The Revolution Will Not be Televised, documentary
International Issues

Coup Redux in Venezuela: ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’


As we see another coup against Venezuela’s democratically-elected government, we revisit the 2002 coup attempt in the documentary, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (a.k.a. Chavez: Inside the Coup), which briefly deposed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. A television crew from Ireland’s Radio Telifís Éireann happened to be recording a documentary about Chávez during the events of April 11, 2002.

Hugo Chavez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013, and briefly removed from office by a US-backed coup in 2002.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Media Blackout

In 2006, speaking at the United Nations a day after President George W. Bush, Hugo Chávez declared, “The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the President of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world.

While two Irish filmmakers spent seven months in Venezuela, shooting a documentary on the Bolivarian Revolution, Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain found themselves in the presidential palace in the middle of a coup. Amazingly, they had complete access to the rapidly unfolding events.

STORY: Pushing Back Against the Venezuela Coup-Plotters

The Revolution Will Not be Televised, documentary
Still from the Irish documentary, ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

With particular emphasis on the role played by Venezuela’s private media, the film examines several key incidents: the protest march and subsequent disturbance that provided the smokescreen for Chávez’s ousting; the opposition’s formation of an interim government headed by right-wing business leader Pedro Carmona; and the Carmona coup-government’s popular collapse, which paved the way for Chávez’s return.

2003 documentary from RTÉ, ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Chavez: Inside the Coup’

Yet The Revolution Will Not Be Televised played like a raw, Costa-Gavras-style, thriller and made disturbing implications about the role of the Bush administration, it’s CIA, and a complicit media who follow the whatever line the national security state feeds it. The title nods to a Gil-Scott Heron song on the surreal lack of journalistic integrity shown across the board.

It can be drawn a direct connection with the slow US-backed, internationally-supported coup now underway with almost total mainstream media approval against Chávez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro.

Updated 29 May 2019

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