The "non-violent student protests" pretended to represent Venezuelan university students and were billed as such by the anti-Chavez, corporate media. In fact, they amounted to a tiny fraction of the 1.3 million students now attending Venezuela's universities.
Below, Axis of Logic columnist, Arturo Rosales explains the roots of the award (i.e. reward) about to be given to Yon Goicochea by the Cato Institute.(Photos of the Goicochea-led protests at the bottom of this page).
- Les Blough, Editor
Venezuelan opposition applauds fascist sponsored award for Yon Goicochea
By Arturo Rosales in Caracas
April 24, 2008
Yon Goicochea, 23, has been selected to receive the Milton Friedman Prize from the CATO Institute
Venezuelan right-wing opposition student leader, Yon Goicochea, has been awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty by the Cato Institute. The Institute is due to make the official announcement today, Thursday 24th April and the award will be presented on May 15th at the Cato Institute's biennial dinner in New York.
Goicochea, 23 years old, represents the most privileged class of youth in Venezuela. He is the antithesis of the majority student population here, many of whom live in poor neighborhoods and can now access university for the first time in Venezuelan history under the Chávez government. Goicochea was a student at Catholic University in Caracas, among the most expensive schools in Venezuela when he was chosen to be the leader of the minority student protests in 2207. Goicochea, 23, is a minority shareholder in a construction company founded in 2005. Construcción Carpe C.A. set up in the municiplality of Carrizales in Miranda State. This company received 8 contracts for Bs. F. 720,000 (USD 334,883) from the Mayor of Carrizales José Luis Rodríguez, a member of opposition political party Acción Democrática (AD). This is essentially a "briefcase company" which gains contracts through contacts and then subcontracts the work out. Local residents in Carrizales indicate the funds procured for these contracts are destined for political purposes.
The Milton Friedman Prize Committee
It is worth looking at the make-up of the Friedman Prize Committee at the bottom of the Cato Institute's Award page. It reads like a Who's Who of reactionary establishment figures allied to the faltering American Dream.
Venezuelan opposition will no doubt cheer this as a "coup" as well as the US$500,000 prize money, which Goicochea has said he will donate to charity. I wonder if there well be so much cheering when the opposition media realizes what the background of the Milton Friedman Prize is.
What the Cato Institute does not publish
The original name for the Prize was going to be the "August Pinochet Prize", the former military dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990. Pinochet led a CIA backed coup d'état against democratically elected Salvador Allende on September 11th 1973. Allende was killed in the Moneda Palace in Santiago and a brutal military dictatorship ensued costing the lives of ten of thousands of innocent Chileans, with many thousands more being forced into political exile.
Milton Friedman was an economic consultant of the Pinochet dictatorship and the Nixon/Kissinger regime which was instrumental in "making the Chilean economy scream", as Nixon himself predicted. Under Friedman's and the Chicago Boys' guidance, Chile instituted neo liberal free market policies which benefited the already rich and oppressed the working class poor.
Macroeconomically, Chile's economy was the "model" for South America but this was based on the blood of the innocent in Pinochet's torture camps and "disappearing acts". Little did this matter to Friedman and his disciples who continued to implement his economic theories in a terrified society, with no democratic elections or trade union rights.
As former Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister, Orlando Letelier said about Friedman,
"It is curious that the man who wrote a book, Capitalism and Freedom, to drive home the argument that only classical economic liberalism can support political democracy can now so easily disentangle economics from politics when the economic theories he advocates coincide with an absolute restriction of every type of democratic freedom".
"The Chicago Boys In Chile"
The Nation, August 28 1976
Goicochea's acceptance of this Prize in a hail of personal glory is tantamount to Pinochet accepting the "Robespierre Peace Prize for Public Order" after his oppressive rule in Chile. Pinochet´s rule was also a Reign of Terror for 17 years and any prize even associated with this monster should be rejected out of hand by any human being conscious of history's massacres and injustices.
|Goicochea receives massive coverage by the private media, championing him as the Venezuela's new hero of the opposition.|
But not Yon Goicochea. Not the Venezuelan opposition. Not it's disciples in capitalist media or on the Venezuelan opposition's whacky internet blogs For them this is some sort of "victory award" even though it is stained with the blood of innocents, exploitation of the masses and corporate capitalist values which have done nothing but sow poverty and despair in Latin America since the industrial revolution got underway in the mid 19th century.
This award is Goicochea's second big publicity splash since Playboy Venezuela profiled him as the "great white hope". He's even being tipped as a future presidential candidate. He has no shame at being featured in a magazine which degrades women or receiving a Prize associated with the oppression of millions of people by Pinochet and in the name of his economic mentor, Milton Friedman.
Who are the Venezuelan opposition in reality?
James Petras points out is his treatise on the Venezuelan opposition in the article published in Axis of Logic on April 17th:
"A colonized middle class: To discuss the highly polarized social confrontation between the pro-Chavez popular movements and the US-backed oligarch-supported middle class movements, it is important to contextualize the social, political and economic relations, which preceded the ascendancy of the Chavez government. The United States was the key determinant of the economic conditions and the principle point of reference of Venezuela's oligarchy and middle class. US-Venezuelan relations were based on US hegemony in all spheres – from oil to consumerism, from sports to life style, from bank accounts to marriage partners. The role models and life styles of the Venezuelan middle class were found in the upscale Miami suburbs, shopping malls, condos and financial services. The affluent classes were upper class consumers; they never possessed a national entrepreneurial vocation."
Petras' is pointing to the fascist turf whence comes Jon Goicochea, the Venezuelan opposition and their national and international sponsors. They are not Venezuelans in spirit but neocolonialists wishing to regain and control Venezuela's massive oil reserves for their own interests and the benefit of the US economy.
It is little wonder that the Milton Friedman/August Pinochet Prize for Advancing Liberty means so much to them. A new Pinochet in Venezuela to oust Chávez is one of their secret fascist dreams and a pseudo leader built up by the corporate press could be the face they need to sneak back into power.
Thank God for the Cato Institute and the Milton Friedman/Augusto Pinochet Prize Committee. It has given us the opportunity to once again expose these neocolonialists or to be more precise, lackeys of the US Empire for what they really are. "International Fascism Inc." comes to mind.
© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com
© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com
Also see (in Spanish): Como todo un Chicago Boy, Goicoechea recibe el pinochetista premio “Milton Friedman”
Por: José Sant Roz
Below - A video republished on Axis of Logic in November, 2007 has now been taken off YouTube. It showed student protestors using barricades to push Caracas police off their trucks and pouring raw gasoline into occupied police vehicles. The police did not respond with force. Below are photos of the Goicochea-led "non-violent" student protests in Caracas, November, 2007:
Violent oppositon supporters at the UCV- (Reuters photo)
|The School of Social Work trashed by opposition students (ABN)|