Major News Organizations Walk Back Coverage of Humanitarian Aid Fire in Venezuela, Tracing Blaze to Anti-Maduro Protestors

Humanitarian aid went up in flames back in February during a standoff between Maduro forces who were attempting to block the aid from entering the country and anti-Maduro protestors. Based on newly acquired video footage from the conflagration, the Venezuelan aid burned when an anti-Maduro protestor hurled a Molotov cocktail from the crowd, refuting what had until now been categorically accepted by major news organizations and democratic political administrations as an act of destruction from Maduro’s corrupt regime. The lie has only served to encourage anti-imperial rhetoric from socialist President Nicolás Maduro, who was voted into office through an undemocratic election and has consistently resorted to violence and authoritarian measures of control to tamp down his opposition.

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The incident occurred at the Venezuelan-Colombian border town of Ureña. At the time, the fire was blamed on Maduro, with top Colombian officials describing it as an intentional act. According to the New York Times, Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez had said that the aid was being “incinerated by gangs by order of Maduro,” a statement that U.S. officials were quick to adopt. John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser and war hawk, tweeted last week that Maduro “contracts criminals to burn food and medicine intended for the Venezuelan people.” The video itself originated from Colombian sources, CCTV from the bridge, and contained only partial footage of the incident.

The Intercept pointed out that independent news sources have been refuting the mainstream consensus of the events since day one and called out CNN, the New York Times, and even European news media for readily accepting what now appears to be anti-Maduro propaganda that dangerously sets the stage for a major war. “Every major U.S. war of the last several decades has begun the same way: the U.S. government fabricates an inflammatory, emotionally provocative lie which large U.S. media outlets uncritically treat as truth while refusing to air questioning or dissent, thus inflaming primal anger against the country the U.S. wants to attack.”

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Congressional members like Ilhan Omar and even the United Nations have been wary of U.S. intervention in Venezuela since opposition leader Juan Guaidó first rejected Maduro’s presidency, considering its long history of both direct and indirect meddling with Latin American politics — usually as a way to replace socialism and communism with democracy. Historically speaking, U.S. intervention has often led to the rise of bloody dictators like Chile’s Augusto Pinochet through their support of regime change, and to the genocide of perceived insurgents, including hundreds of thousands of indigenous Mayan villagers in Guatemala who were killed by U.S. trained forces. Last month, Omar grilled Elliott Abrams, Trump’s new pick for special envoy to Venezuela, over his efforts in the 1980s to cover up and dismiss the rape and massacre of women and children in El Mozote, El Salvador; at the time, the Reagan administration had been sending both military and economic aid to the country as a way to ensure that a left-wing regime would not succeed in gaining power.

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