For immediate release Contact: Martha Lozada
April 25, 2007 202-546-0008
MARIA CONCHITA ALONSO RESPONDS TO VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT
HUGO CHAVEZ’S CLOSING OF THE COUNTRY’S LONGEST AIRING
TV NETWORK WITH “TWO MINUTES OF HATE” MAY 1
AT THE LATINO COALITION ECONOMIC SUMMIT
Washington, D.C – The Latino Coalition has invited Maria Conchita Alonso to speak at its upcoming 2007 Small Business Economic Summit in Washington D.C. May 1-2 to respond to statements made by Hugo Chavez about the state of affairs in Venezuela, including his decision not to renew the license of Venezuela’s longest airing TV Network and the purchase of new high-tech weapons and surveillance systems from Russia.
Robert Deposada of the Coalition states, "The Coalition has a mandate to bring all sides to the arena and many stars, including Danny Glover, and according to Chavez, Oliver Stone, have shown public support for Hugo Chavez. We wanted to give Maria Conchita Alonso, a Venezuelan citizen, a forum to vocalize an opposing point of view."
Maria Conchita says, "I thank The Latino Coalition for giving me this opportunity, as last year I was campaigning in Venezuela against Chavez, but the situation there has further deteriorated and I feel it is no longer safe for me, so I have taken the fight to film and am producing a movie called, TWO MINUTES OF HATE, which shows in real footage how, at the 2002 march Chavez' assassins gunned down opposition protesters. Although Danny Glover and I did a film together, we have different points of view. I don’t think Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood, who work together, always share the same political views, although I do believe they express those views due to their caring and commitment. I respect all my fellow actors but I think I carry a more experiential voice, as I have already had to leave Cuba and Venezuela."
"The film, which I am co-producing with BOBBY producer, Edward Bass, will utilize actual clips of Chavez coming over the airwaves in his comical and yet cynical manner," says Maria Conchita. “The situation there has evolved to the point that Freedom House, a nongovernmental worldwide organization, ranks Venezuela second only to Cuba in terms of suppressing press freedom in the Americas,” she comments.
The writer, who wishes to remain anonymous but goes by the pseudonym of Jorge Tortoza, (in honor of one of the journalists assassinated by Chavez at the march) says, "This film is of course much different from BOBBY. In this case, the voice of the President is comical and yet frightening as he typifies a stereotypical dictator as in George Orwell's 1984. The script is being held under tight security. We want to make sure Chavez will not see it in its finished form until he goes to the movie theater like everyone else."
"Although many candidates and most probably George Bush will be at the event, I am not yet a US citizen and I am not endorsing any political figure,” says Maria. “However, a voice against Bush should not be a voice for Chavez. Sometimes, the public is just misled, for example in the case of Mao Tse Tung, in which both Richard Nixon and John Lennon were wearing Mao jackets while millions of artists and intellectuals were killed. Che Guevara, who has so many films immortalizing him, was afraid of motorcycles and was more of a homophobic than even Fidel Castro, and a professional assassin who loved his work, but is immortalized as if he were Gandhi."
She continues, "Chavez, however, is much more dangerous. He will easily pass Fidel on the Forbes list as he has all the oil money at his disposal. Venezuelan press, newspapers, radio stations and TV are being shut down, and we are heading in the direction of Cuba where soon people will not even be allowed Internet access, and the children will be “owned” by the government. I decided to go to The Latino Coalition especially after Barbara Walters' interview with Chavez. Barbara got back to me, but I did not succeed in convincing her to allow me an opportunity to give a factual rebuttal."
Edward Bass states, "Maria Conchita has never been a sell out. As the most famous Venezuelan actress, if she was a Chavista, she could be riding on the gravy train and receiving the multi-million dollar grants that many are receiving from him. Her courage, even with her life in jeopardy, is a profound example of bravery. She is using her celebrity status and artistic ability to fight for those whose voices are muffled, they are second class citizens in their own country. They can’t go to the same beaches, hotels or stores that the ruling elite and cash-rich foreigners visit.
Bass continues, "With Maria, our production and financing entity, after looking at dozens of Latino based material put this one at the top, as it is not the same old storyline. Although this is based in Venezuela, it's a love story and the backdrop is Venezuela as the sinking Titanic."
Deposada also says, "Although The Latino Coalition is not here to take sides, we take pride in our ability to confront the issues, and we extend the invitation to actors such as Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover or whomever, and want to offer them equal time or an invitation to debate Maria Conchita."
She concludes, “TWO MINUTES OF HATE” is far from a documentary. It is actually a beautiful story of two people in love, one from the Chavez camp, and one from the opposition, and we tried to give a fair and balanced view of the mistakes that were made in Venezuela that created the climate and void that allowed this dictator to enter the arena as Hitler did in the 30's."
The Latino Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. TLC was established to address policy issues that directly affect the well being of Hispanics in the United States. TLC’s agenda is to develop and promote policies that will foster economic equivalency and enhance overall business, economic, and social development of Hispanics. For more information please visit our website at www.TheLatinoCoalition.com.