Photo: El Carabobeño retrieved

After AFP’s Edinson Estupiñan picture of the blocked Tienditas Bridge became centerpiece in the international press, the Maduro communicational hegemony is going after “humanitarian aid”.

On February 10th, an article titled “U.S. sends contaminated food with cancer potential under the pretext of humanitarian aid” was published on VTV’s website, the state’s main broadcaster. The piece has no author, except a mysterious BG sign at the end. Hours later, state newspaper Correo del Orinoco published a variation of the same article, allegedly from Presidential Press.

The article claims that according to alleged studies made by the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the humanitarian aid provided by USAid contains products that include acrylamide and sulfur dioxide, both chemical compounds that are considered as health hazards and even could cause cancer.

But neither of the two versions of the article quotes or even gives the names of the reports that based their accusations. Instead, the VTV article only offers a link to the speech made by Maduro during his most recent press conference. The same one where the power went out twice (also, that VTV article would make you think that Maduro changed his name to “Head of State”).

CC tried to fact-check the VTV’s report to no avail.

CC tried to fact-check the VTV’s report to no avail. But in the end, that’s not its main point. As the hegemony has been caught red-handed (no pun intended) in spreading misinformation, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were also following the model of conspiracy-pushing sites like InfoWars.

BTW, the fact that the very same government that put “malk” as part of their politically-driven, corruption-filled CLAP program, is crying foul of tainted food is the definition of shamelessness.

But there are other hegemony-related outlets doing their own attacks on humanitarian aid.

Misión Verdad recently released two web-videos in which they present the cases of Haiti and the Central African Republic as examples of international relief as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Using the mismanagement of reconstruction funds in Haiti and the “sex-for-food” scandal in the CAR as political excuses to not allow any assistance is misleading and downright petty.

Having said that, it’s undeniable that the overall issue of humanitarian aid for Venezuela has turned into a serious argument, both at home and abroad. Notorious experts in the subject like Susana Raffalli have already spoken about the limits of what it can achieve. Caracas Chronicles has presented several pieces about the issue, trying to put it in proper perspective.

The concern that some NGOs are showing about the matter cannot be ignored: there are lots of legal, logistical and specially ethical questions about how the humanitarian aid should be used. The fact that it’s openly tied to our current political standoff is not the best of scenarios.

But this problem also comes as Venezuelans face a lack of proper information about what is actually happening, with a hegemony shutting down more programs and providing instead obvious misrepresentations like the ones posted above in the few spaces left available to us.

Credible sources in social networks are scarce, but they exist, like the Public Information Service, born out of the need for reliable news during the wave of protests two years ago.

However, it’s going to take more effort to handle this delicate theme and not fall into the same kind of mean manipulation that the hegemony is doing while looking for a narrative to stick in.

Helping the misinformation dynamic is no other than one of Maduro’s economical architects, Alfredo Serrano Mancilla.

And helping the misinformation dynamic is no other than one of Maduro’s economical architects, Alfredo Serrano Mancilla at the pseudo-thinktank CELAG, along with one of his surrogates, Arantxa Tirado (a.k.a. the Very Silly Spanish Girl) and her recent series of dispatches from Caracas to disprove the crisis.

P.S.: Sadly, as part of the current campaign of disinformation about the “humanitarian aid”, there are false links going around for the “Volunteers for Venezuela” platform announced by Juan Guaidó. The only authorized register online is Voluntariosxvenezuela.com and its Twitter account. This is not an endorsement of such platform, but a public service announcement.

 

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