Failed ‘Coup’, a False Corporate Story Designed to Deceive Venezuelan Soldiers and the American Public


After days of breathless reporting in the US media on the collapse of public and military support for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and the April 30 coup by the presidency installer Juan Guaidó, we now know the truth: the whole affair was a fraud, staged at the instigation of Washington in the hope that the Venezuelan people and base troops would fall into the trap and believe that a real coup state was in progress.

We also know from an excellent May 2 report by Michael Fox in the Nation magazine, that the mainstream American media and their journalists in the country were promoting this dangerous fraud.

To take CNN. In his report on the “uprising” announced by Guaidó on Tuesday, April 30, he led a video social media portraying Guaidó, accompanied by opposition leader Leopoldo López, as well as armed men in uniform, allegedly military defectors, standing behind them. The video claimed they were at the La Carlota military airfield in eastern Caracas, which Guaidó said had been “released”. According to CNN, he addressed “thousands of supporters” on the spot, urging the rest of the Venezuelan army to join the coup and oust “the usurper” Maduro.

But as Michael Fox and other observers have noted, CNN did not show these “thousands” of supporters because there were none. The cable network also did not explain in its report that Guaidó and Lopez weren’t actually at the air base, but instead stood on a road overpass outside the base – which in fact never did. been in the hands of the rebels at all.

Guaidó and his “deserting” soldiers quickly left the scene as government troops moved towards them. deserted in support of Guaidó seeking asylum at the Brazilian embassy.

There are two possibilities here: Either CNNThe US-based editors were lied to by their reporters in Caracas, where they were well aware their story of the takeover of a military airfield, as well as reports of thousands of protesters at the scene. in favor of Guaidó, were a hoax. It is not difficult to imagine that the latter is the truth, because CNN earlier, he had been caught fraudulently reporting that Venezuelan troops set fire to emergency trucks stopped at the Colombian border, when in fact the fires were started by anti-Maduro protesters. Although this truth has been proven by other reports and videos, CNN never corrected his false story in this affair, nor did he discipline his journalists on the spot.

CNNs standards of accuracy were further discredited by his May 5 assertion that

Pressure is mounting on Maduro to step down, following January elections in which voters chose opposition leader Juan Guaidó over him as president.

Six journalists were credited for the story that contained this line, which has almost as many errors: Guaidó was not even a candidate in the presidential elections of May 2018 (and not January 2019); Maduro won this race with 68% of the vote, a credible total given the opposition boycott of the ballot. Guaidó was chosen not by voters but by the National Assembly – which was suspended by Venezuela’s Supreme Court – and ultimately by the Trump administration. As for “the pressure … mounting on Maduro”, this seems to be a dubious reading of the political terrain after the attempted coup.

After a lot ridiculous social media, CNN corrected the line, keeping his sights on the growing pressure, but acknowledging that Guaidó “declared himself interim president”.

The New York Times did not do better. On the day of the false coup, the Times reported, in an unusual unsigned article (at the end there was a note saying only that the reporting was provided by Isayen Herrera, Nicholas Casey, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Ana Vanessa Herrero, Rick Gladstone and Katie Rogers) titled “Crisis in Venezuela: Guaidó calls for uprising as clashes erupt “:

“Today, brave soldiers, brave patriots, courageous men committed to the Constitution have followed our call,” Guaidó said in a video posted on social media, speaking from Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda, a military airport in Caracas known as La Carlota.

The “archival newspaper” has made no effort to verify the “facts” of its reporters, or has deliberately accepted the comedy that Washington’s handpicked “legitimate president,” Guaidó, has in fact been speaking for a long time. military airfield “liberated”, when he was really only standing on a road viaduct outside the airfield, which itself was never even challenged, remaining in the hands of the government throughout the day .

To aggravate journalistic crime, the Times ran a Reuters wireframe photo showing Guaidó addressing a street full of supporters, allegedly taken that day, but clearly not showing where he made his call for a coup, despite only having the camera photo to address, although imprudent readers may have assumed that is what the photo showed.

Did the editors of the Times“Headquarters in New York rechecking journalists’ claims before releasing their inflammatory report on the capture of a government military air base?” Why didn’t one of the newspaper’s many reporters and photographers in Caracas come to the La Carlota base to get a firsthand report and video of the first victory in this so-called attempted coup? ‘State ?

In another related story published the same day, this time written by Nicholas Casey, the Times again falsely reported, writing:

It was the most daring move to date by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó: at sunrise, he stood flanked by soldiers at an air base in the heart of the capital, claiming the rebellion was imminent.

Clearly, Casey was making up or, more likely, had been too lazy to drive (or send a colleague of his) to the airport to confirm the veracity of Guaidó’s “bold” claim. But this is not just fraudulent reporting, it is dangerous and inflammatory propaganda. Its publication could have, and possibly led, hundreds of coup supporters to rush to the airport, where they were greeted by the Venezuelan military, a number of protesters reportedly injured during the the confrontation that followed.

Casey, in his article, writes that “at the end of the day” it was clear that Guaidó had failed to precipitate a successful coup, but he do not say which was clear much earlier that day: that the airport had never been captured at all, and that Guaidó had not spoken from a vacated airfield, but from a bridge outside the airfield. In fact, Casey must have known, or should have known at the end of the day, and long before the Timesdeadline, that his previous report on Guaidó’s call to arms was based on false information. Instead, he always claimed his story was factual and presented as if he had witnessed the events he was reporting on. Even if his article notes that “at the end of the day, word spread of another blow to the opposition: Leopoldo López, the political prisoner who heads Mr. Guaidó’s party, had fled to the Embassy of Chile, with his wife, Lilian Tintori ”, he continued with the fiction that an air base had been captured and that the army was collapsing, writing:

The events have also cast a new and harsh light on the division within the armed forces, which places Venezuela in a precarious position as the country’s political crisis deepens. As senior military officials dig into their support for Mr. Maduro’s government, many rank-and-file soldiers appear ready to challenge their commanders and come to the aid of the opposition.

In fact, far from the “many” deserting soldiers, it was perhaps no more than 25 men in uniform who defected in support of Guaidó, and they, as was known at the time Casey submitted his article, had asked. asylum in Brazil. embassy, ​​a devastating sign of his failed call to arms, a reality Casey didn’t bother to mention in his article. (Sitting at home on the evening of April 30 and reading reports in publications like Telesur English and Al Jazeera, I was able to learn more about this and about Lopez’s asylum seeker with his family at the Spanish Embassy, ​​so surely Times fact-checkers should also have been able to obtain this information disputing Casey’s report.)

Interestingly, Casey cited the Maduro administration as stating late Tuesday night on a public television broadcast that La Carlota Airport had never been threatened or taken over by defected soldiers. Instead of verifying it as a fact, all Casey did was quote Maduro’s denial, hinting that he may not have actually been “released.”

Casey’s article, still available online, has a correction at the end, dated May 1.

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the CNN program during which Mr. Pompeo made his remarks on Mr. Maduro’s plans to visit Cuba. It was The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, not State of the Union.

But as of this story’s publication date of May 7, no corrections have yet been made by the Times concerning the fundamental and far more serious reporting errors of the article, such as that there had been “a pre-dawn takeover of a military base in the heart of the capital”, or that Guaidó had made his appeal video to a rebellion from this “liberated” air base.

How does a self-respecting news organization allow such inaccurate reporting to stay online for so long unedited? The only possible answer is that Casey, and the other journalists in the country who would have contributed to his signed article (Isayen Herrera, Ana Vanessa Herrero, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Katie Rogers), gave the New York Times exactly the piece of propaganda that they and the Washington coup plotters wanted.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of Venezuelanalysis.



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