First hegemony, then democracy: On ideology and the media discourse on the coup against Hugo Chávez.

Ernesto Abalo


This study examines the media discourse on the 2002 coup d’état against the government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, with the aim of exploring how ideology in media discourse helps construct democracy in a Latin American political context. Critical discourse analysis is used to examine written pieces from Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), El País (Uruguay), and the New York Times (US). The study finds that the discourse on the overthrow and the events preceding it constructs the coup as a potential victory for democracy and as the definitive end of Chávez. However, after the failure of the coup and the reinstallation of Chávez one can perceive discursive renegotiations, such as the publishing of non-fundamental criticism of the overthrow. The study argues that the media discourse on the coup displays a highly relativistic attitude towards democracy, which serves the interests of the elite classes in Venezuela and of US hegemony in global politics. The article also argues that the flexibility of the discourse at hand shows the need for a detailed analysis of how ideology is (re)formed in media discourse.


Critical discourse analysis, democracy, ideology, hegemony, news media, Hugo Chávez.

Full Text: