Dec 01 2012

Fear of a Venezuelan Example

Don’t try this at home, voters

Hugo Chavez casting a vote.2007

Over the past 30 years, the top 1 percent of the United States has experienced a 240 percent increase in its real annual income, while the median household income has barely budged (Economic Policy Institute, 6/18/12, 9/13/11). Imagine if this explosive, decades-long growth of inequality were somehow reversed—at an even faster rate than its original expansion. This has actually happened in Venezuela, and it goes a long way toward explaining why President Hugo Chávez was re-elected in October, despite many U.S. media pundits’ predictions of a victory by opposition leader Henrique Capriles (CounterSpin, 10/12/12). The likelihood of coming across an […]

Sep 01 2012

Radicals, Terrorists and Traffickers–Oh My

Creating a potpourri of enemies south of the border

Rafael Correa--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

In May, a New York Times story (5/6/12) discussed plans to militarize the U.S. presence in Latin America. For some, this might sound redundant, given U.S. history in the region. Others might be struck by the notion that a nation embroiled in two major wars–and threatening to start another–could find the resources to escalate efforts south of its border. The article, which focused on U.S. efforts to strengthen its anti-drug campaign in Honduras, provided a glimpse of the evolution of the U.S. military’s role in the world as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. That role, the Times […]

Jun 26 2012

Their Man on Havana (and Everywhere Else)

Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert

Michael Shifter--Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialouge

If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]

Jun 01 2012

‘There’s Way Too Much of a History of Lying’

Dana Frank on Honduras

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was reportedly involved in the May 11 killing of four innocent civilians on Honduras’ Mosquito Coast. The operation caused condemnation in Honduras, and scrambling among U.S. officials, who mobilized to defend the DEA with on-the-record statements denying the agency did any actual shooting, and anonymous officials casting suspicion on the victims. With a few exceptions, U.S. media have not distinguished themselves. One of those exceptions is Dana Frank. Her piece, “Honduras: Which Side Is the U.S. On?,” appearing on the Nation website (5/22/12), discusses the killings and the U.S. role in the escalating drug war […]

Apr 27 2012

Mark Weisbrot on Argentina’s Oil, Justin Elliott on Campaign Ad Disclosure

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Argentina’s move to re-nationalize its oil company, taking it back from the Spanish company Repsol, is not getting good reviews in the corporate press overseas or here at home. The move will hurt and further isolate Argentina, say the critics. We’ll talk to economist Mark Weisbrot for another view. Also on the show: Campaign season means a flood of political ads intended to influence your vote. The FCC has proposed a measure aimed at making it easier to figure out who’s buying those ads, it’s public information after all, and you’ll never guess who’s […]

Aug 06 2010

Sonali Kolhatkar on Afghan War & women, Laura Carlsen on Venezuela & Colombia

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The release of the Afghanistan WikiLeaks documents brought the Afghan war back onto the front pages, but much of the attention went to Time magazine’s cover, featuring a disfigured Afghan woman and the headline “What Happens if we leave Afghanistan.” Suddenly the Afghan War debate reverted back to its 2001 template, with the rescue of Afghan women as the noble rationale for U.S. military action. We’ll get a reaction from radio host Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission. Also on CounterSpin today: If you’ve been following the rising tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, […]

Aug 01 2010

Honduras Down the Memory Hole

U.S. media ignore the aftermath of dubious elections they praised

Manuel Zelaya--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/     Presidencia de la República del Ecuador

A year after a military coup removed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from office, Hondurans are still living under a repressive government—but the U.S. is pushing Latin American countries to join it in normalizing relations with the regionally ostracized nation. Reporting from a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS), the New York Times (6/8/10) dutifully relayed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assertion that “we saw the free and fair election of President [Porfirio] Lobo,’’ noting on the other hand that “several foreign ministers inveighed against Mr. Lobo’s government, which they said had violated human rights.” The Times left […]

Jul 16 2010

Adam Serwer on DOJ/New Black Panthers, Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Have you heard the one about how the Obama Justice department refused to prosecute voter intimidation of white people by black people? A few days ago you could’ve missed the story just by avoiding Rush Limbaugh but now even the Washington Post is giving ink to the “political bombshell.” We’ll ask the American Prospect‘s Adam Serwer how much, if anything, there is to this latest tale and what’s behind it. Also on CounterSpin today: Oliver Stone’s new film South of the Border takes a look at the leftward shift in Latin America over the […]