The Venezuelan blogosphere has been both touched, and moved by the latest development in Iran. There have been blogger opinions that try to make comparisons with similar events in Venezuelan recent history, as well viewpoints on the support given by President Hugo Chavez to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In his blog Venezuela’s News and Views, Daniel criticizes this support and puts the light on the analysis made by the foreign media regarding the alliance with Iran:
(…) Chavez to Ahmadinejerk does not mean Venezuela to Iran (…)
But Center Left major paper Le Monde did take notice that not only Chavez is about the only Western leader in the word to come strongly on Ahmadinejad side (well, he has been cheating electorally since at least 2003) but that this support should not be surprising and should be considered ominous. That for sure will play nice among the French leftist intelligentsia (and among the wuss right too). It never ceases to amaze me how Chavez has an ability to stick his foot in mouth at the very worst moment. But thanks to oil until now he was able to make limited come backs. Let's see how that works out now.
Meanwhile, Juan Cristobal in his blog Caracas Chronicles makes an “iran-alogy” in this comparison of scenarios and whether lessons could be learned from what Venezuela experienced in the 2006 Presidential election. He writes that there is “no happy ending”:
Sadly, if anything, Venezuela's experience does not provide much hope for Iran's Mousavi backers. I'm no Iran expert, but judging by what we've gone through, this slow kabuki dance will be long on drama and short on substance. We learned long ago that not to underestimate a petro-dictatorship's ability to ignore what happens on the streets. Marcha no mata mullah, chamo, y Twitter no mata dictadura (Marches don't kill the mullah and Twitter does not kill dictatorship). Just ask the Burmese monks.
The other lesson is in the power of alternative media as a way of overcoming official censorship. As we see the last independent TV station in Venezuela gasping for air, it's easy to think of its demise as the end of the possibility of regime change.
But the world is changing, and old media is not the only media out there. The role of alternative media sites such as Facebook or Twitter or (hell, why not) blogs in the current crisis should be carefully analyzed, specially by Venezuela's hapless opposition.
In the article Venezuela, Iran’s best friend? posted by Alex Holland takes a look at the relationship between the two countries, including the fact that Venezuela was one of the only countries that cast a vote against putting Iran in front of the United Nations Security Council in regards to its nuclear activities. However, the relationship also includes cooperation in the petroleum industry. Iran is helping Venezuela develop some of its natural resources through these agreements. However, Holland points out that there have been some claims by the media that do not accurately portray this relationship:
A recent article from the conservative US newspaper, the Washington Times with the title, “Venezuela Seeks Nuclear Technology”, gave the impression that Venezuela was about to take delivery of Nuclear Weapons from Iran to use against the US.
General James Hill, the head of the U.S. Southern Command claimed Venezuela was supporting “Islamic terror groups” in one of its major tourist resorts, Margarita Island. This was immediately and easily disproved by journalists visiting the alleged sites.
Despite some of these outlandish US claims, Venezuela’s reasons for having an alliance with Iran is motivated by other things than wanting to be part of an “Islamo-bloc” of nations against the US.
The two countries do not share all the same foreign policy aims either. Venezuela is more than happy to do business with a country the Iranian President recently said should be, “wiped off the map.”
Israel has received millions of dollars from Venezuela in recent years. This money was to pay for weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles. Israel would have gotten another $100 million last year to repair Venezuela’s F16 fighter aircraft if the US government had not stopped the deal.
Chavez also sent his best wishes to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he became seriously ill in January. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments for Sharon were less generous.