Disinfo: UN report on Venezuela ignores US sanctions, opposition violence

Summary

The 5 July UN Human Rights Report on the situation in Venezuela lays a disproportionate amount of blame on the Maduro government, but ignores the effect of the US sanctions on the deteriorating socioeconomic crisis plaguing the Latin American country.

While readily condemning government forces for violence and repression of dissent, it does not discuss deaths at the hands of opposition protesters between 2014 and 2017. In one infamous episode in June 2017, a 22-year-old man was burned alive by an angry opposition mob — one of at least 60 people murdered by the guarimberos during that riot.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the situation in Venezuela, painting the ongoing socioeconomic catastrophe there as a direct consequence of US sanctions. See our debunk of this claim here.

Upon charging that the UN report ignores the role of US sanctions in the crisis, the article immediately acknowledges that the opposite is the case, quoting from the UN press release summarizing High Commissioner Bachelet's findings. In the very next sentence, however, it reverts to arguing that the report dismisses their effect "with a wave of the hand."

Explicit reference to the negative impact of sectoral sanctions was made in the report itself (pp. 5-6, 14) and during the press conference which accompanied its publication (1:21-1:35, in Spanish). At the same time, the report notes that the beginning of the economic crisis far predates the imposition of the sanctions regime, citing the Venezuelan government's own statistical data (p. 6, para 27).

The "60-people-murdered" claim is unreferenced and false. The figure was likely lifted from a June 2017 BBC report, which cites Venezuela's chief prosecutor as saying that "[a]t least 60 people have been killed in protest-related violence since the beginning of April" that year. In other words, a total five dozen people (both pro-government and pro-opposition) were killed (not necessarily "murdered by guarimberos") in the space of two months (not during one riot) in a year which saw an average of 27 protests daily. By the end of July 2017, the total number of protest-related deaths had risen to 124 (p. 10), of which 46 were attributed to law enforcement and 27 to pro-government militias (p. 12); of the remaining 51 deaths, only four were tentatively attributed to anti-government groups (p. 32).

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 158
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/07/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Venezuela, US
  • Keywords: United Nations, Nicolas Maduro, Human rights, Economic difficulties, State oppression, Sanctions

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

see more

By 2050 Germany will become a Muslim country

By the year 2050 Germany will become a Muslim country.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about migrants and Islamisation, whose aim is to stoke amplify negative emotions towards immigrants. A similar case can be found here.

According to the Pew Research Centre's study, migration drives the projected increase in the Muslim shares in European countries, including Germany. Share of Muslims in Germany would increase to 10.8% in 2050 under the medium scenario, in which regular migration continues at its current pace and refugee flows stop entirely. Even in the high scenario, if the recent volume of refugee flows continues, the research says, the share of Muslims in the country will rise to 19.7%.

The role of NATO is to increase the confrontation with Russia

What is the role of NATO? To increase the confrontation with Russia. This is also a way to reply to its voters, “We have our usual enemy, and we wrap our war hysteria over our old enemy.” Obviously, no one wants to go for war with Russia. However, to present Russia as a reincarnation of the “evil empire” is always welcomed.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO attempting to encircle and weaken Russia.

North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

The Polish ruling elites are pursuing an anti-Russian policy

The Polish leadership did not invite Russian President for events related to the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Since 2015, the Polish elites have been represented by a new party that consistently stands the anti-Russian line. The current demarches of Warsaw do not have any logic.

Disproof

One of the recurring Pro-Kremlin narratives Elites vs. People, describing particularly Polish elites as Anti-Russian. Poland is often targeted by Russian propaganda, which portrays Poland as anti-Russian and aggressive toward Russia.

The fact that Warsaw did not invite the Russian leader to celebrations was explained by the Polish leadership: "Invitations have been sent to the EU, NATO, and Eastern Partnership members, but not to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Invitations have been issued according to a contemporary, not a historical context."