Venezuela, Cuba. Again.

Venezuela, again ....
Many of us at IAWM may already be very familiar with the award-winning Irish-directed documentary,  

Chavez – Inside the Coup, the critically acclaimed winner of  top awards at numerous television festivals around the world. More recently, a longer feature-length theatrical version is being shown at film festivals internationally, titled The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The documentary started out as an observational portrait of the democratically-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, when suddenly the film crew found themselves unwitting bystanders and observers at the centre of the attempted coup d'etat against him in April 2002, the first-ever coup actually captured live on film. The film was directed by Irish film-makers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Brien and produced by Power Pictures in association with RTE, the Irish Film Board, BBC, ZDF, ARTE, NPS, CoBO and YLE. The theatrical version was screened both at Dublin's Irish Film Centre last weekend (as part of a documentary film festival that screened a number of other political documentaries, eg. ace documentarist Errol Morris' excellent The Fog of War, some short films from Palestine, and a moving portrait of Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, perhaps the world's leading and most respected film director) and last Thursday evening as part of a fundraiser for the Irish Social Forum's imminent Summit of Co-operation and Solidarity (UCD, 17-19th October).

At one of the festivals, the documentary was described as "A wonderful story, brilliantly told. The energy and pace of this documentary, combined with remarkable insider footage, make it a thrilling experience for the viewer. The meticulous journalism of this program exposes the mendacious journalism of others. A combination of intelligence, passion, and humour illuminates this controversial tale of big oil, international intrigue, charismatic leadership, class struggle, revolution and ultimately, the hopes of people for real democracy."

Alas, the U.S. is still actively organising to overthrow Chavez, by any means necessary:

Venezuelan Intelligence Sources Warn Of USA-CIA Backed Coup Attempt

10/10/03: Venezuelan intelligence sources have informed that a very much heightened state of security alert is being maintained this weekend following multiple indications that a USA-CIA initiative is about to be launched against the government of President Hugo Chavez Frias but that the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FAN) believe they will, nevertheless, be able to contain an eventual threat to Venezuela's constitutional rule.  USA-backed military-civilian infiltrators are said already to be on the ground in Venezuelan territory but they have not yet reached key positions. 

Advance knowledge of their movements by Venezuela's Directorate of Military Intelligence (DIM) has been a major factor in the discovery and counter-operations now believed to have been set in progress. readers will be aware that this e-publication broke the news of a CIA plot early in 2002 as a preliminary to the opposition-launched coup d'etat in April which saw President Hugo Chavez Frias taken prisoner and the installation of USA puppet dictator Pedro Carmona Estanga for just two days during which he dissolved the Constitution, Parliament and the Judiciary in one fell swoop.

And Cuba, again ....

US to tighten Cuba sanctions
President Bush
Bush: 'Cuba shall be free'
US President George W Bush has announced fresh measures designed to hasten the end of communist rule in Cuba.

They include tightening an American travel embargo to the island, cracking down on illegal cash transfers, and a more robust information campaign aimed at Cuba.

Mr Bush said the punitive measures were being introduced because the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, had acted with "defiance and contempt and a new round of brutal oppression that outraged world conscience".

The speech - before members of the Cuban community at the White House - came as the 2004 election campaign gets under way.

Mr Bush's advisers know that fiercely anti-Castro Cuban exiles living in the key state of Florida might well be hugely important in determining whether the president holds on to power, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

His speech today will have secured some valuable votes, our correspondent says.

Robust enforcement

Mr Bush was speaking on the day Cuba celebrates the 1868 start of its quest for independence from Spain.

"The struggle for freedom continues," the US president said.

Mr Bush said the current Cuban regime, the only one-party communist government in the Americas, would never change its policies.

Fidel Castro

"The Castro regime will not change by its own choice - but Cuba must change," Mr Bush promised.

The new measures announced include:

  • Strictly enforcing an existing US law forbidding Americans from travelling to Cuba for pleasure.

  • Cracking down on illegal money transfers

  • Imposing controls of shipments to the island.

  • Aggressive campaign to inform Cubans of safer routes to reach the United States

  • Increasing the number of Cuban immigrants in the US.

  • More US radio, television, satellite and internet broadcasts to break the "information embargo" Mr Castro had imposed on his people.

Beyond the more immediate measures, the US president announced he was setting up a "Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba" to plan for the day communism would collapse.

Headed by the US secretary of state and the head of the department of housing, the new body would look ahead to the end of the regime.

International pressure

Secretary of State Colin Powell has been trying to enlist other nations in efforts to bring democracy to Cuba - and Mr Bush said more were joining.

In June, Mr Powell urged foreign ministers from the Organisation of American States meeting in Chile to join the United States in promoting a peaceful transition in Cuba.

Mr Castro ridiculed the idea, saying his country had a transition in 1959.

Cuban migrants trying to cross the Straits of Florida 16 July
Cubans would be informed of safer routes to the US
On Thursday, the head of Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington said Mr Bush should "stop acting like a lawless cowboy" and "start listening to the voices of the nations of the world".

Analysts say the votes from the 400,000 Cuban-American community in Florida - a key state - could be crucial in the 2004 presidential election.

Mr Bush's relations with his supporters in Miami are said to have reached a low in July, when Washington returned 15 migrants to Cuba after receiving assurances they would not be executed for hijacking a boat.

The president's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, criticised the decision.

Earlier this year, the jailing of 75 dissidents by the Cuban authorities drew international condemnation.

Created By: Padraig L Henry