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MEDIAWATCH: Reuters Continues to Predict Chavez win

By Alex Beech

29.11.06 | In this article, describing the US Embassy's warning to American citizens living in Venezuela to prepare for possible public disorder following the elections, three paragraphs highlight the slanted view that Reuters has taken towards the elections:

1. "Polls generally show Chavez comfortably winning another six-year term based on huge backing from the poor majority who have benefited from his high social spending.

2. His rival Manuel Rosales has united the opposition but draws his support mainly from the minority ranks of the upper- and middle-classes.

3. Chavez has warned the opposition will cry fraud, mobilize street protests and try to foment a military revolt. The opposition denies the charges."

Paragraph 1. Some polls show Chavez winning, but not comfortably. The only polls that show him winning comfortably were conducted face to face, excluding the fear factor. Moreover, the pollsters have yet to admit who financed them, except one which received its financing from PDVSA. Moreover, were the Venezuelan poor majority really benefitting from high social spending, there wouldn't be protests. But poor Venezuelans are suffering from inflation (a tax on the poor), a huge housing shortage, wages that barely guarantee survival, run-down hospitals, filthy cities, and a lack of jobs.

Paragraph 2. The "minority ranks" of the upper and middle classes? I don't like to use marches as evidence of anything, but if the hundreds of thousands who show up to support Rosales in every city are any indication, then Venezuela has a thriving middle and upper class. (Venezuela's political and economic system should be emulated everywhere, if it distributes wealth that evenly!) Unfortunately, that's not the case. Among those who support Rosales are members of every socio-economic class, including the poor who are tired of enduring the problems I cited above. Rosales might be the first presidential candidate to receive a warm welcome in both barrios and at country clubs. For once, a candidate seems to be running on a platform for all Venezuelans. Poverty is patient, but not that patient. On Tuesday, the founding members of Chavez' MVR party in Merida defected to the Rosales camp.

Paragraph 3. The danger with this paragraph is that it plays into Chavez' hand. If the opposition cries foul after the election, (and it might given the control that Chavez exerts over the National Elections Council), the world will yawn, cite a few polls, and quote articles such as this. Chavez has set the game up, with the foreign media as his pawns.



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