Disinfo: Venezuela bustling with life, contrary to mainstream narratives

Summary

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.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 142
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Venezuela
  • Keywords: Nicolas Maduro, Mainstream media, Propaganda, Economic difficulties, Migration crisis
  • Outlet: RT News @ RT (rt.com), time 09:50
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Five years after the referendum, the well-being of Crimea’s population has significantly improved

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Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin with Russia through a legal referendum and that the annexation of Crimea brought economic and social benefits to the population.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on the 16th of March 2014. Even Russian President Putin has publicly declared that the plans on annexing Crimea were launched weeks before the so-called referendum. See here the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation by Russia.

Russian take-over of Crimea prevented Belarus from becoming a vassal state under the US and Poland

If Russia hadn’t taken over Crimea and the peninsula had come under the military control of the US and NATO, the existence of Belarus would be threatened. After the USSR’s collapse, Poland’s revanchism and hopes to establish a state stretching from the Baltics to the Black sea manifested themselves.

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In practice, the revanchist plans envisage Belarus as a vassal, anti-Russian state controlled by the US and Poland, with Belarus’ western part being an eastern part of a new Polish state. The remaining Belarus’ part will function as an anti-Russian buffer zone.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Poland's plans to partition Belarus and establish the Fourth Republic, Western plans to partition Ukraine and to disrupt Belarus-Russia ties.

No state programme on developing the Fourth Republic was adopted by Poland and no statements of Polish president were made to take over western Ukraine or Belarus. IV Rzeczpospolita, or the Fourth Republic, was a plan for political change put forward in the late 1990s by the Polish conservative philosopher Rafał Matyja. It was used in public discourse to describe the 2005-2007 period, when the government of Law and Justice was in power. However, this concept has nothing to do with establishing a Polish empire at the expense of Poland's eastern neighbours, including Ukraine and Belarus - it is a conspiracy theory. Read more about the use of conspiracy here.

EU to introduce visas for US citizens in 2021

The EU has decided to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021 to improve security and avoid problems with illegal migration and terrorism.

Disproof

The EU is not planning to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021. The EU will put into operation the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2021. The ETIAS is intended for citizens of all 61 nations which currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone, who will need to register on ETIAS website before travelling to the EU. It will be a “completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors” from countries whose citizens are eligible to travel to the Schengen Zone without visas. Those visitors will need to fill out an ETIAS online form and receive an electronic authorization.