Venezuela in the fog of disinformation and propaganda

Venezuela in the fog of disinformation and propaganda

Guaido on 1. May in caracas. Image: twitter account of guaido

The opposition, which has been massively trimmed by the u.S. Government, does not seem to be able to mobilize enough to overthrow the government, but the conflict and the sanctions are paralyzing the country

U.S. Secretary of state mike pompeo has just brushed off the fact that his department of auben is on a "crucial mission" the trump administration "and coordinating to fight propaganda and disinformation abroad". He had met with head of the global engagement center, lea gabrielle. The department was already founded under other names under barack obama, primarily to combat russian disinformation efforts. The fact that propaganda and disinformation are being fought abroad does not prevent the trump administration, and especially the president himself, from spreading such propaganda and disinformation.

It has just emerged that, after the release of the summary of his final report on march 24, special prosecutor mueller had. March had complained sharply in a letter to attorney general barr. The letter was sent a few days after the release, but has only now become known. Barr had "did not accurately represent the context, nature and substance of the work and the conclusions of the office of the attorney general". There was confusion in the public mind "about crucial aspects of the results of our investigation". This, in turn, threatens the purpose of the appointment of the special investigator, namely "to ensure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigation". Mueller forderte, dass die einfuhrung und die zusammenfangen des berichts nach den vorgeschlagenen schwarzungen veroffentlicht werden.

Das justizministerium hat schlieblich den ganzen bericht mit schwarzungen veroffentlicht, unklar ist nun, ob mehr schwarzungen vorgenommen wurden, als dies mueller fur rechtlich notwendig hielt. Yesterday, in a hearing before the senate judiciary committee, barr rejected mueller’s criticism. During the hearing he was sharply attacked by the democratic senators and sometimes called lugner. There were also calls for his resignation, for example from elizabeth warren.

Venezuela in the fog of disinformation and propaganda

Image published by prensa presidencial of the march of government supporters. It is about the battle of images: who can mobilize more people?

Us government spreads rumors

But we were with pompeo, who wants to fight disinformation abroad. He said in the context of supporting the guaido coup under the title of operacion libertad on tuesday, nicolaus maduro had been ready to flee the country, only the russians had held him back. He did not have any proof, but claimed that a plane was already waiting to fly him out to cuba.

It was obviously disinformation similar to that spread by u.S. National security advisor john bolton to create uncertainty about the stability of the maduro government and the support of the military. Bolton had declared, when it became apparent that the hoped-for coup was going down the drain, that the "key figures in the regime", including allegedly defense minister vladimir padrino, maikel moreno, the chief justice of the supreme court, and ivan rafael hernandez dala, the commander of the presidential guard, agreed that maduro had to go. They had agreed to help maduro leave the country. Bolton urged them to accept the amnesty offered by guaido and to overthrow maduro, otherwise they would go down with him. Uberdies behauptete er, eine "uberwaltigende mehrheit der soldaten" wurde guaido unterstutzen.

Abrams, the u.S. Government’s venezuela envoy, also backed the rumor as recently as wednesday. But representatives of the maduro government, who had been negotiating with the opposition, had now switched off their smartphones. Asked if the information applied to padrino, for example, he evasively replied that he was referring to senior members of the government. The three above-mentioned had participated in negotiations with the opposition, with the u.S. Excluded, to discuss a transfer of power in which people like maduro would be able to keep their positions. They had only ever talked, but they had not been ready when the time came to act. Now maduro knows that he can no longer rely on these people.

Juan guaido joined in on such statements, although there are certainly discussions between representatives of the government and the opposition. First, he loved to say that a military airport had been stormed, which was not the case, and finally, after his appeal to the military to switch to his side had failed, he claimed that maduro had neither control over the armed forces nor over the people.

Pompeo continues to threaten military intervention

Maduro, in the presence of the defense minister and senior military officials, had declared the suppression of the coup and threatened that those responsible for the coup would have to be held accountable. He accused trump and his people "of psychological disorders", while maria zakharova, spokeswoman for the russian foreign ministry, said washington had done its best to destabilize the venezuelan army: "jetzt werden fakes als teil des informationskriegs verwendet."

Yesterday pompeo repeated again that the usa would intervene militarily if necessary. Washington has long threatened that all options were on the table. But there has already been a pullback from venezuela envoy abrams, so far there are no known indications that concrete preparations are underway. Adm. Craig faller, commander of southcommand, is busy in latin america but, as he said wednesday, does not see a military role. Gen. Joseph dunford, the top commander, said what they say when all options are supposedly on the table, that they are prepared for anything. Before the armed services committee of the house of representatives, a pentagon spokeswoman said there was no instruction to discuss tarpaulins in the case of venezuela.

John bolton also continues to try to portray the conflict in terms of good and bad with crude propaganda: "interim president guaido bravely leads the venezuelan people through the streets, while maduro hides in a military bunker somewhere, surrounded by his cuban overseers and corrupt cronies. Guaido shows the courage of a leader; maduro is nothing but a cowardly autocrat."

It does not yet look as if guaido will achieve the overthrow

Guaido continues to hope that he can mobilize enough people to tilt the mood in the country. He had called for may day. May, he had called for protest rallies and marches all over the country in order to enter the last phase of the struggle against the "usurpation" . In fact, thousands of supporters of the opposition leader gathered in many cities, and they are documented with pictures, while the maduro government competes against them with pictures of government supporters.

The people are divided, which is why the attempt by guaido and the u.S. To overthrow the government has dragged on for months. The u.S. Government suggests that ultimately only soldiers from cuba have kept maduro in power. Cuba denies having armed forces in venezuela; for washington, the allegation is also legitimation to prepare new sanctions against cuba in order to strangle it economically.

Guaido himself does not seem to believe in success, but wants to prepare a general strike with the unions, because the maduro government’s decision to increase the minimum wage from 1 january 2009 will not be implemented. May because of the high inflation nothing effected. However, the movement could gradually run out of steam if nothing really progresses after the constant new promises. Now guaido may have set a trap for himself when he spoke of the "final phase" spoke.

The big question is how long the maduro government will hesitate to act against guaido, who has called for a coup d’etat and military intervention. With the move to surround itself with armed soldiers, even if they were few, one can no longer speak of a peaceful and unarmed opposition movement either. Guaido is playing with provocation, which is brave in person because he has the u.S. Government behind him, but the trump administration cannot be relied on.

The maduro government has so far allowed guaido and the protest movement to be preserved – thus contradicting the image that it is a dictatorship or a "usurpation" because it wants to avoid anything that could lead to military intervention. At the same time, the government is probably seen as weakened because of this. If the conflict continues for a long time and there are no talks with the opposition, this is also dangerous for the government, because the misery, corruption and economic decline will further weaken the remaining support.