Wednesday, May 10, 2006

AP Manipulates Chavez Facts

Whether by poor translation or Machiavellian manipulation, the media got the facts wrong in regards to Hugo Chavez's term limit referendum. Christopher Toothtaker of the Associated Press filed a report on May 6th stating, "Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years." The article goes on to imply that Chavez is seeking to be a elected for a single 25 year term, when the reality is quite different. Chavez proposed to alter the Venezuelan Constitution so that Presidents can serve for more than one six year term. In other words, Chavez would be able to run for President every six years as many times as he chooses, but still have to face reelections and democratic checks on power.

Some believe that the AP has poor Spanish-to-English translators and that the original story simply got tripped up semantically. This is somewhat unlikely, as even a Google Translation of the El Universal says, "President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed today that he could decree referendo to allow his re-election by several periods until 2031." Mr. Toothtaker and the other major news agencies that were involved of the manipulation of this story should issue public apologies and clarifications. I, for one, feel a bit silly since I bought into their lies.