From Kevin Spacey to Sean Penn and Danny Glover, they all pillage their hearts for Hugo Chavez.
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News of the financial favoritism shown to the Toussaint project outraged Venezuelan filmmakers.
Just $18 million “could fund five years of local cinema in Venezuela,” said Jose Novoa. “And the film’s not even about Venezuela.” Said screenwriter Jonathan Jakubowicz, “With so much poverty in our country, I can’t deny that it infuriates and hurts me deeply.”
After filmmakers wrote to Glover asking him not to use Venezuelan taxpayers’ funds on his pet project, Venezuela outlawed two local film guilds, Variety reported.
Smitten as he is with the Venezuelan president, it’s unlikely this repression would bother Glover, who has appeared with Chavez on his TV show, “Hello, President.” On a trip there the actor lauded the revolution in progress, saying he was excited “knowing that you are in a transformative stage and that you are the architects of your own destiny.”
Glover, who is co-chairman of the far-left Vanguard Public Foundation in San Francisco, is on the advisory council for La Nueva Televisora del Sur (“The New Television Station of the South”), also known as teleSUR. The station has been broadcasting from Caracas since 2005. Rep. Connie Mack (R-Florida) observes that teleSUR, “the Chavez-funded network…has teamed up with Al-Jazeera to spread anti-democratic messages across Latin America.”
Academy Award winner Spacey praises Venezuela’s support for film-making. A $13 million government-owned movie studio affords Venezuelans a valuable opportunity to “make films about their own country and their own culture,” said Spacey. “I think every country should have this.”
And let’s not forget singer Harry Belafonte who on a pilgrimage to Venezuela in 2006 told a crowd: “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people…support your revolution.”
Chavez seems to have only one vocal detractor in Tinseltown, and she hasn’t been in any box office smashes lately. Actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso, whose family took her away from her native Cuba when Fidel Castro seized power, calls Chavez “a totalitarian dictator.”
The former Miss Venezuela is reportedly producing and starring in a film, Two Minutes of Hate, about the events of April 11, 2002, when Chavez sent snipers to crush a peaceful protest march. “Nineteen died, and more than a hundred were hurt,” she says. Alonso, who appeared in Predator 2 (1990) and Moscow on the Hudson (1984), said Chavez is “the biggest actor there is, much better than Danny Glover, so he has a way of making people believe that he was elected democratically and that he cares for the poor.”
Chavez calls capitalism “savagery” and rejects free-market prescriptions to lift less-developed nations out of poverty. Instead, like President Obama, he preaches the gospel of redistribution and nationalization.
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