There’s a lot about Venezuela that the Western media in particular would not want to inform you on. For example, during the day of elections opposition protesters shot 21 security officials as well as attacked over 200 polling stations, and set off various bombs. This wasn’t an isolated day of violence – over 100 people have been killed recently and of all those where the cause of death is known, the majority of those killed have been at the hands of protesters opposed to the government. There’s also been dozens of lynchings where people are attacked on the basis of their skin colour or because they “seemed like Chavistas”. The opposition protesters have also done horrible acts like raided and attacked hospitals.
The latest call for condemnation of Maduro is that he’s “rounded up” the opposition and put them in prison. The people who are in prison are the kinds of people who organised and supported these actions of violence in the past, and those who Maduro allegedly rounded up were already under house arrest and were attempting to flee. In reality, the Maduro government has been very conciliatory and let many people free, including those who have been responsible for deaths and violence. Of course, you wouldn’t see this in the CNN and the likes, because they’re working very consciously to undermine the Maduro government.
The Great Dictator
There are plenty of criticisms to point at Maduro – the government is certainly not blameless – but to label him a dictator as his opponents are doing, is not accurate. For example, a very common line that is put out by the Venezuelan opposition is that his calling a Constituent Assembly is unconstitutional and anti-democratic. Quite the opposite – the Venezuelan 1999 constitution(Approved by democratic vote in a referendum) provides numerous ways for a Constituent Assembly to be called. Once such way is for the President to call one. On top of this, Maduro was democratically elected.
This, in addition to the fact that the electoral process to the Assembly is very open and transparent, and literally anyone can run, gives lie to the claim by Western media that Maduro is a dictator. The opposition, which claims to have the support of the majority, boycotted a democratic election, and instead has taken part in a campaign of violence and terrorism. If they had a majority support they should have ran, in which case they would’ve won the new elections. This indicates to me that they don’t actually represent a majority – but of course, this perspective would never be put forward in Western media. You wouldn’t see, of course, that the UN Human Rights Council told the Venezuelan opposition to respect the election.
The role of the media seriously cannot be underestimated here. The CNN for example, praised the man who hijacked a helicopter and bombed the Supreme Court as a “mix between James Bond and Rambo, but Venezuelan”. This kind of behaviour, coupled with Western media’s long and extensive history as acting as propagandists for governments when it comes to foreign policy, should make us extremely skeptical of what they put out.
Should Maduro be unconditionally trusted as a paragon of liberty and democracy? I wouldn’t say so, but that doesn’t mean the opposite narrative is true. Maduro has generally operated within the realms of Venezuelan democracy and constitutional legality – systems put in place under Chávez and widely considered by international agencies to be transparent, open and one of the most democratic systems on the face of the earth. The same cannot be said for the opposition which has attempted to violently overthrow the government repeatedly, as far back as the 2002 Coup which ousted Chávez. Those are the same people talking about “democracy” now, who the Western media is giving a megaphone to.