Gonzalo Lira’s Arrest & Latin American Press

Gonzalo Lira’s Arrest & Latin American Press

When the dual nationality Chilean/American journalist Gonzalo Lira was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Services at his home in Kharkov, Ukraine, there was a very small and temporary moment of news worthiness ascribed to it in the global mainstream media. The reason for this was because according to the West, he should not have been proactively reporting the War in Ukraine especially since he did so with a pro Russian stance while living inside the country. The mainstream media in the western press carried a few articles on his behalf like the Helsinki Times, the majority being mainly like the Ukrainian News which was anti Gonzalo and others in the same vein discrediting him and consigning him to being forgotten. There are fortunately various media outlets, groups and individuals who aired it at the time and are keeping the whole issue alive. We covered this, the history of the conflict that he was covering in Ukraine and why his arrest and silencing is extremely important for all of us in an article. One of our team wrote on his own behalf to the United States Embassy in South Africa to enquire as to their intentions and the state of play regarding Gonzalo as he was a US citizen and so was their responsibility under Law even if the Chilean Government was involved or not. We have not heard anything in response to date. We were initially loathed to contact the Chilean Embassy as we felt that they would be flooded in Latin America with requests for information regarding how and where he was. The Chilean Government did make a tellingly short statement which was carried at Plenglish.com.There is nothing more from the Government website of Chile found at https://twitter.com/gobiernodechile regarding Gonzalo Lira and it does not appear to be a matter of importance to them.

We were interested to know if the media in South America had covered the story or not. Which countries followed the US agenda regarding the War in Ukraine and thus did their media report it adequately if at all? Were they in line with their governments and so more MSM in their country. What did they report and was it about Human Rights, Freedom of the Press or the War ongoing in Ukraine? The Rio Times ran with the kidnapping of Gonzalo Lira, and even murder of the neutral or pro-Russian blogger journalists (their terminology) on the 23rd of April 2022 when Gonzalo Lira was first arrested last year (his arrest in 2023 is the second time he’s been ‘disappeared’) but said nothing regarding the proceedings of his arrest this year. https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/modern-day-censorship/neutral-and-pro-russian-bloggers-are-abducted-and-even-murdered/ There is little relating to South American media that is not financed or overseen by various associations, university and commercial operations, civil/human rights movements and groups which are funded by the US, both directly and via 3rd parties, so the source is not openly visible. This is even more prevalent among the so called ‘free’ press and the social media pundits. This does not mean that it is purely pro USA (western) as often the politics internally are at odds with the USA’s agenda but it puts a serious damper on issues which are anti the US stance but not seen as important nationally, like the Ukraine War, Gonzalo Lira and the social issues plaguing western countries. They do report these but in a mostly western narrative way with little questioning as to the underlying reasons behind the issue that caused it to arise in the first place and often pro the status quo.

Gonzalo Lira is being silenced, completely against his Human Rights, ones we all supposedly enjoy. With the shutting down and deliberate blocking of news sites like Russia’s Sputnik and RT, the west has declared war on the truth preferring to maintain a compliant population fed on agenda driven news minus the cold hard facts and data, even more so if they contradict the narrative. As is now the case, the media did not spring up to raise the cudgel and rain down blows for Press Freedom (and Freedom of Speech).The largest circulation newspaper in South America is Clarin along with El Universal and El Economista ( Mexico), O Globo and Valor Economico (Brazil), La Nacion (Argentina), El Mercurio (Chile) and Portafolio (Columbia) and are Latin America’s MSM in that they have raised the issue comparitively little and are very much in the vein of follow my leader parroting the western press. The main media is however audio visual, the television is king and the news channels vary immensly as regional, national and local interests focus on different issues to the MSM ones and flavour the issues to fit their viewpoints and agendas.

Social media is the main exchange of news, information, data, propaganda and differing viewpoints and has become very vociferous and influental regarding local and national issues but reports very little regarding international news unless it directly affects them nationally. In 2021, Latin America had 533.17 million internet users and with the Caribbean, is the fourth largest regional online market of users worldwide. According to the data in May 2023, 59.9 percent of the world's population (or 5.1 billion users) were social media users so South America accounts for approximately 10%(+ or – )the number of global social media users.

The problem for journalists in South America is that the continuous killing and disappearance of many of them, though it sparks outrage, does not often result either in prosecutions (let alone ones that succeed) or wholesome endings as many of the victims are found dead (hopefully not mutilated). Thus Latin America’s level of interest in Gonzalo Lira’s disappearance must be seen with those and other factors taken into account. To be fair to the people of South America, the level of daily barbarity in many of the nations due to drugs, criminality and geo-political games (not only the ones of the USA/West to maintain their control but there are also local/regional players interceding in national affairs for their own ends) often overtake the issue of a single person amid all the carnage. It must be said that South America took Julian Assange’s case to heart and have consistently voiced their displeasure at his treatment, especially his continuing imprisonment. From articles, programmes and demonstrations, the public across the continent stood up for him and so for all of us. The President’s of various Latin American nations spoke publicly on his behalf with Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on the 18th of July 2022, offering him asylum and condemning his neverending imprisonment and inhumane treatment. It has proved to be insightful to see what coverage was given by the media in South America to the disappearance of Gonzalo Lira, a man who after all is a South American, has a long family history in Chile’s past, has written extensively on Chilean politics (the Allende saga) and whose arbitrary detention is a symbol of the abrogation of all our fundamental human rights. He is one of a long list of journalists and those like them, reporting facts and data that are at odds with the official viewpoint of the nation (or institution etc.) they are reporting about. It has become a veritable automatic given that if you challenge the status quo, you will in some way judicially or ‘accidentally’ be silenced, more often than not by non-legal means.

People of Gonzalo Lira’s unflinching fortitude, sense of duty and refusal to be silent regarding the publication of true verifiable facts and data that run contrary to the official version are necessary for a balanced humane society to continue. They report what we all need to hear, the truth (the other version, verifiable tangible facts) are important for all of us if we are to break the chains binding our intellectual and imaginative capacity in order to move forward with insight and clearly defined data. When we do that, we are able to work out the answers to the questions we all face and logically apply them to achieve progress that is maintainable and productive. Until we do, we will wallow in our own mire sinking ever deeper.

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