It's billed as the CNN of Latin America, but some say Telesur is the television network of terrorists. From Investors Business Daily:
Ahead of its first broadcast Sunday, Telesur released a ghastly news trailer featuring one of the hemisphere's grimmest narco terrorists, Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda. This professional killer leads the 13,000-strong FARC Marxist guerrillas who have terrorized Colombia for 40 years.
Telesur's management said the video is newsworthy.
"Do they think Sureshot doesn't exist?" said Director-General Aram Aharonian, a Uruguayan Marxist.
Colombians strongly disagree.
"It was very painful for Colombia that out of the 44 million decent Colombians, Telesur should choose Sureshot for its first two seconds of broadcasting," Colombia's deputy foreign minister told Chavez.
Unfortunately, the article is not exactly clear as to who the Chavez is. The only previous reference to a Chavez is to Hugo Chavez, cited as "Telesur, Hugo Chavez's new South American TV network." Does that mean that Chavez appeared on camera doing the interviews? Could well be.
IBD denies the story of "Sureshot" is newsworthy at all.
Democratic Colombia is winning its war against terror, and its economy grew 6% in 2004. To visibly feature washed-up narco terrorists like Sureshot as Colombia's "real" story is a cliche.
The majority of Telesur is owned by the Venezuelan government and is backed by the leftists from Cuba, Argentina and Uruguay. It's run by Andres Izzara, Chavez's information minister, located in Venezuela state TV offices, and staff members have been seen wearing FARC t-shirts.
But the real goal of the network may be to destroy press freedom. Latin America is now well served by private news organizations. CNN En Espanol is praised for its coverage of parts of the region. There are large numbers of competitive newspapers, as well as radio and television stations. In the past week, a newspaper in Oaxaca was shut down by union thugs aligned with the PRI party. In Haiti, a journalist was murdered by leftover members of the Aristide regime.
In addition, Telesur seems designed to be like al-Jazeera - to spread anti-US messages throughout the region. It's already giving support to FARC, which conducts itself like al Quada - kidnapping and murdering legitimate journalists.
And in Telesur's own Venezuela, the independent television network Globovision, a station Chavez hates so much he's commissioned his revolutionary "Bolivarians" to paint intimidating messages to it on Caracas walls, this week was dragged into the Supreme Court for 20 "violations" of Chavez's constitution. One of its newscasters got menacing phone calls for not identifying Venezuela as "Bolivarian," Chavez's pet descriptor for the country.
Globovision's people are the lucky ones. A few weeks ago, another reporter who asked too many questions about a Venezuelan state enterprise was nearly beheaded in a way known as "Colombian necktie." His uncaught killers are believed affiliated with government elements.
U.S. Representative Connie Mack (R-Fla) is so concerned he's introduced a bill to create Radio Free Venezuela to counter the shut-down of the press that he forsees.
If one thing is clear, its that we need to pay more attention to where our energy money goes. The oil states are becoming real troublemakers, using our own money against us. It's time for the powers that be to seriously get to work on real, practical alternative energy, if such a thing exists. Solar power and windmills won't do the job. Will anything else do?