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How to Overthrow A Government Pt. 2: The 2002 Attempted Coup in Venezuela

StoryMarch 05, 2004
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In April 2002, a team of Irish filmmakers were in Caracas, Venezuela working on a documentary about president Hugo Chavez. They got more than they expected: they captured on film an attempted coup of the Venezuelan government and highlighted the role of the media in the coup. We play an excerpt from "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

In Venezuela the media is owned by the same business forces that briefly ousted Chavez in April, and many believe it played an instrumental role in the coup. The television stations broadcast regular anti-Chavez propaganda in the days leading up to the coup, encouraging Venezuelans to head into the streets to protest. But they never once reported the massive pro-Chavez demonstrations that sprang up throughout the country. The day Chavez was restored to power, not a single paper printed news of his return.

And it has long been argued that the U.S. backed the coup. The State Department issued a press statement commending the coup within hours of Chavez’s ouster. The National Endowment for Democracy sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-Chavez groups. And The New York Times printed an editorial endorsing the coup shortly thereafter. The editorial rejoiced: "Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator...[because] the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader."


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