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Thursday, May 17, 2007


By almost every standard -- whether it's government censorship, intimidation of reporters or drug gang killings of journalists -- freedom of the press in Latin America is going through its worst moment since the right-wing military dictatorships of the 1970s. And the U.S.A. is not doing that well either in this matter. Read the full column here, and let us know what YOU think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

åndêrš, it's ALL segments of Latin American society that will not tolerate free speech.
Latin Americans of Spanish ancestry are a very proud people and will not stand for anything bad to be said about them or the Hispanick race of people.
As far as the US government trying to force reporters to reveal their sources, that is only done in cases where a crime was committed by revealing confidential information. I am all for that.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oppenheimer forgot to mention that his own newspaper was found to be under direct control of the US Government; I am referring to the major scandal that broke out in 2006 when it was revealed that several of Oppenheimer's colleagues were found to be on the payroll of the US Government to publish pro-American propaganda.

So its a little difficult to take Oppenheimer serious when he complains about the Venezuelan government intervening in the media when Oppenheimer's own newspaper was found to be basically a mouthpiece of the US Govenment with countless reporters being paid directly by the US government.

Had Oppenheimer had a minimum of ethics he would have resigned from his newspaper following that scandal and moved on to a more independent newspaper; the fact that Oppenheimer continues to be employed by a newspaper which was funded by the US government makes everybody question wether Oppenheimer possibly is also a paid propagandist of the US Government.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

Hey Sr Anonymous, I don't have a problem with the US paying Miami Herald journalists to write favorable stories about the USA so long as the stories are true.
There is a tremendous amount of hatred in Latin America for the USA, and I'm all for doing anything to get you people to see the USA in another way. Try to see the USA/"Anglos" as the people who took you in out of poverty and provided good lives for you that so few people in the world can only dream of, instead of seeing the USA/"Anglos" as the hated historic rivals of your beloved Spaniards and feeling tremendously upset that they have whipped you Hispanicks in every conceivable way to the point that you Hispanicks pay your life savings and risk your lives to make desperate attempts to be sneaked into Anglolandia.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Andres Oppenheimer said...

Hey, folks, calm down. I have never been in the payroll of the U.S. government, I'm not right now, and I don't intend to be. So please, folks, be serious.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Oppenheimer:

You wrote an excellent article about the threat to free speech in Latin America. However, it is unfortunate that you felt compelled to add a fillip near the end:

"And, unfortunately, the United States has lost its own moral standing to point its finger at others because of its own judicial pressures on journalists to reveal confidential sources."

You are going out of your way here to make a false equivalence. There
simply is no comparison between the reality for journalists in this
country and the condition of reporteros and columnistas in Cuba,
Venezuela, or Mexico. Not even close.

The judicial rulings here may be unfortunate, but they do not change
the fact that we enjoy freedom of expression here that is the envy of
the world. Witness the wide range of commentary on, for example, the
war in Iraq, immigration policy or the status of Attorney General
Gonzalez. Has any scribbler been arrested, shot, tortured or threatened with such by any branch of the US government? America has not lost its moral standing; it stands as a beacon for those who challenge with their words despots of all stripes.
-Tom Gelsinon

10:16 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


all this press atacks strangelly coincide qith the death of Jerry Falawell, the religous leader wich in 1988 sued the Hustler magazine in one of the most important fredom of speech precedent cases in the USA. the Interamerican Court of Human Rights (or CIDH in spanish) suports freedom of speech and rejct criminal laws that "fight" the "media mafia" with restricting them to critizice or insult the president. (as an ecuatorean, this is ecuadors case, which is absurd...)

latin america has become an islamic country, not in the religous way, niether on the islamic philosophy (the moderate one, not the boom-boom one), but in te obstinate, atavic and monarchical way of governing by fear and unreasonable punishment or fights.

acording to CIA, colombia had more terrorists atacks than israel on 2000.

if mexico is now the 2nd more dangerous country for journalists, colombia is still 3rd.

cuba... well, thats an "infidel islamic country" where the love for the king-god fidel, and his saints (like the genocide Ermesto "che" Guevara") blind them out of proress and make their small viw of the world the only one existing to "fight the imperialisms (if such still exists, except in some colonies like the guyanas), the neoliberalism (which does not exist due its oldness) and the capitalism (which had made the northern hemisphere countries rich and some other southern countries too)

like Guayaquil mayor said not so long ago: why is people runing ou to europe or the US and not migrating and taking risk to loose their lives in boats heading to Salvador, Cuba, Venezuela or Bolivia (which is so poor to have a sea)

10:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

sorry for that long post :P

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just want you to know that "family values" is most assuredly a positive when it's a responsible life-style. sadly, "f.v." is little more than political spin/rhetoric... and I'm totally in favor of stringent immigration laws, and believe that our nation has enough uneducated people - whether they're citizens or legal aliens (illegals should be deported, and on "as needed" basis, be granted work visas).

Allowing immigrants into our country who can make valuable contributions, i.e., Educated Individuals, is the ideal at this time in our nation's history.

Even 100 years ago there were limits on immigration -- people with handicaps were not permitted entry into our nation. Immigrants needed sponsors who would guarantee jobs and/or financial support so there would bse no burden on our government. The same rules do not apply today.

I could go on, but it's obvious that I'm pro responsible immigration regulations, no special interests for immigrants NOR CORPORATIONS INTERESTED IN CHEAP LABOR.

Just for the heck of it, the Immigration and Naturalization Service could have gotten kazillions of illegals working in the entire Hurricane (Katrina, Rita, Wilma) areas of the country and shipped 'em out, en masse. And, many such workers are still in our country... how many have work visas?????????

7:26 AM  
Blogger RodrigoSG said...

We should not lose out of sight the fact that there may be more than one option, and more than one bad option. To many people, criticizing Chávez is to support that wicked band known as the right. Attacking him about this move against RCTV is the same as siding with imperialist and corrupt media. Venezuelan politics has sadly deteriorated in the last decades, and it is only within this context that the Chávez phenomenon is understandable. One should make clear that one is not backing some party option one does not even know when one is pointing out how objectionable his politics is. You don’t have to know all the intricacies of Venezuelan political life to detect a pattern of power grabbing, absolutism and demagoguery in the career of Chávez. Once you have stated this there remains the tremendous question of how to rebuild that political life, how to found and nurture real parties that offer that poor country better horizons. A problem very similar to that faced now by México.

There is a lot to criticize, similarly, in Latin American media. What is called freedom of the press is here too often the ruthless rule of what is euphemistically called the media barons, and that in México we call caciques (bosses). Their enormous wealth makes it virtually impossible to compete with them. And they did not amass that wealth by working and saving, but (mainly) through political favouritism. They were in fact a sector of the PRI system, a sector that survived the loss of the presidency and is now and independent gang of bosses that blackmails governments and parties to retain their power and privileges. They misinform, they manipulate, they hide. And they tend to coalesce in a few corporate giants, in effect blocking all possible competition. Several of them have blatant party trends that that they do not confess, nonetheless, to blind the naïve to their obvious partisanship and led them like sheep (or like Hamelin rats). But in the midst of all this media corruption there is something good: they are oligopolic, but they are no longer monolithic. If there is something worse than this mosaic of media cacicazgos is the kind of media monolith created by PRI and that Chávez wants to create in Venezuela.

Admitting all this tells us a lot about Chávez, but leaves us with a gigantic task of party and media reform in Venezuela, and in México (where there is a political force that loves Chávez politics and sometimes declares that love, and sometimes tries to deny it). Pretending that only Chávez is guilty, or that only his enemies are to blame, is to plunge into darkness. Acknowledging that there are lots of culprits might be a small step toward a solution, but only a step. Travelling the rest of the road is a task as hard as it is urgent.

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