News Release

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.”

Director 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.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167