Was Chavez’ march that big?

October 14, 2002

There is no question that Hugo Chavez’ Government knows how to manipulate the media, in particular the international media. Reports in most newspapers abroad say that Chavez’ march was as large as that of the opposition. Nothing is further from the truth. The proof is in the sneaky ads published by the Government in today’s newspapers (Who paid for them?) claiming Government supporters are a majority with a fuzzy picture of Bolivar Avenue filled with people. Curiosly, in the era of digital media, the picture was extremely fuzzy (but in color!) in all local newspapers. The reason? simple, beyond a certain point Bolivar Avenue was simply empty. In contrast on Thursday during the oposition march, not only was the full avenue completly filled with people, but there were people still marching Kilometers away.

According to Alejandro Freites, who is the most serious person in Venezuela when it comes to counting people in marches, Chavez’ march had 93,000 people calculated in various ways, while the same technique yielded 1.2 million for the Government’s march.

What’s curious is that while Chavez maybe fooling the international press, Venezuelans either went or know someone that went to Thursday’s march and can’t be fooled by the President’s statements. If Chavez really believed that his supporters were a majority, he would hold a referendum and just get it over with. The problem is, he knows he would lose and will do anything to stop it, just watch the next few weeks.

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