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June 1, 2007
How Jimmy Carter Helped Trash Venezuela's Free Press
As American Thinker noted here yesterday, Jimmy Carter came out with some crocodile tears for the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela's democracy over the issue of free speech. Does anyone realize the extent to which Jimmy Carter created the conditions that led to today's turmoil in Venezuela?
Not only did Carter validate a fraudulent recall referendum in 2004, which sealed Hugo Chavez's grip on political power based on a political capital and mandate he did not have, Carter also was instrumental in weakening the free press. It's not very well known, but Carter mediated a secretive meeting between Chavez and Gustavo Cisneros, another TV station owner who owned Venevision, which at the time was in Chavez's gunsights for a shutdown. Carter brought the two men together, hugging and smiling both, and then negotiated a solution that resulted in Venevision dropping all criticism of Hugo Chavez in exchange for Chavez allowing the station to live. For awhile at least.
In reality, Carter's move was the appeasement of a crocodile, in the hardly certain hope it would eat that station last. Shortly after that meeting, another big station, Televen, dropped its criticism of Chavez, creating a chain reaction. That left only RCTV, (and its tiny helpless ally, Globovision) standing alone, to weather the dictatorship. The huge RCTV, a popular station with a 42% market was pressured to fall into line as its brother stations had already done. It had political capital based on its huge popularity with Venezuelans. But based on principle, it refused and vowed to stay independent. The result was, it was vulnerable, because Carter had facilitated the cave-ins of the other stations in 2004.
One more legacy of the Carter presidency, and why Jimmy Carter is always the dictator's friend. Investor's Business Daily has an editorial about Carter's role in destroying Venezuela's free press here.