Reaction to Joe Montero’s articles on the recent fact-finding delegation to Venezuela, a very small element has taken exception. Most these people are recognisable as belonging to fringe neo Nazi and White Supremacist outfits, doing what they do best, bleating out strings of insults, completely evading the subject and revealing their inability to grasp the simplest of concepts. Unfortunately, a few within the Venezuelan émigré population in Australia have chosen to adopt style and same language. We understand that the situation in their country brings out strong emotions. This does not mean that these are people who should be wilfully attacked. There should be dialogue, based on mutual respect. We encourage this and publish a response to a challenge to republish a video clip which is supposed to reveal Venezuelan soldiers firing shots at a crowd of Guaido supporters this weekend. The response has been written by Joe Montero.
Below is a video clip from a YouTube group that calls itself Panorama LATAM. An investigation has revealed that it is not really a news service, but a very partisan political mouthpiece, with a history of both manufacturing news and predicting what has not occurred.
Video by Panorama LATAM
In this case, it is a purported to be factual report on how an armed group had opened fire on a crowd of Juan Guaido supporters. Gauido is that man who has declared himself president, with the backing of Donald Trump , Australia’s Scott Morrison and some other political leaders.
One has to ask, why such an important news item has not been reported on by the global big media, which overwhelmingly supports Guaido?
Towards the end, a breaking news bulletin appears in this Panorama LATAN slip, stating that Maduro is about to resign and leave the Presidential Palace. Neither happened.
It is not hard to see that there is something wrong with the images. There are sounds that might seem like gunfire. But in any shooting into a crowd, and this always happens, people scatter for their lives. There is no sign of this happening.
Secondly, Guaido, surrounded by what are obvious body guards, just pauses for a moment, looks around, turns back and continues with his speech. This would not have been permitted, if shots were being fired.
The only reference to shooting and the army is coming from either those filming or it is a voice over. This footage is doctored.
If there had been shootings, it would be atrocious and unjustifiable. Because of the seriousness of the accusation, it demanded verification through cross checking, considering and analysing different accounts. Since it didn’t happen, this was impossible.
The Voice of America published this version of the same event on 2 April. Given that this a is an arm of Washington’s foreign policy, the tone is pro-Guaido. There is no mention of shots.
Video from VOA News
Below is an alternative clip of a rally on 12 March, while we were in Venezuela and the power blackout was in full swing.
Video by Ruptly
You can see that the numbers are considerably down than the past. Although a bigger crowd showed up on 12 April, it still does not match the numbers in the pro-Maduro camp.
Below is some footage of the pro-Maduro rally on 16 March.
Video by Global News
It is clear from this that the pro Maduro march was much bigger. Further rallies have drawn similar numbers. The suggestion that Maduro doesn’t have support from many Venezuelans doesn’t stand up to the facts.
The rally for Maduro on 31 March, continued to draw significant numbers.
Video by Ruptly
Consider this also. Panorama LATAM has proclaimed more than once that the Venezuelan army is deserting Maduro. Out of a force of 350,000 very few have. It has proclaimed that European troops were stationed at the Colombian border and about to cross into Venezuela. Similarly, it has announced that the US military would arrive within days.
Panorama LATAM revealed Maduro’s departure again and again. Guess what? He’s still there.
It has continued ot insist that a Guaido’s freedom, if not his life is in peril. But the reality is that he has been left free to move about Venezuela, even though he has violated the law and constitution, in a way that would have see nhim arrsted in the US or Australia, whether you consider his actions just or unjust, even if there is some measure of parliamentary immunity.
Whether you like him or not, honesty demands telling the truth. Maduro is not about to leave. Although possible in the future, the invasion has not been launched, and the army is remaining faithful.
The problem is that agencies like Panorama LATAM pander to the wishful thinking of the most strident faction of the opposition, feeding what is most likely to stir up the passions. One can understand that from their point of view, it is important to keep the troops rallied.
But when the means to do this uses manufactured news and inflaming hate, it drives towards a dangerous end. What is really being calling for is bloodshed among Venezuelans.
Some people believe the narrative, because this is what they want to believe. It is what is being played to.
This is the reason why it is so vital to engage in dialogue, to discuss the issues honestly and with a view to finding common ground wherever possible, and not difference. This is true for Australia and even more so for Venezuela.
As part of the recent fact-finding mission to Venezuela, we found that this is what most people want. They want Venezuelans to discuss, and not an invasion, which will only mean a war.
There were a few there who expressed the opposite. From what we saw, they do not represent the voice of Venezuela.
The three of us have been accused as being in the pay of Maduro, Chileans and Cuban agents, liars, and described by a few less choice and unprintable terms. We have been accosted in the streets by this handful of Venezuelan emigres. We do not appologise for having touched on a raw nerve. The truth demands this sometimes.
Our advice, for what it’s worth, is to discuss important issues like grown-ups.
In this spirit, we put on the record that in going to Venezuela we were not paid a cent by Maduro or anyone else. Nor were closeted and shown only what government officials wanted us to see. Our investigation concentrated on ordinary people, in city and country, and from various walks of life.
Along the way, we came across some parliamentarians, mayors and even a general. It was important to talk to them, question and get their responses. Thisd is legitimate and important. Some are pro Maduro and others critical. At this time, the majority see Guaido and the threat of foreign intervention as the most immediate issues.
We have reported what people told us. If we had not done so, it would have been dishonest and a travesty of our mission to investigate the facts and report them.