The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, June 13, 2005  

Or a Little Bit Straighter

The Philadelphia Inquirer today published a letter to the editor from city resident Bob Allen responding to the paper’s June 6 report, “Bush Shifts Focus to Latin America,” by Ron Hutcheson, an article that received passing notice here on the same day.

Allen’s letter to the Inquirer is worth reading:

At the recent Florida conference of the Organization of American States, the Bush administration stepped up its hostile rhetoric against Venezuela with the charge that the country is “undemocratic.” The Inquirer supported that allegation with its June 6 “Democracy in Latin America” map that designated four countries as undemocratic: Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

The smear of Venezuela is the most outrageous. A few months ago, the world witnessed one of the most well-publicized popular elections in Latin American history, the referendum on Hugo Chavez’s presidency. The U.S.-funded opposition challenged him with a referendum demanding a midterm dissolution of his elected government. Chavez not only allowed the referendum but embraced it as a measure of popular support for his political program. In a vote widely acknowledged by international election monitors to be fair and free of irregularities, Venezuelans overwhelmingly rejected the opposition. To this day, the hostile Bush administration and American press cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the outcome of this democratic process.

Nice work. Now if only a bit of Allen’s argument will sink in somewhere.

[Post-publication addendum: By the way, if you want to read an absolute (and informed and informative) evisceration of Hutcheson’s article, see “Missing the Story: Bush, Chavez, the OAS, and Lazy Reporting,” by Richard Cranium, the All Spin Zone, June 7.]

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