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Chavez's propaganda arrives in France's secondary schools

By Aleksander Boyd

London 19.05.05 | The French are, well... French. I went to Paris last weekend to meet with Venezuelan historian Manuel Caballero and others. The stories that some of them have in regards to plain bullying and outright harassment by the Bolivarian Circles of Paris and its French counterparts, read Le Monde Diplomatique and its director's ATTAC group, are, quite frankly, outrageous. So much so that I felt somewhat relieved of residing in London and not in the city of lights. But what arrived in my inbox this morning, from one Venezuelan living in Marseille, it's just unbelievable. Imagine your children taking the Spanish language option in high school and the guide approved by the Ministry of Education and utilised throughout the country featuring a carefully designed image of Hugo Chavez as a role model. The guide is a publication entitled "Enlaces" (links) by editorial Bordas, which especializes in educational books and guides. Chapter No 4 of the said guide, exploring into Independence and Revolutions has an 'interesting' lesson based on Fidel Castro's favourite maxim "condemn me, it does not matter, history will absolve me".

But the problem is not whether Chavez qualifies in the category of icons for the French seem to have a knack for despot and tyrants, who happen to live in far away lands; it goes beyond to the realm of lies and deceit. The page above starts with a paragraph citing the president's talk-a-thon and continues with a romantic view of a kind leader that according to the writer, Ernesto Cardenal a Nicaraguan priest who "experienced a 'second conversion' -to Christianism-Marxism in Cuba back in the 70ies", possesses a wealth of knowledge regarding Venezuela's history and a Castro-like command of numbers. Cardenal also declares that Chavez's speeches are coherent.

The purple insert on the one above contains two demonstrably false statements: the first is the argument that Chavez was liberated from prison due to the people's demands ("a la demanda del pueblo venezolano obtuvo su liberación" sic); the second is that Chavez nationalised the oil industry ("...y sobre todo la nacionalización de la compañía Petroléos de Venezuela" sic). It is a matter of history that Hugo Chavez was liberated by former president Rafael Caldera who, amazingly, dismissed the charges before the coupster faced trial, that is to say there is no criminal record in Venezuela's justice system of Chavez's coup in 1992. Equally shocking to read that Chavez nationalised the oil industry when everyone and its sister knows that such measure was implemented by Carlos Andres Perez in 1.975. Furthermore the suggestion that Chavez had anything to do with making education free and widely accesible holds no water for it was thus stipulated in the previous constitution passed in 1.961.

One has to wonder what end do the French Education Ministry seeks to reach when it deems appropriate to permit such propaganda to be distributed to youngsters at a very gullible and influenceable age. President Chirac; is the Orinoco oil belt worth the indoctrination of France's teenagers?

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