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Hugo Chavez & The Alternative Movie Awards

by Patrick Kelly (patkel [at]
Alties 2004 voter suggestion -- The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
While casting my vote in AlterNet's Alties (1) I realized how few movies I actually went to last year although for the Truth To Power Award [Political Documentary] I managed 4/5. So if you haven't previewed all five entries and are having trouble casting your vote -- let me suggest the following for numero uno:

1. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2)

Documentaries rarely reach such momentous heights as does this Bord Scannan na hEireann (Irish Film Board) production. Two Irish filmmakers travel to Caracas with hopes of filming the anti-globalist socialist rebel leader Hugo Chavez whom for reasons which are far too obvious to accentuate has been branded with the foreboding persona "21st century Castro"; customary propagandist convictions essential while masquerading U.S. hegemony as freedom dreams both @ home & [although for the most part ignored] abroad. Sheepish allegations designed to ensure those sheepish sheep remain asleep! Chavez surprisingly grants the two full and unrestricted access & while their camera rolls a remarkable feat unravels; anarchic disorder imprisons the impartial lens as this historic monument to the corrupt nature of a minority ruling class intent on returning the country to a state of lawless capitalist endeavor ignites. Captured on film is the first coup of the 21st century, the first ever media coup (?) & potentially the shortest lived coup d'état since 25 August, 1896.

Confused? On that date then Sultan of Zanzibar (Sultan Hamid bin Thuwain) passed away. Within 2 hours of his death an insurgent broke into the Palace declaring himself ruler. Since the Brits had previously established a protectorate on the island they kindly intervened as 3 Royal Navy warships bombarded the Palace thus demolishing the building and overthrowing its hapless ruler. It all but lasted a total of 45 minutes making it the shortest lived war in history!

Anyway "Chavez: Inside The Coup" is a compelling testament to noble journalistic pursuit. Thrown in for good measure are snippets from U.S. coverage; puppet broadcasters airing encouraging statements from the Administration [Ari Fleischer, Uncle Tom Powell, et al], preaching the same old moralistic jargon that this free "until you disagree" nation was raised upon. All the while you the audience experience an unfolding nightmare as a democratically [twice by landslide majority] elected President is forced from power by an autocratic minority opposition & U.S. backed coup. Some of the initial "accomplishments" of the new government are outrageous, can't recall fully however stuff like removing the constitution, taking judicial power away from the high courts and granting it to their General of choice. They also demand that Chavez sign a statement proclaiming he willingly stepped down as leader, however rebellious as is the true nature of virtue he adamantly refuses -- the price being his life as he's promptly flown to some secret location. Word escaped from the island [via Chavez followers forced to work under the opposition] that an American plane had landed confirming U.S. involvement while also suggesting his imminent death or at the very least expulsion!

The media's embedded militancy is astounding as they initially pave the foundation by claiming Chavez had authorized the killing of 11 opposition marchers. This subsequently leads to his forced resignation. The filmmakers prove it was actually Chavez supporters who were murdered & confirm that news footage was deliberately cooked to appear otherwise! Every station carried this identical story with the exception of channel 8 who continued to back Chavez. Every station with the exception of channel 8 are private owned and belong to those same opponents behind the short lived conquest. Needless to say channel 8 was consequently taken hostage and [if I recall correctly] removed from air. The film reaches its emotive peak at the same time as the Caracas populace, whom over a period of 48 hours had miraculously managed to circulate the unbridled truth by means of civil disobedience word of mouth [initially small groups of dedicated followers took to the streets, many were brutally beaten], culminating in a mass collective protest outside Palace gates where literally hundreds of thousands of ordinary working class Venezuelans demanded the release of their socialist leader, the same man who had advocated a redistribution of the nation's oil wealth to its poor majority, Presidente Hugo Chavez. All the while his guards were plotting a plan that would overthrow this elitist aristocracy. In the final hour they successfully implemented a peoples coup d'état that dethroned the aristocratic coup d'WeFat. Chavez returns to power making an impassioned speech on channel 8 declaring "there will be no witch hunts, no persecution, no disrespect for free expression or thought".

Doesn't end once the film ends though. There has since been a series of CIA attempts to assassinate Chavez. In fact in Sept. 2003 Venezuelan Military Intelligence claims to have overwhelming evidence that the CIA planned to bring down Hugo Chavez Frias' airplane (3) en route to the United Nations [New York] where he [along with fellow world leaders] was to deliver a speech on, among other things, the premise of "democratic" preemptive war. Chavez was forced to cancel his trip however Bush spoke! (4)

2/3: Close tie between "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War" and "The Weather Underground". Both formidable statements covering alternate periods in the greatest democracy money can buy. Speaking of which "Fog of War" is really no major biggie. I believe little of substance is truly revealed with exception to the fact that prior to atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 67 additional cities were almost completely destroyed [as much as 87% of a cities land mass]; horrendous fire-bombings that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians in the process. 100,000 alone were killed in Tokyo during one nightly raid. McNamara barely accepts his role & an apology is always far from hand although he does mention how General Curtis LeMay surmised if the United States had lost the war McNamara & himself would have been prosecuted as war criminals! As credulous documents go it's a simple text file but interesting just the same. In either case be sure to cast your vote today, you have until February 17. Winners will be announced on February 26. (6)

On a different note, had you heard how the U.S. recently denied visas to world-renowned Cuban musicians (5) the Buena Vista Social Club? They were invited to the Grammys. Now I feel much safer!


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