Venezuelan Dictatorship: Is there a media war against Maduro?

On Monday, 16th of March, the ambassador of Venezuela to the United Nations said that there is an international media campaign against the government. The intention of such campaign is to create an adverse image of the country’s humanitarian situation and to destabilize the Maduro government. According to the ambassador, this campaign aims to force an international coercive intervention in the country.

But, is there a media war against Venezuela? Or, are the international media organizations warning about the difficult reality of the South American country? For most of the international community it is clear that there are certain conditions that affect the stability of the democratic order in the country and that have a negative impact on a large part of the population.

News in the last weeks picture violent riots taking part in the biggest cities of Venezuela. The official’s reports estimate 39 deaths since the beginning of the protest 2 weeks ago. The Venezuelan Violence Observatory claims that such number is not less than 51. The riots began after the intention of the government to revoke the faculties of the National Assembly, which by all means confirmed the attempts to concentrate the political and judicial power under the Maduro Regime. This situation confirmed the speculations of the creation of a soft-dictatorship in Venezuela.

Although the Supreme Justice Tribunal restituted the faculties of the National Assembly the day after, the international and internal damage was already done. After the announcement, Venezuela faced heavy international accusations. From its neighbor countries to the Pope condemned the situation of Venezuela and ask to find a pacific solution. The Venezuela reaction was to denunciate the democratic chart of the OAS that meant the exit of such country of the oldest international organization in the hemisphere. Once again, the reaction of the Maduro government showed lack of political coherence and conciliatory terms.

The government has shield itself against the critics of the international community arguing that there is an interest of international entities to depose Maduro. The Venezuelan chancellor and ambassadors are trying their best to persuade that news about the country are bias and full of lies. However, data support the accusations.

Venezuela is second most violent country in the world according to the Venezuelan Violence Observtory. The crime rates in the country are sustain by unfortunate social and economic conditions. The Ministry of Health, Antonieta Caporale, was removed from her charge after revealing official data showing the increase of the infant and maternal mortality during the year 2016. Also, the country was sicker in the 2016 compared to previous years. There was an increase in cases of dengue and malaria. Also, there were more than 300 cases of diphtheria, a disease that was already eradicated. The Venezuelan Health Observatory points out that more than the 50% of the infants in the country suffer of malnutrition. There is 60% of average shortage of food products and 78% of medicine scarcity. The humanitarian crisis is, then, explicit.

The economic sector is not any better. The IMF estimates that the overall inflation of the Venezuelan economy in the year 2017 will rate up to 720.5%. This is the greatest inflation in the world. The same organization warns that by the year 2018 the inflation may be up to 2068.5%. Also, the economic behavior of the country may decrease 7.4% in the current year. This inflation leads to permanent salary changes. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan minimum wage is the second lowest in the region. 75% of the population lives under the poverty line. Road blockages lead to shortage of food in the capital and the government is unable to import products given the low availability of international currency.

The current political situation in Venezuela may be the worst seen in the current century; it is characterized by violent riots almost on a daily basis asking for presidential and regional elections. Peru and Colombia retired their ambassadors in Caracas and they give not signals to return in a short term. The Venezuelan matter is in the agenda of many international organizations including the Security Council and the OAS. Many citizens that were captured during the riots have been taken to military tribunals accused of terrorism, which violates the constitution of Venezuela. Repression and incarceration of political leaders may lead to an increase in the violence.

The answer of the Maduro government is to blame Washington and Bogota, alongside with the Venezuelan oligarchy, of the political, social and economical troubles. Last week, the president announced a constituent assembly to originate a new constitution. Nevertheless, such constituent assembly is to be elected from certain groups of the population that are still loyal to the government. Since the election is not direct and universal, such announce exacerbated the protests.

After providing such data it is clear that the international media is not in a war against Maduro. On the contrary, they express the actual situation of Venezuela and the hard conditions in which its citizen have to live. There is not a final solution to these problems in sight. Nevertheless, at least the international community must rise its efforts to open a humanitarian channel to alleviate the harsh conditions of the Venezuelan population and put an end to the violence in the country that once was the richest in the region.