Tuesday, September 25, 2007
CHOMSKY ON VENEZUELA
Photograph: Juan Carlos Yegres "Chomsky & Eva" September 21, 2007
Back again to tierra venezolana!! I had the honor to interview Noam Chomsky for the Feria Internacional del Libro in Venezuela (international book fair) which will be held in all 23 states of the nation beginning in mid-October and lasting through November 19th. The Caracas part of the book fair, FILVEN, will be from November 8-18, and a great delegation from the United States will be participating as part of this year's theme: "United States, Is Revolution Possible?" Chomsky unfortunately can't accompany us in person but agreed to do this wonderful interview to later screen at the book fair and on national and international television. The entire interview for publication is not yet ready, but here are a view quotes:
Chomsky on the People's Power: "In principle it seems to be a very powerful and persuasive conception, but everything always depends on implementation. If there is really authentic popular participation in the decision-making and the free association of communities that could be tremendously important. In fact that's centrally the traditional anarchist ideal. That's what was realized the only time for about a year in Spain in 1936 before it was crushed by outside forces, but in fact all outside forces, Stalinst Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussilini's fascism and the Western democracies cooperated in crushing it. They were all afraid of it. But that was something like what you are describing, and if it can function and survive and really disperse power down to participants and their communities, it could be extremely important."
Chomsky on Language: "Every time a language disappears that means the disappearance of the historical tradition, of cultural wealth, of an aural literary tradition, of a way of life, a piece of humanity is gone. It's not just the words. Languages are part of a living society. So a large part of humanity is being destroyed. It's tradition and it's cultural wealth. It's happening all over, people are not too aware of it. "
Chomsky on Intellectuals in Latin America: "Latin American countries are now resisting international intervention in a way that hasn't been true for 500 years, and impediments in the imperial societies well there are windows of opportunity for the intellectual classes as well. They don't live in a vacuum. They live in a society. They can't do anything if the society is not receptive to them and if they don't contribute to the society."
Chomsky on Latin American Integration: "If Brazil and Venezuela can cooperate on major projects, joint projects, maybe ultimately the gas pipeline through Latin America. That's a step towards regional integration, which is a real prerequisite for defense against outside intervention. You can't have defense against intervention if the countries are separated from one another and if they are separated internally from elites and general populations, so I think these are extremely important developments."
Chomsky on RCTV: "However, let me say that I agree with the western criticism in one crucial respect. When they say nothing like that could ever happen here, that's correct. But the reason, which is not stated, is that if there had been anything like RCTV in the United States or England or Western Europe the owners and the managers would have been brought to trial and executed – In the United States executed, in Europe sent to prison permanently, right away, in 2002. You can't imagine the New York Times or CBS News supporting a military coup that overthrew the government even for a day. The reaction would be "send them to a firing squad" . So yeah, it wouldn't have happened in the west because it would never have gotten this far. It seems to me that there should be more focus on that."
So folks, I'll leave it at that for now. The full interview will be available soon for publication and on television. Chomsky is my new hero.
On the ground here in Venezuela things are as active as ever. President Chávez will not be attending the 62nd General Assembly session at the United Nations in New York this year (I didn't think he would). I think it's best to give at least a one year gap between those intense visits. Anyway, Evo Morales is making his first major appearance in the United States and at the United Nations (heard he would appear on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart), and it's important that no attention be taken away from Bolivia this year, since the internal situation is quite delicate. A coup is in the works against the government of Evo Morales and the international community must take steps to prevent it.
Kevin Spacey, award-winning actor, is visiting Venezuela. The headline in El Universal, Venezuela's largest opposition daily newspaper says the following: "Chávez Meets with Lex Luther." Of course, the opposition media had to pick the most evil character Spacey has every played and use that for the reason to meet with Chávez. It was a meeting of the bad, evil guys, obviously!!!