Sometimes you hear a stray sentence on the news that makes you realise you have been lied to. Deliberately lied to; systematically lied to; lied to for a purpose. If you listened closely over the past few days, you could have heard one such sentence passing in the night-time of news.
As Ingrid Betancourt emerged after six-and-a-half years – sunken and shrivelled but radiant with courage – one of the first people she thanked was Hugo Chavez. What? If you follow the news coverage, you have been told that the Venezuelan President supports the Farc thugs who have been holding her hostage. He paid them $300m to keep killing and to buy uranium for a dirty bomb, in a rare break from dismantling democracy at home and dealing drugs. So how can this moment of dissonance be explained?
Yes: you have been lied to ...
For the rich world's governments – and especially for the oil companies, who pay for their political campaigns – this throws up a serious problem. We are addicted to oil. We need it. We crave it. And we want it on our terms. The last time I saw Chavez, he told me he would like to sell oil differently in the future: while poor countries should get it for $10 a barrel, rich countries should pay much more – perhaps towards $200. And he has said that if the rich countries keep intimidating the rest he will shift to selling to China instead. Start the sweating. But Western governments cannot simply say: "We want the oil, our corporations need the profits, so let's smash the elected leaders standing in our way." They know ordinary Americans and Europeans would gag.
So they had to invent lies. They come in waves, each one swelling as the last crashes into incredulity. [,,,]
Go enjoy the hyperbole as it builds in throbbing, ever-swelling cascades to an orgasmic crescendo...
I don't pretend to understand the dynamics of inter- and intra-national South American politics, but one thing I do understand is that our government, and in particular Repuglican administrations, will lie, cheat, and kill, whatever it takes to get oil and the profit therefrom.