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Videos from the Coup

To watch the documentary "La Cadena" click here...

By far the best documentary about the coup is a simple film called "La Cadena" or "The Special Broadcast."

Unlike the other films and programs about the coup (by both the government and the opposition), this one does not try to manipulate the audience with clever editing, sappy music, and "expert" testimony (too often by people who have a political motivation to lie). In fact, this film has no narration at all. It simply shows all of the available footage from the street violence in chronological order, cutting now and then to the Special TV Broadcast that Chávez was making while the violence took place.

If you have read my book but have never seen any footage of the violence, then "La Cadena" will make your jaw drop.

I have only been able to find a couple of mistakes in the film and I believe they are honest mistakes, mostly having to do with the timing of the events. For example, the film says that Jorge Tortoza and Malvina Pesate were shot at 4:20 p.m., when they were actually shot around 2:30 p.m. The film also shows a large swath of the opposition crowd fleeing in panic down Baralt Avenue (almost a stampede of people) right after the Llaguno gunmen open fire, but this rush of people had likely occurred much earlier in the fighting. Other than that the footage is in correct chronological order.

Unfortunately, the film has not been dubbed into English, but don't let that stop you from watching it because there is very little dialogue anyway.

There are other films about the coup. Even though the Irish Film "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" has dozens of manipulations and spins every event in favor of the Chávez government, it does have the best footage of events inside the presidential palace during the coup. It's coverage of the opposition's news blackout on April 13th is largely accurate, albeit somewhat exaggerated. If you watch it, just keep in mind that any footage that is not taken inside the palace during the coup is NOT theirs--it is footage that the filmmakers took from other film crews and much of it is manipulated to absolve the government of responsibility.

One video that I would caution you about is called “Puente Llaguno: Keys to a Massacre.”  This is a propaganda film that was made with the support of both the Venezuelan and Cuban governments. It depicts only the Pro-Chávez side of the events and is full of bogus information and misleading images.  The film is in English and is shown to college students and other tourists who visit Venezuela on the Global Exchange program—which is essentially a week-long guided tour of  “Venezuelan socialism in action.”

A student of mine went on the Global Exchange program and the video convinced her that Chávez had been the victim of a conspiracy and that all the dead and wounded were caused by the opposition.  It was only when I showed her the photos of dozens of pro-Chávez gunmen and several videos (in the correct order) that she saw that things were not so simple.

If you take a look at the film, you'll notice how it's rhetorical strategy actually undermines it's intended message. Watch closely and you'll see how it acknowledges the government's guilt by insisting on its innocence. The film does not try to illuminate the facts; it doesn't say "this is the truth about what happened during the violence." Instead, it's basic argument is "how could the government possibly have killed people if A, B, and C." Where A, B, and C are photoshopped images, testimony by "experts" employed by the government, and eyewitnesses who were not actually there. Yes, that's right, some of the witnesses they show in this video are the same ones that I interviewed and some of them were not really there during the violence. They came forward when the government offered people money and jobs if they testified that had been injured during the violence. Some of the people I met were legitimate victims, but many were pretending to be victims for money and other benefits.


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