Map of the Western Hemisphere

Analysis Beyond the Echo Chamber

The Americas Blog seeks to present a more accurate perspective on economic and political developments in the Western Hemisphere than is often presented in the United States. It will provide information that is often ignored, buried, and sometimes misreported in the major U.S. media. For more information, sign up for our Latin America News Roundup or visit the archives.

  FB-logo  Subscribe by E-mail  

The documentary film “South of the Border” examines how the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and other countries are depicted in the major U.S. media. Many major U.K. media outlets offer a similar treatment of Latin America. A recent analysis of BBC coverage of Venezuela in the Chávez years, for example, details numerous misleading statements and distortions. To take another case, The Guardian is currently prominently featuring a report from last year on “The rise and rule of” Hugo Chávez. The slideshow – almost a sort of mini-documentary – is done by South America correspondent Rory Carroll, and it provides a good example of the kinds of distortions and one-sided, de-contextualized information on South America that have appeared in many Guardian news reports over the past several years.

The slideshow begins violently, with the sound of gunshots and images of the failed 1992 coup d’etat launched by Chávez and other military officers. A barebones description of the coup quickly segues into an explanation that “Chávez … instead of shooting his way into power … seduced his way,” since “the poor were angry”, as Carroll puts it. There is no mention of the exponentially more bloody episode that would help explain how divided Venezuelan society had become prior to ‘92, and why the coup attempt was so popular: the 1989 caracazo, protests against IMF-mandated economic policies which were crushed by the Venezuelan military and police, resulting in hundreds and possibly thousands killed as troops fired on demonstrators.

Social Spending in Venezuela (1990-2005) 

 

Social Spending (including Soc Sec)
  Millions of Bolivares % of Public Spending % of GDP
1990 172271.3 29.9 7.8
1991 286635.9 35.8 9.8
1992 402292.1 40.1 10.1
1993 440023.6 40.0 8.3
1994 652605.1 33.7 7.8
1995 1037334.7 36.9 7.8
1996 2080229 32.3 7.3
1997 4113750.5 38.6 9.8
1998 4111346.1 34.7 8.2
1999 5607402.7 38.5 9.4
2000 8782242.8 37.3 11.0
2001 10778508.8 38.4 12.1
2002 12107275.2 38.2 11.2
2003 16224911.7 39.0 12.1
2004 25068023.3 41.4 12.1
2005 38781871.5 44.9 13.2

Source: SISOV (http://www.sisov.mpd.gov.ve/home/index.php)

 

Social Spending (minus Soc Sec)

 

  Millions of Bolivares % of Public Spending % of GDP
1990 157462.2 27.3 7.1
1991 261776.5 32.7 8.9
1992 366881.1 36.6 9.2
1993 399303.3 36.3 7.6
1994 568795.8 29.3 6.8
1995 903411.6 32.2 6.8
1996 1761219.1 27.3 6.2
1997 3467903.3 32.5 8.3
1998 3416919.5 28.8 6.8
1999 4429408.4 30.4 7.5
2000 7019333.9 29.8 8.8
2001 7716175 27.5 8.7
2002 9049090.9 28.6 8.4
2003 11674748.1 28.1 8.7
2004 18475914 30.5 8.9
2005 29685076.6 34.4 10.1

Source: SISOV (http://www.sisov.mpd.gov.ve/home/index.php)