The Hypocrisy of the Media: the Case of Colombia

(Translated by Steven Cagan, a CSN Volunteer Translator)

Source: pú

April 2, 2014

Author: Vicenç Navarro
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Pompeu Fabra University, and Professor de Public Policy, The Johns Hopkins University

In recent weeks we have seen a campaign of media hostility against the Venezuelan government, accusing them of using repressive practices against their opponents. Signatures campaigns have been launched to denounce the Maduro government and support its victims. In Spain, the Congress of Deputies, mimicking the behavior of the US Congress, also approved a resolution with the support of the PP, the PSOE and the UPyD [three Spanish political parties: the People’s Party, the Spanish socialist Workers’ Party, and Union, Progress and Democracy—SC] condemning the violence of the Venezuelan government. .

But in this campaign, the most brutal repression that exists today in Latin America, and that takes place in one of the neighboring countries to Venezuela—Colombia—has been forgotten. The campaign of political murders is continuous and systematic, with a massive group of communities terrorized by the enormous repression. According to Human Rights Watch, 22,028 residents of the city of Buenaventura had to leave their houses in 2011, 15,191 in 2012 and 13,468 in 2013 (from January to October). And this violence is directed by the Colombian state and carried out by paramilitary forces, as was documented in the book Colombia, esta democracia genocida, [Colombia, this genocidal democracy—SC] written by the priest Javier Giraldo. In reality, at least 40% of the members of the Colombian Congress have relationships with the paramilitaries, who are carrying out a dirty war (see “The Culture of Fear Continues in Colombia” of Daniel Kovalik, Counterpunch, March 24, 2014).

And these paramilitary forces were established, formed and supervised by the federal government of the US, as was also documented by my friend Noam Chomsky in his book, The Culture of Fear. That was from the time of President Kennedy up to now, having reached its furthest development and brutality during the mandate of the neoliberal guru, President Reagan. This reality is known and is documented. Chomsky cites, for example, Alfredo Vázquez Carrizosa, who was Foreign Affairs Minister of Colombia, and who points out that it was the government of the US that transformed the Colombian army into internal repression brigades, including the infamous “death squads,” responsible for some of the worst brutalities known in Colombia and in Latin America. Needless to say, during all those years, the media were silent and remain silent in the face of that repression. And in the US, very few voices have been raised in protest. And it is not because they did not know about it. The brutality that was taking place in Colombia, was horrible and known. Even the highly popular program “60 Minutes” of CBS presented it. But the political and media establishment remained silent. Meanwhile, Colombia continues being one of the Latin American countries that has received the most military aid fro the US.

The victims are common and normal people, workers, peasants, students, and others, who with their mobilizations threaten the continuity of a society that is profoundly unjust. But nothing about this will be read in the information and persuasion media. It is that clear.

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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