The Washington Post ran a misleading Editorial June 28* arguing that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez may not be a “legitimate democratic politician.” After countless elections and a recall referendum, the fact that this debate is still happening is ridiculous.

The editorial relies on four major flaws in presenting its argument:

An Inaccurate Anecdote. The Post uses the case of opposition mayor Henrique Capriles Radonski to make the point that the Venezuelan courts may be attacking political opponents. The accusation is not based on the facts (for more on the Capriles case and on Washington Post editorial coverage of Venezuela in general, please see our April 13th article:

An Overblown Analysis. The Post overstates Capriles’ role in the upcoming elections, in order to make the case that his trial is politicized. He is simply not very influential in Venezuela. While Capriles may be popular within his sphere of influence, as mayor of Caracas’ smallest and wealthiest district, he has very little popularity among Chavez’s political base. If the Venezuelan government were seriously interested in attacking the opposition, they clearly would have focused one of the dozen candidates actually running against Chavez for president.

A Globe hopping Victim. The reason the Post editorial board knows about the Capriles case is because he was in Washington a few months ago on a publicity tour. The Post attempts to argue that the Venezuelan government is “despotic,” but if that were the case surely Capriles would have a hard time leaving the country for such campaigns.

An Oversimplified Case. The case of Henrique Capriles Radonski is complicated, and a legitimate subject for the courts to decide. Capriles spoke before a near-riot crowd during the 2002 coup attempt against President Chavez. His supporters say he was trying to calm them down, but his conversations, captured on videotape, indicate that he may have tried to leverage the situation to illegally invade a foreign embassy. In the end, the Venezuelan courts may find Capriles innocent. But the f act is that the charges against him are serious, and involve one of the most complicated and ugly days in modern Venezuelan history.

The Washington Post does not have to support President Chavez, but they do have a responsibility to accurately report what is happening in the country. To abdicate that responsibility is to perform a disservice to their readers and to the people of Venezuela who support their president by wide margins.

Your can help by responding with a letter to the editor. In this election year, it is crucial that misinformation about Venezuela’s electoral process not go unchallenged. Letters can be sent to, and must be less than 150 words.

SURVEY: Venezuela, U.S. Lead the World in National Pride Venezuela and the United States are the two most patriotic countries in the world, but for very different reasons, according to a new report from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

The study breaks down national pride into ten different indicators. Amazingly, Venezuela topped the world in four of the ten, including “fair and equal treatment of all groups in society,” as well as pride in the country’s history, arts & literature, and its accomplishments in sports.

Americans, on the other hand, lead the world in pride in political influence, military expertise, economy and democracy.

In only one category saw a country other than the U.S. or Venezuela at the top. France leads the world for pride in its social security program.

The study is remarkable, and tells a story of the way Venezuelans feel about their country that is not generally represented in the media. Please take a look at our complete analysis, complete with charts and links to the original study:


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