Mérida, August 27th 2009
(Venezuelanalysis.com) — U.S. author, dissident intellectual, and Professor of
Linguistics at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Noam Chomsky met for
the first time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and analyzed
hemispheric politics during a nationally televised forum on Monday.
Chomsky is well known in Venezuela
for his critiques of U.S. imperialism and support for the progressive political changes
underway in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in recent years. President
Chavez regularly references Chomsky in speeches and makes widely publicized recommendations
of Chomsky's 2003 book, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global
"Hegemony or survival; we opt for survival," said Chavez
in a press conference to welcome Chomsky. He compared Chomsky's thesis to that of German
socialist Rosa Luxemburg in the early 1900s, "Socialism or Barbarism," and referred
to Chomsky as "one of the greatest defenders of peace, one of the greatest pioneers
of a better world."
Through an interpreter, Chomsky responded, "I write
about peace and criticize the barriers to peace; that's easy. What's harder is
to create a better world… and what's so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela
is that I can see how a better world is being created."
During Monday's forum, which was broadcast on the
state television station VTV, Chomsky pointed out that the ongoing coup in Honduras,
which began on June 28th, is the third coup the United States has supported in Latin America so far this century, following the coup against Chavez in 2002 and
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.
The nearly finalized deal to allow the U.S. to
increase its military presence on Colombian bases "is only part of a much
broader effort to restore Washington's capacity for intervention," said Chomsky.
According to Chomsky, the region has the capacity to
unite and form a "peace zone" in which foreign militaries are forbidden to operate.
"Venezuela can help to advance this proposal, but it cannot do it alone,"
"The transformations that Venezuela
is making toward the creation of another socio-economic model could have a
global impact if these projects are successfully carried out," said the
Aporrea.org, a popular Venezuelan news and pro-revolution
analysis website, described Chomsky as oriented toward "libertarian socialism"
and "vehemently anti-Stalinist" in an introduction to a recent interview in
which Chomsky said U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy will be similar
to that of the second administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Chomsky addressed this issue during Monday's
conference as well, commenting that Obama "could have much to offer Latin America if he wanted to,
but hasn't given any signals that he does." He cited the U.S.'s
indecisive posture toward the coup in Honduras
Chomsky also addressed the media and freedom of
expression in the U.S. "In the United States the socio-economic system is designed so that
the control over the media is in the hands of a minority who own large
corporations… and the result is that the financial interests of those groups
are always behind the so-called freedom of expression," he said.
Chomsky said the growing disappointment with the Obama
administration in the U.S. was predictable because the corporate media marketed Obama's
presidential candidacy on the slogan of "Change We Can Believe In" but omitted
concrete proposals for effective changes, and the Obama administration has
since shown an incapacity to institute such changes.
Chomsky was accompanied in Caracas by the
co-founder of South End Press and ZMagazine and system operator of ZCom, Michael
Albert, and the co-founder and editor of Venezuelanalysis.com, sociologist