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Come Saturday Morning: Will Venezuela Be The Next Honduras?

Anti-Chavista steals image of Egyptian woman being beaten by cops, pretends it depicts events in Venezuela

By now I’m sure many of you have seen the successful efforts of persons like longtime anti-Chavista writer Francisco Toro, whose work is favorably cited by American right-wingers (but who has received criticism from fellow anti-Chavistas for having, erm, issues with truthiness), to spread the story that the violence in the orchestrated protests in a few Venezuelan cities can be laid at the feet of the government.

Too bad much of the evidence for this is misleading, if not outright phony. An example thereof, where an anti-Chavista takes an iconic photo of a female Egyptian protester being beaten and claims it shows a Venezuelan protester being beaten, can be found here, where the following information about the Venezuelan protesters may be seen:

For a year now there has been a change of strategy on part of the opposition which is turning more and more violent – people in neighborhoods reported that, before past days riots, radical opposition youngsters (possibly students) constantly attacked Chavistas – they threw stones at them, some even said they tried to throw Molotovs in their houses. Anti-government protestors have attacked the headquarters of state television VTV for the past few nights, hurling stones and Molotov cocktails toward the building.

The anti-Chavistas claim that it’s the government that’s behind all the violence, but that’s not what the facts show:

Observers told that they witnessed opposition protestors firing live ammunition indiscriminately into buildings, throwing rocks and attempting to storm a communal house in the city centre.

Today observed protestors in balaclavas forcibly stopping vehicles at a main intersection in Merida city’s north. The masked protestors forced passengers off buses at gunpoint, and threw shrapnel at other motorists passing through the intersection.

While covering this story, the journalist was held at gunpoint by three protestors, who threatened to “kill” her. The group then attempted to rob the journalist.

“Give us your camera or we’ll kill you,” the protestors repeatedly stated.

On social networks and in the private media the opposition demonstrators have called their protests “peaceful” and claimed the police were repressing them. However, at least three police were injured, and many observers commented that after days of road closures, they wanted police to prevent the very small groups of students from blocking main roads by burning tires.

Videos of the protestors using fire and rocks against the police are available. The Merida state governor, Alexis Ramirez, also released this picture of one of the armed protestors.

It’s no surprise that the bogus storyline has been gladly taken up by the US media, in large part because it fits into the decade-plus Official US Story about Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro — a story that, as Greg Palast pointed out way back in 2003, is hard to unravel unless you know Spanish:

This is not about Venezuela but about the Virtual Venezuela, created for you by America’s news wardens. The escape routes are guarded. January 5, 2003, New York City. Picked up bagels and the Sunday Times on Delancey Street. Looks like that s.o.b. Chavez is at it again: Here was a big picture of a half-dozen people lying on the ground. The Times story read: “Protesters shielded themselves from tear gas during an anti- government rally on Friday in Caracas, Venezuela. In the 33rd day of a national strike, several protesters were shot.”

That was it – the entire story of Venezuela for the Paper of Record.

Maybe size doesn’t matter. But this does: Even this itty-bitty story is a steaming hot bag of mendacity. Yes, two people were shot dead – those in the pro-Chavez march.

I’d be wrong to say that every U.S. paper repeated the Times’ sloppy approach. Elsewhere, you could see a photo of the big pro-Chavez march and a photo of the “Chavista” widow placed within an explanatory newswire story. Interestingly, the fuller and correct story ran in an outlet that’s none too friendly to Chavez: El Diario, New York City’s oldest Spanish-language newspaper.

Why the intense efforts to make Venezuela into the next right-wing “McRevolution“, to turn it into another Honduras? Three words: Orinoco Heavy Oil.

It’s similar to the stuff that the Keystone XL is intended to transport, but unlike the Arctic Athabascan stuff, it doesn’t need to be blasted out of the earth and thawed and mixed with natural gas (which must be removed before refining) just to get it to flow into a pipeline. (In fact, no big long pipeline is needed because Venezuela has ocean ports.) Plus, the Orinoco has a lot more of it: 90% of the world’s proven reserves, in fact. Combined with Venezuela’s conventional oil reserves, this stuff has been fueling not only the Bolivarian Revolution, but helping to undo the “Chicago Boys” agenda of Shock Doctrine throughout Latin America. The right wingers hope that if they topple Maduro, the ability of Latin American nations to resist corporate-controlled “McRevolutions” will wither.

No wonder that the Mercosur nations — the Latin-American group similar to the European Union — strongly oppose the efforts of the anti-Chavistas to destablize and overthrow Nicolas Maduro.

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