New York Times video shows U.S. peddles lies about Venezuela’s Maduro
Opposition protesters battle Venezuelan National Guards next to a burned-out semi-trailer that was part of an "aid" convoy attempting to cross into Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 23. U.S. officials blamed the burning of the truck on Maduro, but new video footage shows it was a right-wing protester's Molotov cocktail that likely ignited the flame. | Fernando Vergara / AP

None other than the New York Times Sunday released a video disproving U.S. claims that Venezuelan President Maduro ordered the bombing of U.S Aid trucks attempting to cross into his country from Colombia. The Times, no supporter of that country’s Bolivarian Revolution, nevertheless said its video totally contradicts U.S. claims about the recent incident.

For several days, top U.S. officials have been claiming that Maduro ordered the bombing of trucks allegedly carrying food to hungry Venezuelans. A Times article and a video published yesterday contradict those claims.

The Colombian government, ally of the Trump administration, circulated an earlier video that was missing a key piece of footage showing it was anti-Maduro protesters, not the Venezuelan army, that set fire to the trucks. The full video of television footage, which the Times released, shows an anti-Maduro protester lobbing a flaming Molotov cocktail toward Venezuelan soldiers. The rag separates from the bottle and flies onto the top of one of the “aid” trucks trying to enter Venezuela from Colombia.

If the intention of the bomber was to provide propaganda material for the Trump administration, he achieved his purpose.

Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio immediately re-tweeted a claim made by an opposition journalist that Bolivarian National Guards had started the blaze. He was quickly followed by Trump’s right-wing national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

U.S. Aid Director John Green also joined in the chorus of false claims, and the U.S. took the charges against Venezuela to the floor of the UN General Assembly.

Ignoring the evidence exposed by the New York Times, Pompeo doubled down on his false claims on the Sunday talk show circuit. Fox News, of course, but other media outlets too, broadcast the claims for several days.

The Times narrator of the video put it better perhaps than anyone else when she said it was a classic example of how fake news really spreads.

In this case, a right-wing terrorist threw a bomb, false narratives blaming the attack on a country’s left-wing leader were put online, millions read and saw them, right-wing government officials and Trump television, i.e. Fox News, put out the story, and the leader of an American Aid organization with a history of working hand in glove with the CIA added his blessing to the whole operation.

Unfortunately, the case was not just one in which fake news was circulated to make anti-Venezuela, anti-socialist propaganda. The lies had a larger purpose.

That purpose became clear when Vice President Mike Pence announced that the U.S. was, at least in part because of the fire, further intensifying the sanctions it has imposed against Venezuela. The sanctions are designed to bring down the elected socialist government of that country.

How long before the Trump administration goes further and launches an actual invasion? Venezuelans are fighting to prevent that and hoping Americans will do their part by opposing such intervention. What they have going for them in this regard is that people in the U.S., like them, have nothing to gain from Trump administration lies.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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