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Let's see if we can sort this out, shall we? Printer friendly page Print This
By Arturo Rosales and Paul Richard Harris, Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Thursday, May 12, 2016

A few days ago, news reports carried by most Western media outlets were reporting on the death of a political figure in Venezuela. He was killed, with most media referring to it as an 'assassination'. Could be. Might just be random violence - until someone has been fingered as the culprit that's an unanswered question. The Western media also implied or directly stated that the government of Nicolas Maduro carried out this assassination. Naturally, they offered no proof of this - how could they when no one knows who did the killing?

There is no question that things are not going so well in Venezuela right now. There are shortages, there is political unrest with a clear divide been left and right (i.e. between socialists and corporatists), there is a prolonged drought, the sale price for oil has plunged dramatically which is not good when a very large part of your economy is dependent on oil.

But it is frustrating - to say the least - that Western media find it necessary to lie about the situation.

Maduro has complained (as did his predecessor Hugo Chavez) about interference from the United States. Anyone who doubts that would also doubt that the sky is up and the ground is down. The US is presently engaged in its 100+ years of pissing around with South America. The US sees the nations of South America as belonging to the US (or, rather, to US corporations) and has repeatedly invaded, encouraged and supported coups, assassinated those who chose to believe that their countries do NOT belong to the US. The current fashion of daily media blitz against South American countries (and, curiously, it is only against those nations that lean to the left) is seriously undermining the credibility of the media, even supposing they still have any. The credibility of the US long ago disappeared, if it ever existed at all.

And guess who's behind the collapse of oil prices?

But let's look at some of what's being reported and the reality behind the stories.

It is no secret that the right-wing branch of the Venezuelan legislature (who, despite holding a majority, are still referred to as 'the opposition') has launched a campaign to remove President Maduro. Under the constitution this can be done, but only by following specific rules.

Western media are reporting that 1.8 million signatures have been collected to support removal of the president. What they don't report, is the truth. In fact, the 'signatures' are fewer than 1.6 million (although that's still a lot). Examination of these 'signatures' shows that around 12% of them are incomplete and many are copies with the same person signing multiple times - even on the same forms. Somehow, the Western media hasn't thought to ask if that's not a little fishy.

So why are these 'removal ballots' being scrutinized so carefully by the government and its supporters? Because in 2004 the opposition attempted the same sort of coup against Hugo Chavez. And the same thing happened - many signatures were found to be forgeries, copies, or from people who were not actually on the electoral register.

So what's happening today has the same smell to it. And Western media are, again, either failing to notice or deliberately misleading about what is really happening. In other words nothing has changed.

It is unlikely a referendum could take place before 2017 and if it is not before January 11, the Vice President would take over until the end of Maduro's term. But there would not be a change in government.

Daily life in Venezuela is certainly complicated by lines at supermarkets and some shortages. The press reports this is all a clear sign of the incompetence (or maybe even criminality) of Maduro's government. However, none of the home-grown product shortages could possibly result from a prolonged drought, could they? The unreliable flow of electricity couldn't be a result of that same drought effectively shutting down the Guri hydroelectric dam, could it? [There has been some recent rain in the south, but it is not enough yet to get Guri back on line reliably.]

Maduro's government has been delivering food parcels to people in the barrios in an effort to break line-ups. But some people, even after receiving a food parcel, continue to stand in line for hours in order to buy regulated products and sell them at inflated prices. Reselling has become a profession in Venezuela, and this has led to prices approximately seven times higher than they should be according to statistical analysis by research firm Hinterlaces.

Opposition leaders are known to have asked the US Congress for sanctions against Venezuela - that is, against their own country - but Western media don't question this and don't even mention it. Doesn't it strike you as just a tad treasonous to ask some other country to beat up on yours?

You also won't see anything in the Western media about the Venezuelan oligarchs - many of whom are members of the opposition - appearing repeatedly in the so-called 'Panama Papers'. This isn't even being reported by most of the media in Venezuela because they are, and have always been, in cahoots with the attempted coup that has been running since the economic war started more than 3 years ago. This attempted coup is backed by, and funded by, the US - as they always are.

Yesterday, US vice president Joe Biden decried that the voices of the 'right' in Venezuela are being suppressed and repressed by Maduro's government. In fact, the 'right' voices won't shut up. Theirs is the only voice heard by Western media. The US government certainly knows that Biden's statement is absolute bullshit - but that's what the US does best: the manufacture, packaging, and distribution of industrial grade bullshit.

So, dear readers, if you have any interest in understanding what really goes on in Venezuela and who is really to praise or blame, don't look to Western media. Or to the US government. There are plenty of outlets willing to report the truth, both good and bad, like the one you're currently reading.

Arturo Rosales lives in and reports from Caracas. Paul Richard Harris is an editor for Axis of Logic. He lives near Toronto.

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