states fire on protesters regularly.

With these facts in mind, it is revealing to see how the corporate media and U.S. politicians handled the two different scenarios described above.

The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Fox News and most of the networks gave ample publicity to the “food riots” in Venezuela and to 400 arrests. While these media often call people in rebellion a “mob” and paint them as dangerous — remember how they wrote of Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., where Black youth were involved — they were sympathetic to Venezuela’s “rioters.” The media presented Venezuela as teetering on the brink of chaos and desperately needing a U.S.-imposed regime change.

The fewer reports on Mexico in the same media gave the point of view of the authorities, who claimed the demonstrators shot at police first. There was no attempt to fault the Mexican government for its policies toward workers or Indigenous peoples. Donald Trump continues to slander Mexican workers, but no one in the U.S. government or media is calling the Mexican government a “national security threat.”

Nor is Secretary General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States trying to whip up all of Latin America against Peña Nieto the way he did against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Monica Moorehead, Workers World Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, commented, “Our election campaign’s 10-point program very much applies to the developments in both Venezuela and Mexico. It reads in part: ‘We oppose all U.S. wars, invasions, occupations and drone attacks, regardless of the media lies and justifications.’

“The mainstream media systematically lie because they are owned and controlled by big-business interests which pit workers against other workers in order to make profits.

“In reporting events in Venezuela, the media, in siding with the U.S.-backed oligarchy who make up the opposition, will attempt to demonize the anti-imperialist Bolivarian government. In Oaxaca, Mexico, the media will downplay the brutal police and army repression of a united, militant struggle of teachers, the Indigenous and public-sector workers demanding an end to overwhelming poverty rooted in capitalist austerity.

“What is happening in both countries is an important reminder that the mainstream media are an instrument of the oppressive capitalist state apparatus.

“It also reminds us that the working class in the United States should stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who are fighting for the same human needs against a capitalist system whose ability to exploit labor knows no borders.”