DISINFO: Venezuela bustling with life, contrary to mainstream narratives
While the mainstream media continue to portray Venezuela as a crisis-stricken and impoverished country, the actual situation there is far from grave. The UN claim that 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled the country is disputable; last year, school enrolment actually increased by 7%, and 120,000 Colombians settled in Venezuela. Western media outlets focus on hyperinflation and its impact on the country’s living standards, but never mention that many goods and services are still cheap.
The story accuses mainstream media outlets of producing alarmist reports on the situation in Venezuela and demonizing President Nicolas Maduro, and thus fits the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the situation in the country. The estimate of 3.4 million Venezuelan emigrants was jointly produced by the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Institute of Migration (IOM), and is based on data from national immigration authorities and other sources. Primary school enrolment has actually declined since the onset of the economic crisis in 2013, dropping 7% by 2017. During that period, the number of out-of-school children doubled and has likely continued to rise, as parents increasingly struggle to furnish their children with basic school supplies. The most recent Venezuelan census (published in 2011) put the number of Colombian-born residents of Venezuela at just under 722,000 (p. 41). The alleged influx of 120,000 Colombians in 2018 is difficult to verify, particularly given the Maduro government's habit of manipulating demographic data. In 2015, President Maduro reported that a whopping 5.6 million Colombians resided in the country, whereas the IOM estimated the 2015 figure at less than 1 million (p. 76). Between mid-2017 and mid-2018, 250,000-300,000 Colombians left Venezuela according to UNHCR and Colombia Migration, citing respectively the progress in Colombian peace talks and the worsening living conditions in Venezuela. Hyperinflation has rendered nearly all goods in Venezuela prohibitively expensive, as consistently noted in RT's pre-2019 reporting.