Comeback Regime Change in Venezuela

After examining the relevant legal and institutional options, I have decided to initiate a restructuring and rescue process for Telesur to put the broadcaster at the service of truth, plurality, Venezuelan and regional democracy.

The self-proclaimed president of Venezuela tweeted this, stating that “since its inception, Telesur has been used to promote the destabilization of the Region, to support terrorist groups, to attack democracy, to lie about Venezuela and to defend the Maduro dictatorship.”

The threat was made a week after Guaidós staged to Protest against the alleged ban on Access to the Parliament, and against the election of Luis Parras to be his successor as President of the national Assembly of Venezuela and signaled a change in the tactics of the so far unsuccessful Regime-Change attempt by the US Administration with his straw man Juan Guaidó.

New, aggressive US strategy

According to Bloomberg, at the beginning of December 2019, President Donald Trump had acknowledged dwindling confidence in Guaidó when reviewing the US strategy to overthrow Nicolás Maduro and had “considered more muscle games in dealing with Venezuela”. The president was frustrated that Maduro had not been driven from power as quickly as his advisor John Bolton had announced. Trump concluded that Bolton’s failure could have political consequences for his re-election campaign, as he was said to rely on the votes of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan exiles in Florida. So Bolton was fired in September 2019 and his successor Robert O’brien was tasked with developing a new Venezuela strategy.

After Guaidó’s cocky promises had failed miserably nearly a full year after his self-nomination as president, international, but also poorly oriented progressive media speculated that the Trump Administration would drop “her husband in Caracas” without comment. The speculation turned out to be a dream, underestimating the role of Elliott Abrams – special representative of the US State Department for Venezuela-and the activities of Marco Rubio – Senator of the Republicans and ringleader of the right – wing Cuban exile scene in Florida-who together have built guaidó in Latin America propagandistically.

Abrams defended the retention of Guaidó as a hobbyist because he “remains the most popular official in Venezuela and the United States … fully supports him.” The attribute “most popular” should of course be attributed to the fake news, deception and conspiracy Repertoire of the US hawks and warmongers. Without mentioning his source, so as not to embarrass himself, Abrams was obviously referring to a survey ordered and published in October by the discredited agency Datanálisis, according to which Guaidó (40 percent) surpassed President Nicolás Maduro (13 percent) with almost triple popularity.

However, two decisive considerations are likely to determine the continuation of Guaidó as a figurehead of the US regime changers. On the one hand, his downright coercion by the US against its passive allies in Latin America and Western Europe. On the other hand, the staggering sum of nearly one half billion US dollars that Washington, with the vain but submissive receiver of command Guaidó, has so far invested in a subversive tactic of splitting up and undermining the nation state by gradually establishing a “parallel power”.

Telesur and the US" Iranization " of Latin America

The threat to “save” or to undermine or usurp the state-owned broadcaster Telesur therefore fits into this “dual power"tactic as an example: to dispute the word and leadership of the enemy. It is, however, supplemented and exacerbated by an old, brazen but revised conspiracy theory of the State Department, according to which Iran and the Shiite Lebanese ruling party Hezbollah with their militias threaten the security of Latin America.

The Hezbollah fabulation was launched by Jeffrey Goldberg in 2002 and has since been adopted by all the idiots of the world and decorated to embellish the Atlantic world view as truth.

The serious accusation that Telesur “supports terrorist groups (and) destabilizes the Region” has not yet been part of Juan Guaidó’s political and propagandistic menu. It is very obvious, however, that the new fighting motto of Pompeo’s State Dept. at the price of being whipped in, either he joins in or the United States provides for the complete uncovering of the corruption scandal over the million-dollar theft of parts of their funding, which Guaidó’s “ambassador” in Colombia, Calderón Berti, revealed at the end of 2019 and who was subsequently dismissed in no time.

The insinuation that the broadcaster supports terrorist groups is infamous, but it is the food found – or as they elegantly put it in Brazil: “the cherry that was missing from the cake”, that is, the missing icing on the cake-of the Trump Administration after the assassination attempt on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The” pre-emptive " bogus argument that Soleimani had planned attacks on Americans is now being turned over to Latin America as an “export hit” for the worldwide incursion of the submissive allies on an Anti-Iran course. In addition to the Colombian ELN, guaidó’s accusation against Telesur is mainly about Hezbollah. A few days after the assassination attempt on Soleimani, Pompeo tweeted to the Los Angeles Times that Iran and the Lebanese Party and militia want to carry out “attacks” in far-away Latin America from Venezuelan soil.

However, it took an intensive involvement of Latin American media, and so the US convened two noisy performances in Colombia: a so-called “hemispheric counter-terrorism summit” on January 20, and a military maneuver by the US Southern Command near the border with Venezuela from January 23 to 29, with the suggestive title “air-conducted raid Training.”

As if he were the indispensable third and fourth violin in the war orchestra, Luis Almagro started a tour of Latin America days before. With the blessing of terrorist Pompeo, the most senior secretary general of the organization of American States (OEA/OAS) of all time sought political approval for his upcoming re-election. Juan Guaidó again received the contract for a Goodwill Tour to Europe. The outing appears to be a reaction to Guaidó’s loss of territory and the leadership dispute within the Venezuelan Opposition. It is intended to consolidate Guaidó’s so-called “Presidential Rank” in those countries that recognized him in 2019 and pledge their governments to radically reject the parliamentary elections announced by the legal President Nicolás Maduro for 2020.

Telesur: from the “counter-hegemonic voice” to the media interference factor

Televisión del Sur (television of the South – acronym TeleSUR) was born at the beginning of the new millennium as an Initiative of President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013. The name was undoubtedly inspired by the far-reaching aphorism of the Uruguayan painter and thinker Joaquín Torres García, who in 1941 had drawn an upside-down map of Latin America and had written a poem about it, “…in reality, the South is our North. There should be no other North for us than that which stands in contrast to our South. So now we turn the map around and have a good idea of how we imagine our Position, not how the Rest of the world wants it …”.

As a victim of a coup that took place in 2002 under active media incitement, Chávez wanted a channel that would break the media hegemony of the US station CNN, which is based in Atlanta and receptive throughout Latin America. Although based in Venezuela, the concept envisaged a multi-state network, to which Cuba, Argentina and Bolivia were the first to join, which was expanded by Nicaragua, Ecuador and Uruguay until 2009 and provided for programme exchange, network connection and joint financing.

The first broadcast took place on the symbolic 24th of July 2005, Simón Bolívar’s birthday. Be the first Advisory Board of several Latin American and worldwide Intellectuals, so the Argentine fighter for peace and Nobel prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Nicaraguan Poet Ernesto Cardenal, the late Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, the Pakistani writer Tariq Ali, as well as the US-American political scientist and film-maker Saul Landau, the historian and the founder of Le Monde Diplomatique Ignacio Ramonet, the Argentine film Director Tristán Bauer, the Uruguayan journalist Jorge Gestoso, and until 2011, the free Software programmer and a pioneer Richard Stallman and the US actor and activist Danny Glover.

The Colombian journalist Patricia Villegas, who married former minister of Science and industry and Maduro friend Ricardo Menéndez, has been Telesur director since 2011, succeeding former CNN journalist, multiple government Ministers Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro, and Telesur boss Andrés Izarra-who broke with Chavismo in 2018 and went abroad. The program is currently broadcast live by the state broadcasters Venezuelana de Televisión, Cubavision International, Canal 4 (Nicaragua) and Television Nacional Uruguay. The transmission by satellite with an open Signal covers the American continent, Western Europe and North Africa.

In 2013, Telesur ranked 9th in the list of Latin American, mostly private television channels with entertainment, but according to a survey by Jorge Gestoso from early 2020, the channel takes the second position of audience popularity on the continent’s social networks behind CNN’s Spanish-language program (42.9 percent) with 40.4 percent.

The station has survived multiple crises in its 15-year history. This included the sustained support of Brazil and Uruguay, which only joined the cooperation in 2009. Already in 2006 Telesur and the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera negotiated the exchange of audiovisual content, which in no time at all was severely criticized by the USA. Congressman Connie Mack said at the time, " this new alliance between Al-Jazeera and Telesur has the effect of creating a global television network for terrorists (sic!) and other enemies of freedom". This was followed by agreements with the London BBC and Chinese television.

Pioneers of concept and project development were two Stars from the Latin American media world: the opposition against the Uruguayan military dictatorship and progressive Journalist Aram Aharonian and the Colombian filmmaker and television producer Jorge Enrique Botero. They traveled to several Latin American countries in search of useful relations for a television project, which corresponded to the values of the progressive journalism of the past and present. Aharonian and Botero were thus part of the first international editorial board of Telesur, with Andrés Izarra as artistic director, and extended by the journalists Ana de Escalom of Channel 7 (Argentina), Beto Almeida of the Brazilian journalists ' federation and Ovidio Cabrera as former vice president of Cuban radio.

Aharonians and Botero’s conception was not a dry news program, but the promotion of Latin American diversity with a wide range of cultural content. Botero, described the task of the early Telesur as a TV channel that “it is clear from an obvious Latin American need: to rely on a transmitter that makes it possible for all residents of this Region, to spread their own values, to disseminate their own cultural face, to discuss their own ideas and to submit your own content on light and fair way”.

Internal Tensions

However, tensions arose at an early stage. According to Aharonians “took over” Chávez is the De-facto leadership of Telesur and spread “Propaganda as news”.

In a November 2008 Interview entitled “Telesur is controlled by a bunch of counterrevolutionaries in the broadest sense of the word,” Aharonian criticized the prescribed narrow-gauge, conceptionless programming: “a new television station is useless if it doesn’t have new content and formats. If we don’t understand, we will be doomed to watch El Chavo del Ocho and Walt Disney until the last day of our lives. A Latin American Content Factory is missing. What people need are documentaries, movies, culture, entertainment in the best sense of the word, including soap operas or sports, but with a Latin American perspective. On the other hand, the frequency distribution networks are in the hands of the enemy. If we do not focus on the democratization of the radio spectrum – which means more public than private space – we will not reach anyone. We will fail in a purely onanistic exercise. Because instead of being seen by 100 million people, only 100,000 will watch us.”

Aharonian’s warnings went off like a bomb. A few weeks later, in December 2008, he was fired by Andrés Izarra, director and then Minister of communications and Information. Izarra had the task to provide “unity”. Which was understandable considering the beginning hostilities of the US and relevant NGOs, such as Human rights Watch, not to mention authoritarian regimes in Central America. Telesur had to choose priorities and the decision was to give priority to journalism in the fight for a different view than that of Univisión and CNN.

“There are truths that should not be told”

Both broadcasters and the US Administration were shocked that Telesur, for example, had succeeded in documenting the first release of hostages by the Colombian guerrilla FARC almost exclusively and with exciting efforts in spring 2008. However, the images of the multi-state broadcaster flooded the world with a new” accent " tone and a different attitude than that of the mainstream. A year and a half later, Telesur once again caused a stir when its reporters reported live on and within the ongoing coup in Honduras. “After that, there was little doubt that the station had reached its place in history with its way of informing about Latin America,” commented Brazilian Journalist Elson Faxina in an Essay for Le Monde Diplomatique.

In addition to the coup d’état in Honduras, the major live reports also included dramatic events such as the earthquake in Haiti (2010), election campaigns across the continent, the deaths of Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, and Argentine President Nestor Kirchner-Telesur was not only present, but also present with a poignant “eye”.

On the other side of the world, Telesur correspondents and special reporters covered the war in Syria and the Palestinian resistance. One of these reporters was Jesus Romero, who has been a member of the station since its founding. He spent 50 days in Haiti during the earthquake and 45 days in Libya. His images of the violent overthrow and brutal murder of Muammar Gaddafi shook the world, imprinting themselves on some viewers ' minds with the words, “there are events where Telesur revealed truths that did not want to be told.”

More precisely: should not be told. For example, the backgrounds and perspectives of the protests against the government of Mauricio Macri and the recent social uprisings in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile. In response to Telesur’s critical reporting, Argentina cancelled its cooperation with Telesur in June 2016. In March 2018, shortly after taking office, President Lenin Moreno stopped co-financing Telesur and had the channel’s cable frequency cut by hand in October 2019. In November 2019 it was Bolivia’s turn. In a letter dated 21. November 2019, after the coup against Evo Morales, the state telecommunications company Entel terminated the contract with TeleSur. On your Twitter Account, Director Patricia Villegas described the measure as a clear censorship.

Usurpation or new transmitter?

The new alleged “President” Telesurs nominated Juan Guaidó in the United States exiled lawyer and ultra-conservative journalist Leopoldo Castillo, who began his career as a TV presenter for Rádio Caracas Televisão (RCTV), and a later conversation initiated programmes and talk shows on the channels Venevisión and Globovisión, including “Aló Ciudadano”, a program that used the Castillo as the agitation stage of the Anti-Chavismo-scene and the announcer popular made.

But Castillo’s early political career as a member of Parliament and later as Venezuelan ambassador to El Salvador in the 1980s already casts gloomy shadows. During this time he became known in Central America as “Matacuras” (“priest murderer”) for his alleged involvement in “Operation Centaur”; a barbaric action by members of the Salvadoran armed forces investigated by the US Senate for the execution of priests belonging to the left, who among others fell victim to Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

Castillo received the following order: change the name Telesur, install the transmitter in Miami and broadcast from there to Latin America. What the US government imagines is still a closely guarded secret. A station in Miami, and not in Caracas, is a new station. But maybe Telesur forgot to patent the name and Logo. Or even if they should be protected: who cares about the pirate galleys?