Dissecting the manipulation in the movie The Revolution will not be televised

November 16, 2003

Extensive article in today’s El Universal about two Venezuelan moviemakers who are making a documentary themselves showing all of the inconsistencies and manipulations of the movie: “The revolution will not be televised”. The article is divided in three parts: A description of what they have done, a summary of the main inconsistencies of the film and a reply to a writer who claimed the opposition censored the movie by pressuring Amnesty Inetrnational into withdrawing it from a film festival. (The petition did not do such a thing, it only asked that the details of what the movie purported to show be investiagted). I can not reproduce the whole thing, but here is a summary of the specific cases in which the movie distorts or manipulates the truth:

-Revolutionary populace: When it claims to be showing the presence of the populace in front of the Presidential Palace in the morning of April 11th. 2002 the movie uses images of a demonstration which took place in a different city and on a different day.

-Split Image: The moviemakers ignored the nationwide broadcast by Chavez forcing all radio and TV stations to carry his speech beteen 3:45 PM and 5:27 PM, where he spoke during more than two hours while around the Presidential Palace more than 21 Venezuelans were shot dead and more than 150 were injured, all by bullets. In the middle of this speech, private TV stations decided to divide the screen in two, to show the tragic events and then the Government shut off the broadcast by all these stations.

-Resignation: In the movie the thesis that Chavez never resigned is emphasized. However, the Cheifs of Staff, led by the Commander in Chief Lucas Rincon, issued a declaration at 3:20 AM on April 12th., saying that they had asked the President for his resignation and he had accepted. This is never shown in the movie (Retired General Lucas Rincon is currently a member of Chavez’ Cabinet as Minister of the Interior and Justice).

-Tanks: The tanks that moved towards the Presidential Palace were not going there to attack Chavez, but they were ordered to go there by Chavez himself to protect him. The film intends to show that with those tanks a traditional coup d’ etat was achieved.

-Racial war: The racial composition of Venezuela is multi-ethnic, but the film aims to show that Chavizmo is dark skinned and the opposition is white and well off. (As I have said here many times, if 70% of the people are against Chavez and Chavez says (not true) that 80% of the people are poor, something does not add up in these arguments. Moreover, racially only 20% of Venezuelans are white)

-Altered timelines: The manipulation of images, dates and wrong hours is present throughout the movie. As an example, the moviemakers took the care of using pro-Chavez images taken from Febraury 2000, when Chavez support by the people was unquestionable.

-Communicational project: The distortion of time is particularly bad in the sequences corresponding to April 11, 12 and 13th. There, the movie changes with total irresponsability the times of the events with the objective of constructing a story subordinated to its communicational project, which is to sell the idea that an “oligrachic coup backed by the US took place”.

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