Disinfo: Venezuelan food shortages are mainstream media propaganda


Mainstream media outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, and Bloomberg portray Venezuela as a country where food and other basic commodities are unavailable or unaffordable for the vast majority of citizens.

A supermarket in Caracas is shown brimming with a wide selection of produce and toiletries. The issue is not a shortage of consumer goods but Venezuelans’ buying power, which has been destroyed by currency speculation and pro-opposition capitalists who are profiting from Washington’s economic war on the country.


The report relies on footage from a single supermarket, which it says is located in an "upscale neighbourhood in Caracas." It advances the recurring Kremlin narrative that the mainstream media produces biased accounts of foreign events, in concert with the Western powers-that-be.

The issue of food scarcity and its impact on Venezuela has been documented in multiple independent studies and widely attributed to the country's dependence on agricultural imports and the fiscal policies of the Maduro government.

The story does not provide any evidence linking the "capitalist elements" of the opposition to the shortages. Conversely, a 2016 investigation documents the Venezuelan military's takeover of domestic food management, with multiple corruption schemes and smuggling operations overseen by the Defence Minister Padrino.

According to a nationwide poll from September 2018, 30.5 percent of Venezuelans said they ate only one meal per day, while 78.6 percent reported problems with food security.

The story marks a striking about-turn in RT's coverage of the economic situation in Venezuela, given that its previous reports consistently identified food and medicine shortages as a grave concern for the country. The narrative shift took place throughout January and February 2019, after President Maduro's legitimacy had been challenged by the Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.


  • Reported in: Issue 138
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/02/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Venezuela
  • Keywords: food, Mainstream media, Propaganda, Economic difficulties


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.

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