As a Venezuelan citizen, I find it hard to believe that Mark Jenkins’ review of the film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (“The Power and the Story,” 12/12/03) is due to misinformation on the author’s part, which would be a serious fault of the author as well as the newspaper. I am surprised by the “ingenuousness” of a newspaper so otherwise well-informed.
I watched The Revolution Will Not Be Televised with indignation. A film that disrespects the documentary genre due to the treachery or ignorance of the filmmakers (it seems more like treachery), it shows the whole world a tergiversated version of the events that occurred last April in Venezuela. First and foremost, the film fails to show the speech of Gen. Lucas Rincon, the head of President Chávez’s armed forces. For the filmmakers, these words were never declared on television.
Jenkins said, “[A] business oligopoly’s coup briefly removed a democratically elected leftist president.” I must give credit to Jenkins, because Chávez is a master of deception. Chávez disguises his militaristic and authoritarian tactics under a populist and “liberal” program. Chávez is nothing but a disgrace to those who support the leftist doctrine.
Did Jenkins ever hear about a march on April 11 where over a million people requested the resignation of the “poor” Chávez? The hidden hand was anything but; in fact, 70 percent (according to the polls at the time) of the population (both left and right) opposed Chávez’s authoritarian government. Jenkins also said, “The country’s oil income has always trickled up, not down; 80 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty. This inequality of revenue distribution was, of course, an issue in the 1998 presidential election, which Chávez won handily.” The inequality of revenue distribution still exists, Mr. Jenkins. The critic ignored the 3 million people that Chávez forced into poverty.
The film is a complete fallacy. The only manipulation of the footage of the events was done by filmmakers Bartley and O’Briain, not by the TV stations, as stated in the film. There was no bomb threat against the presidential palace. As many Venezuelan citizens know, the Venezuelan air force is as capable of carrying out a night raid as the Iraqi air force did during the last Gulf war. Good try, although it does add drama and suspense to the story.
Just out of curiosity, why wasn’t the presence of the TV crew ever questioned? It’s a mystery. Bartley and O’Briain must have been under so much stress. They just continued to film, and “the coup collapsed under a swell of popular support.” Jenkins falls short here; Chávez said it was a tsunami of supporters (12 million) that brought him back. Jenkins completely bought the propaganda. Unfortunately, there are a lot of good people in the world disposed to believe this type of propaganda.
On the other hand, I must agree with Jenkins in that this film is surprisingnot more than “most Hollywood thrillers” as he stated, but more than most Hollywood science-fiction films.
However, this failed attempt at a “documentary” is acclaimed by the counterculture, the fatigued leftists of the First World, who watch from the comfort of their own reality. How easy it is to support what is not lived in flesh and bone. I can assure you that they will accuse me of being an oligarch, lashing out, and throwing a tantrum to defend my privileges.
The only revolution that is taking place in Venezuela is that of the civil society, which every day that passes is more conscious of its importance to and accountability with the reconstruction of the country. Viva Venezuela without Chávez. The truth will be televised.