Please stop sharing that manipulative “What’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell” Youtube video, that seems to have been going viral the last couple of days. A lot of it that is being said in the video is false, misdirected, exaggerated and overdramatized. Combined with photos that are for a part not even related to these opposition protests, it is an utterly misleading take on what is really happening in Venezuela. 

Just like in 2012 with the whole Kony campaign, you sharing that video doesn’t make you more involved in making this world a better place, it only makes you look gullible, uninformed and falsely sentimental. Even worse in this case, it makes you complicit in a media campaign orchestrated by (extreme) right-wing political interests funded by the U.S. in an effort to destabilize and ultimately depose of a democratically elected government that is supported by a mass movement trying to better the lot of the majority  of the people.

The right-wing opposition’s protests are not about progressive social change, they are about social reaction trying to halt one of the most progressive social processes going on in the world right now. There is nothing progressive about truth distortion and what it is used for here even less so.

Here a proper dissection of how reality is being manipulated through social and mass media (viadrdawgsblawg and venezuelasolidarity):


The polarized politics of Venezuela are again in the news as demonstrations by pro- (seeabove) and anti-government forces are taking place, with, at this point, four deaths: a government supporter; an opposition demonstrator; a police officer; and one of uncertain provenance. But the foreign press is portraying these as evidence of bloody government repression.

Not to go over old ground, at least too much, but this manufactured crisis is a re-run. Anyone remember the massive demo/counter-demo at the Miraflores palace in 2002, the lead-up to a short-lived coup against Hugo Chávez?

That was all blamed on Chávez at the time, by the opposition and by much of the international press. Supposedly he ordered the military, and unidentified pro-Chávez thugs, to fire into the crowds of opposition demonstrators. As with the current unrest, it seems that the government side had remarkably poor aim.

The architects of these demonstrations are the leader of the party Voluntad popular (Popular Will), Leopoldo López, known in Venezuela for his links to the violence of the Venezuelan right, every time it does not achieve it’s objectives through elections. This time he blamed the government for the violence, even against all the evidence of small groups from the opposition causing chaos in Venezuela, through the obstruction of the streets, the damage to public buildings and killing people.

Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado and Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma are also part of the most visible face of recent events in Venezuela. They are currently trying to set fire to the country through a destabilization operation that they’ve called “La salida” (the exit), which seeks not to leave the streets until they achieve the fall of the government legitimately constituted of Nicolas Maduro, as expressed in their public statements. 

There is no flabby pretense of “objectivity” on the part of the international media when it comes to Venezuela. That country poses a stark threat to the hegemonic order, characterized these days by tame Latin American states, emerging from US-backed military dictatorships, now gamely accepting neoliberal economic policies like good little boys and girls. Having enough oil wealth to say No to all that, Venezuela created its own counter-hegemonic partnership, ALBA-TCP. And domestically, while all we hear about is toilet-paper shortagesand inflation, there has been substantial progress on a number of fronts for years now—a sharp reduction of dire poverty, major advances in education, reduced child mortality, and rapid steps taken towards gender equality, maternal health, and environmental protection.

You won’t read much about that in the mainstream foreign media.

Instead, we’ll hear about opposition grievances of all kinds, and we’ll get photographs, too, circulated on Twitter and sometimes picked up by big news outlets like CNN.

Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24°C Caracas weather, I assume:


And visiting police officers from Bulgaria:


Here a picture of a pro-Chavez demonstrator, taken last year, and now turned into a member of the opposition still wearing the same bandages:


Here’s a re-purposed photo actually taken in Argentina:


And here’s a photo from Chile:


Here another Chilean student protester that got lost in Venezuela:


Here a Brazilian protester that came all the way to Venezuela to confront the police:


Here’s an unfortunate fellow, shot in April and then again in the exact-same way during the current protests:


Here is the famous riot dog Loukanikos from Greece being kicked in Venezuela this time:image

And here’s an absolutely shameless steal from Egypt. A photo that became known world-wide during the Arab Spring:


Here’s a heart-wrenching picture of babies in laundry-baskets, with the question: “What kind of revolution is this?” The photo is from Honduras:


Here’s my personal fave: a religious procession, reincarnated as an anti-government protest:


Denouncing “repression” using a picture of a jail mutiny last year:


Here is a delinquent that was killed in 2012 that was transformed into a student protester in 2014:


And to top it off, here a picture from a porn flick that turned into a picture of an abused opposition protester:


The social media that make this stuff go viral, and even attract mainstream media like CNN, are also the means by which fakers are quickly unmasked. Readers are invited to contribute more links to this international cavalcade of anti-government protest and government brutality in the make-believe land called “Venezuela.”


About flexosaurus

I am an anthropologist and Associate Professor who loves to play guitar and comment on social injustice in whatever form it may take
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