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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/11/19

Why Is NPR Carrying Water for Trump on Venezuela?

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If I told you that NPR, National Public Radio, was fronting propaganda operations for Donald Trump and John Bolton, would you call me crazy? If I said that NPR was just another voice for an imperial media, would you believe me? That's the situation we find ourselves in on Venezuela.

NPR, like every other major US media outlet, is towing Donald Trump's line, perpetuating propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies in furtherance of an expansionist foreign policy. And it's not just NPR. Most of the mainstream media just touts the government line without doing any background research to get the story straight. It's a problem that is getting worse.

As an example, take a look at this article from NPR. It's innocuously entitled, "After Four Months, Venezuela's Border with Colombia Reopens." It's common knowledge that the economic situation in Venezuela is dire. The country suffers from hyperinflation and a lack of medicine and basic foodstuffs. Crime is rampant. But what the article never mentions is that many of Venezuela's economic problems stem from crippling US and international economic sanctions that have blocked the export of Venezuelan oil and the import of those same medicines and foodstuffs that the country so desperately needs. I'm actually willing to give NPR a pass on that, at least for the sake of argument. Perhaps an editor took that pertinent information out of the article. Perhaps it was a space issue. But things quickly worsen.

In the article's third paragraph, NPR nakedly chooses a side. The reporter writes, "In a tweet announcing the move, Venezuela's authoritarian president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered the reopening of the border with Colombia on Friday and said in Spanish, "We are a people of peace who firmly defend our independence and self-determination."

Who is it that made the determination that Maduro is an "authoritarian?" Whether we like his politics or not, the man is the democratically-elected president of Venezuela. The opposition did not contest the last election. They boycotted it. That's on them, not on Maduro. In fact, it was the White House that insisted that the opposition boycott the election just so that it could later accuse Maduro of being an illegitimate leader. NPR and others have fallen right in line.

The article's very next sentence promotes the blind expansionism and imperialism that National Security Adviser John Bolton is famous for. It says, "The border with Colombia was closed earlier this year in an attempt by Maduro's government to block opposition and humanitarian groups from delivering foreign aid to Venezuelans in need." The problem there is that there were no "humanitarian groups" delivering food to Venezuelans.

Here's what happened. The US and the European Union cut off food deliveries to Venezuela as a way to squeeze Maduro. When he didn't resign and flee to Cuba, which is what Western leaders wanted to happen, the White House ordered a cut-off of food imports. The only way for Venezuelans to get food, then, was to have the US provide it and the "opposition" ship it across the border from Colombia. But the US and the opposition used the open border to also smuggle arms to supporters of US puppet Juan Gauido to help overthrow the Venezuelan government. I would have closed the border, too. But NPR doesn't tell you any of that.

In only the fifth paragraph of the article, the author introduces Juan Guaido. Guaido is a nobody whom John Bolton decided should be the new president of Venezuela. NPR, with a completely straight face, says, "Maduro is in a power struggle with opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela's National Assembly who declared himself Venezuela's president in January. Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela's rightful head of state by more than 50 countries, including the United States."

This paragraph is an outrage. Maduro and Guaido are not "in a power struggle." Guaido was chosen by the Trump White House to be the fact of the US coup in Venezuela. He's a traitor who has taken up arms against his own country on behalf of a foreign power, the United States.

Imagine for a moment that a foreign country that didn't like a US president decided that the Speaker of the House or the President pro tempore of the Senate or some other politician should be the "rightful head of state." Since when is it up to the US to decide who the rightful head of state of Venezuela is? Shouldn't that be up to the Venezuelan voters? Imagine if the Russians decided that some schmo they happen to like should be President of the United States. They strong-arm 50 countries into recognizing the schmo, and then they send "humanitarian aid" and arms to the border. That's an act of war, plain and simple. I can easily imagine every American taking up arms to defend the country.

NPR and other mainstream outlets should be ashamed of themselves. They toe the (illegal) official line just like the compliant propaganda outlets they have become. There's no end in sight.

Remember, and forgive me if I sound like a broken record, the White House's actions in Venezuela are a violation of international law. This is a coup attempt. It's a crime. I'm not a Nicolas Maduro fan-boy. But it's none of our business who leads a foreign country, especially when his or her people hold an election. This intervention is just plain wrong. Hands off Venezuela. And every other country.

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John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA and two years in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the agency's use of torture. He served on John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee for two years as senior investigator into the Middle (more...)

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