In Venezuela the right-wing opposition has long been using the country’s media to spread lies and disinformation through fake news stories. In this article, Supuesto Negado’s Maya Monasterios takes a look at some of the more absurd ones.
Published on Venezuelanalysis, Sept 20, 2019
Venezuela’s Opposition’s Seven Most Viral Fake News Stories
Fake news stories are the order of the day, with social media and instant messaging apps making it even easier to spread such messages.
In Venezuela, the political struggle between the government and the opposition has led to rumours and false information being quickly multiplied, especially when there are events on a national scale.
Satanic pacts, cult rituals with the bones of [Venezuelan Liberator] Simon Bolívar and child abductions by the police special forces are some of the most viral “fakes” in Venezuela.
7) Satanic pacts and cults
To continue the wave of occult rumours, the fake news was updated in 2018 when the Petro cryptocurency was released. Whatsapp chains began to emerge and some Twitter users like Ibéyise Pacheco swore that the cryptocurrency was directly related to Haitian religious voodoo chiefs.
4) The kidnapping of Juan Guaido
On 13 January 2019, the deputy was on his way to give a rally in La Guaira [in Vargas State]. Officials from the Bolivarian Intelligence Services (SEBIN) detained him and the headlines said it was a kidnapping. Guaido had only been in the presidency of the National Assembly (AN) for eight days and was still largely unknown. [Guaido was detained for a matter of hours before being released and successfully attended his rally in La Guaira.]
3) Russian military leaves Venezuela
According to the [opposition] Deputy Américo de Grazia (currently holed up in the Italian embassy [fleeing charges of treason]), and journalist Luz Mely Reyes, [President Nicolas] Maduro recruited children through the Special Operations Forces of the Bolivarian National Police (FAES) and the Bolivarian Intelligence Service to use as “human shields.”
Ante las graves denuncias sobre presuntas detenciones, reclutamiento o secuestro masivo por parte de la dictadura a niños y adolescente, nuestro equipo, junto a diversas ONG está en proceso de verificación de las mismas.
— Delsa Solorzano (@delsasolorzano) January 31, 2019
“Given these serious denunciations of alleged arrests, recruitment or mass abduction of children and adolescents by the dictatorship, our team, together with various NGOs, is currently in the process of verifying them,” writes opposition Deputy Delsa Solorzano.
From Miami, [Venezuelan journalist] Patricia Poleo stated that this was a false news story, as there was no report of child abduction by any parent or guardian.
1) Maduro is Colombian
This is, perhaps, one of the most famous fake news stories. The denouncement of the alleged Colombian nationality of the leader was first made in 2013 by the former ambassador of Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS), Guillermo Cochez, who even went on to unveil the alleged birth certificate.
The intention here was to disqualify Maduro from becoming president because he was allegedly foreign, something Venezuelan law expressly prohibits.
In the face of the international controversy which was unleashed, the National Registry of Colombia investigated the document and concluded that it was a fake. At the time, the body’s national director of identification, Carlos Alberto Arias, stated in reference to the alleged birth certificate: “It’s a document that doesn’t contain the special features of our records, like having a serial number.”
However, other opposition spokespeople, such as [opposition ex-Ambassador and ex-Deputy] Walter Marquez and [right-wing politician] Pablo Medina, continued to swear that Nicolas Maduro is not Venezuelan.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Venezuelanalysis editorial staff.
Translation by Paul Dobson for Venezuelanalysis.