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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
November 6, 2003 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Amnest Int'l drops documentary after petition. Two Irish filmmakers were inside the palace during the coup in Venezuela in 2002 (also on MeFi: 1 2). I caught their powerful documentary, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised here in Chicago (review). The film was just recently dropped from Canada Amnesty International's upcoming film festival in Vancouver after opposition parties in Venezuela organized a petition of over 7,000 signatures (mp3). The groups have concerns about it's accuracy, especially in it's characterization of the opposition to the democratically elected President Chavez. A petition supporting the film has been started as well. I found the movie stunning and a chilling account of how media outlets can shape, gauge and control public perception at home and abroad (ergo the Reagan miniseries debacle). Also notable I found was Chavez's passion to teach the poor to understand the constitution of their country - impoverished Venezuelans talking passionately about how they realize that understanding politics and policy is one of the first steps out of their poverty. I picture Jerry Springer trash trying to articulate any understanding of the U. S. constitution. Any Venezuela MeFi'ers wanna give a background on how the country had been faring since the coup and restoration? Was it a CIA action? I'm sure the honeymoon's over - how's it going?
posted by ao4047 (16 comments total)

 
Wow, thanks for the nice summary, ao4047. I personally can't understand why they would pull such a historically important movie. I mean, whether or not the depiction of the coup members is favorable or not, that doesn't change the fact that this is one of the only coup attempts that was caught on film in its entirety. People in democratic countries should be forced to watch stuff like this in their civics classes to appreciate how fragile democracy is, how tenacious big business can be, and how much the media is filled with a bunch of tools (literally and figuratively).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:00 PM on November 6, 2003


I'm not convinced that Chavez genuinely cares one whit about the plight of the Venezuelan poor. He seems to careen from one crisis to another, using them to keep mobilizing his power base.

...and in the meantime, he practically destroys the domestic oil industry (just about the only export worth anything to the economy), he flirts with open war with his neighboring nations (Colombia accuses him of supporting FARC), and generally tries to piss off as many people as possible. The poor he supposedly serves, meanwhile, don't get much besides the occasional scrap and lots of opportunities to march around shouting slogans.
posted by aramaic at 3:27 PM on November 6, 2003


Whilst I can't claim an authorative view on the events in Venezuela, I don't share aramaic's view. The US and pro-capitalist forces are out to destroy Chavez's idea of giving more power, oppurtunities and resources to the Venezuelan masses. The opposition in Venezuela seem quite corrupt to me.

Perhaps Amnesty took another look at the documentary and found it less defensible than they at first thought. They're not exactly an organisation with a reputation for rolling-over at a little opposition.
posted by Blue Stone at 4:07 PM on November 6, 2003


They're not exactly an organisation with a reputation for rolling-over at a little opposition.

That's what I found troubling - I sort of hold Amnesty International with an extra level of respect than I would other groups. Though this is Canada Amnesty Int'l and the radio interview is sure to point out that there is some independence among the organization from country to country.
posted by ao4047 at 4:20 PM on November 6, 2003


I've seen this film and highly recommend it. It's incredible footage and I can't believe the film makers luckā€”talk about being in the right place at the right time.
posted by btwillig at 4:33 PM on November 6, 2003


Read Greg Palast.

He might seem a loony himself from time to time, but the world keeps on getting crazier every day.
posted by hoskala at 5:07 PM on November 6, 2003


Read Greg Palast.

Yeah - I read his book and Chalmers Johnson's in the same week. I think I blew my own mind.
posted by ao4047 at 5:59 PM on November 6, 2003


could we petition them to not pull the movie?
posted by dabitch at 2:27 AM on November 7, 2003


I've seen the movie too. It's biased all right: In favor of democracy. It really was a very upsetting insight into the dynamics of the coup and it set me of on my own search for information - which is something that rarely happens nowadays :-)

Even though Chavez's group is idealized I'd sign the 'don't pull that movie' petition any time.
posted by FidelDonson at 3:38 AM on November 7, 2003


I found was Chavez's passion to teach the poor to understand the constitution of their country - impoverished Venezuelans talking passionately about how they realize that understanding politics and policy is one of the first steps out of their poverty. I picture Jerry Springer trash trying to articulate any understanding of the U. S. constitution.

Typical American Left Obtuseness: The poor in far-flung nations are nobly suffering proletarians. Here at home they're "trash." And liberals wonder why poor people think their full of shit.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 AM on November 7, 2003


could we petition them to not pull the movie?

Already in effect. (with the normal grain of salt that online petitions have, of course)

A quick search on Google for Don Wright, who was the Amnesty Int'l rep in the radio interview find the film festival's entry form in a Word document format - which includes his contact information at the bottom. General contact info for Canada Amnesty International available on their website.

set me off on my own search for information

Same here - and the same feeling after seeing The Trial of Henry Kissinger documentary.

(offtopic)

Here at home they're "trash."

Yeah, pretty much the freak show that appear on daily talks shows are trash (no accurate sample of the nation's poor). And the impoverished don't suffer nobly - some of them are the result of their own lack of skill, literacy or motivation - others are the result of economic trends and policies. There is nothing noble in being poor - to take the care to understand how you got there, and why you might stay there and how you might get out - is ennobling yourself for a better way of life. Just think if the poor got pissed off enough to start voting...
posted by ao4047 at 7:22 AM on November 7, 2003


OK, point taken. But that's how that line originally came across, and it was hard not to see the irony there. And even if you don't subscribe to that veiw there are plenty of people who do. I've met plenty of people who get weepy over oppressed natives in the Amazon or dying rainforests who happily ignore homeless people on their streets and treat service workers like crap and happily laugh at "trailer trash" and "ghetto scum."

I've just seen it before and it irks me. But you're right as far as talk show people go. But I've seen the same freakishness among people of all economic classes.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2003


The movie came in first at Leeds (where my film came in seventh)... then drew about a million more people than we did at Cork.

I'd love to see the movie... but I'mma wait 'till the sour grapes wears off.
posted by cadastral at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2003


Just think if the poor got pissed off enough to start voting...

There are millions of people in the U.S. who earnestly support politicians who turn around and screw them over in favor of big corporations. Why? Because they are socially conservative, and they don't trust "liberals" whose alien value systems come across as dangerously amoral. If the poor got pissed off enough to start voting in greater numbers, I doubt it would change the U.S. political landscape much at all.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2003


who happily ignore homeless people on their streets and treat service workers like crap and happily laugh at "trailer trash" and "ghetto scum."

And these are "liberals?" Sounds a bit more like dittoheads to me. You don't know many "liberals" do you? Or perhaps your definition is a bit askew?
posted by nofundy at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2003


Weird. A fantastic documentary was shown on free-to-air Australian tv in October last year which sounds basically the same with footage of the coup in progress, etc. It was called Venezuela - Anatomy of a Coup (that's part 1 of the transcript, part 2 here. The reporter Bentley Dean gained "exclusive" access to some of the main players including Chavez and his short-lived replacement - basically he was on the inside too. Were they having a party at the palace for foreign documentary producers or something?
posted by Onanist at 10:38 PM on November 7, 2003


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