From Caracas

I spent time in the air my Venezuelan novel, Cantaclaro, by the renowned Romulo Gallegos. Bus to Caracas was easy, straight to the Metro, then from Metro to my hotel across the street from the station. In a little while I´ll meet my friend Fernando, a lawyer and a harpist. I´ve invited him to go to the fiesta with Adolfo and me, we shall see if he accepts.

I´ve been watching TV to get a perspective on culture and news. Very very interesting. There is a channel of government news, rather like a public TV, no ads, but lots of propaganda. Their video style is rather antique. Lots of vistas, human interest shots, around the country, while they talk about something else entirely.

The big headline right now is Negroponte´s talk in recent days against Venezuela. One headline uses the word ¨fascista¨. Also featured, demonstrations in India against Bush, and a Carnaval float in Rio De Janeiro, with Venezuelan participation, featuring a 40 foot figure of Simon Bolivar. Note that Bolivar is a revolutionary hero for many countries, not just Venezuela.

There are about 80 channels, mostly fluff, many cartoons and soaps, but also including CNN and CNBC in English with subtitles. These two stations seem to be competing to claim primacy in the area of ¨business news.¨

VTV, the government station, is rather quaint and charming. They had an evangelical preacher this AM, superficially apolitical but implicitly supporting the government. Likewise they had a sympathetic catholic priest on for a while. And they also had an interview last night with Father Bourgeois, the American priest who years ago established annual protests against the School of the Americas, military training linked to torture and disappearances through out Latin America.

This links back to Negroponte. In US, they just show him and what he is saying now. Here, they give some background, telling how he was involved in Vietnam,El Salvador, Honduras, and elsewhere. Our mainstream media could do a better job of this. VTV is propaganda, but then so is (are?) our mainstream media.

John Lozier