Tags: Chavez | Plans | Jazeera | Type | Network | for | Latin

Chavez Plans Al Jazeera Type Network for Latin America

Thursday, 05 May 2005 12:00 AM

"Soon we will have Telesur, a channel with information for South American countries, because it is not possible that Venezuela and other southern countries depend only on information from CNN," Chavez said during a March press conference.

Chavez has enlisted support from left-leaning governments in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Chavez has already developed a new anti-American axis with Fidel Castro's Cuba. Tens of thousands of Castro's agent are believed to be in Venezuela helping Chavez maintain dictatorial control over his oil-rich nation.

Telesur's debut comes amid reports from a Venezuelan official that Al Jazeera is expanding its news coverage from Latin America and plans to set up a regional bureau in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

Like Al Jazeera, which receives financing from the Qatar government, Telesur will rely in large part on money from Venezuela, which supplies more than 10 percent of American oil.

Chavez opponents worry that Telesur is the latest attempt to spread anti-American feeling from the man who calls himself the "second Fidel" and has already:

Even centrist Democrat Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of U.S. News and World Report, has called Chavez a "danger to democracy."

In a February column, Zuckerman cited a report that Chavez has granted Cuban security forces extensive police powers in Venezuela.

He also noted that the "left-wing demagogue" – who tried to gain power in an unsuccessful 1992 coup, was first elected president in 1998 and survived a 2004 recall election – was suspected of rigging the recall vote. He pointed to a report from two American professors who concluded there was at least a 99 percent chance the election was a fraud.

Now comes Telesur and the likelihood Chavez will use it to spread his left-wing "Bolivarian revolution."

His government has already contributed $2.5 million to the network and plans to invest $56 million in state-run TV, according to the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

Venezuela and Cuba have agreed to share programming.

Chavez uses state-funded TV "to promote his political agenda," reports The Washington Times, and has his own Sunday show – "prompting questions about Telesur's future independence."

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"Soon we will have Telesur, a channel with information for South American countries, because it is not possible that Venezuela and other southern countries depend only on information from CNN," Chavez said during a March press conference. Chavez has enlisted support from...
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Thursday, 05 May 2005 12:00 AM
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