Self-styled Latin America expert Nicolas Kozloff has only just recently attacked the eminently admirable Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. In a column for America Online’s Huffington Post Kozloff describes the laudable Ecuadorian leader as “dubious”, and with (according to Kozloff) “backward tendencies”. Kozloff is unequivocally immensely dubious, and what his tendencies are I won’t even venture to say, but to attack such a genuine article populist/progressive leader as Correa is certainly deeply wrong — and an egregiously disagreeable thing for this Ecuadorian “aficionado” in my opinion to say.
Additionally, Kozloff attacks Correa for his policies vis a vis the Ecuadorian media. In contradistinction, I find these slanders against Correa to be akin to those leveled against Hugo Chavez in relation to RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). In that case of course Chavez had closed a station, that was complicit in taking part in a violent attempted coup d’etat against him! Noam Chomsky even once commented on that particular incidence/situation. And the noted linguist and political philosopher, opined that if an analogous event had taken place in the US; that the principals of the station would have, incontrovertibly, been tried and put to death!
The Real News Network examined some of the purported claims out there that Correa is heavy-handed, and unfair with the Ecuadorian media. Finding them wanting, and that Correa has actually opened up more space for exploration, investigation, heterogeneity and diversity in the Ecuadorian press! Prior to Correa out of seven private networks, five of them were owned by banks. Correa made it illegal for banks to any longer own television networks, and today there are four public networks in Ecuador and three private ones.
Correa questions the entire “quintessential” model of what has become known as a free press in the United States. Considering it to actually be a model of private networks in the communications business that are more interested in making a profit, rather than adhering closely to the ideal fundamental principles of journalism, and diligently informing the general public/citizens. Moreover, Correa finds that the private ownership of media will ineluctably lead to stories/investigations presenting themselves that will pose a conflict of interest to the ownership. And in Correa’s view the ownership will, of course, side with its interest — over the public one — in each and every case!
We have seen the reality of this in the not too distant past in the United States. As the Fox News Channel acted as an apologist for, and played down their owner’s (Rupert Murdoch’s) phone hacking scandal in the UK. In fact, the British Parliament even rendered a verdict that the Aussie tabloid monger Murdoch was unfit to run a major business! Something that I don’t think was even reported whatsoever/at all on Fox. Nor was it widely reported in the US mainstream press! One of Murdoch’s gutter/yellow journalism tabloids, the News of the World, even unconscionably hacked the phone of a missing (murdered) 13-year old girl. Something not known at the time, and her family has even said that this had given them false hope that their daughter may have still been alive! (Again this was not reported by Fox, or widely whatsoever in the US so-called free and “mainstream” press.) MSNBC when General Electric was its parent company, did not really make a lot of the issue of its owner’s failure to pay any taxes in 2010, although it is ostensibly a left-liberal oriented network; promoting higher taxes on stateless global jet-setting corporations like General Electric, rather than common “working stiffs”!
Returning to Ecuador and President Correa, however, Correa has furthermore responded to attacks upon his media strategy, by asking why a nation that ostensibly touts press freedom, is guilty of the torture of Private Bradley Manning!!? (A man who, undeniably, made available a good deal of information to the US and the Western so-called free press.) Journalists are, of course, supposed to protect their sources — if not derelict in their chosen craft — yet a source that provided major fodder for US and Western media, has not received sufficient indignation/outrage; certainly, in said media over of his crass, barbaric and inhuman treatment!
I must admit that I have not followed Nicolas Kozloff’s work very assiduously, but I do believe; however, that he fancies himself a supporter of the Bolivarian Revolution. Perhaps Kozloff only supports Venezuelan progressivism/revolutionary change, whilst he condemns the other ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) nations, though! Support for the Bolivarian Revolution certainly does not equate to support for every nation that is a part of ALBA, but Chavez was a “pan-Latin Americanist” undoubtedly, I’d say. And he was not only instrumental in the germination of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, of course, but the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) organization as well! And CELAC, in fact, includes amongst its ranks such right-of-center Latin American governments as: Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, and Colombia. Colombia a nation with an abysmal human rights record, and a close ally of the US and the West — both of which, irrefutably, have innumerable “backward tendencies”.
Other attacks that Kozloff levels upon Correa are his allegiances with Iran and Belarus. Whatever Kozloff thinks of the human rights, civil liberties, and democracy (or lack thereof) in these countries. Both countries are, in truth, prominent nations insofar as nations attempting to strive for sovereignty on this Earth! And moreover, these are two insurgent nations that have been critical players in attempting to reinvigorate the — for far too long lying virtually entirely dormant — NAM (Non-Aligned Movement). In a world dominated by Machiavellian, and wholly unethical powers; a panoply of options, I don’t think, are afforded to most states. And particularly developing ones that are “seditious” and/or “mutinous” nations, and even nations who would submit to “brazenly” — not follow the path that is laid out for them — and to plumb go against the grain! Nicaragua is currently mulling a plan for China to build a Panama-like canal. Perhaps Kozloff does wholly condemn this (I cannot of course intuit his positions/views)? China is undeniably a nation whose human rights record could, of course, be examined quite strongly.
Venezuela also has good relations, as well as cooperation agreements, with both the nations of Belarus and the Islamic Republic of Iran! In fact, I believe that most of the ALBA nations do as well. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was; in fact, the only European head of state, to give the late President Chavez the dignity of attending his funeral. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat next to Raul Castro at the deceased President Chavez’s funeral service! President Ahmadinejad also received flak for hugging Chavez’s grieving mother at said funeral, which many in the Islamic Republic consider to be haram. Ahmadinejad additionally stated at the time of the death of President Chavez that he would return one day with Jesus Christ, and the Imam Madhi — a significant figure in the theology of Shia Islam.
I am not arguing that Correa has a spotless, virginal, or unmitigatedly pristine record! No indeed, that’s not what I’m arguing at all. But neither did FDR, Charles De Gaulle, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Hugo Chavez or the original incarnation of the Sandinistas! Certainly, we do not want to be apologists for every action that the Correa government/administration engages or partakes in! But a dubious figure, and moreover a disreputable individual — replete with backward tendencies? I’m deeply sorry Monsieur Kozloff, but unequivocally and rather indisputably no.