More than two weeks ago protestors took to the streets in Venezuela, and nobody in the United States media noticed.
At least eight people have reportedly been killed, but it is likely that number is much higher. Media blackouts are beginning across the nation. Paper shortages beginning last year have shut down a number of local papers and a reduced the circulation of national news papers causing protestors to claim that President Nicolas Maduro is trying to squash unpopular opinions of his regime. Protestors are being shot, detained and tortured, as described on YouTube and Twitter with supporters using the hashtag #Venezuelanoestasola — “Venezuela is not alone.”
So why does nobody in the media seem to be aware of this?
The demands of the protestors are varied — from better security to freedom of speech to a guarantee of access to basic goods, but all fingers point to Maduro for attempting to rule by decree. Maduro in turn has pointed to the opposition party of Venezuela as responsible for the country’s economic problems.
On Feb. 12, security forces unleashed by the government killed the first protestors. Protestors have retaliated in kind and violence been on the rise ever since. Protestors are uniting under the leadership of Leopoldo Lopez who was detained this week on charges of terrorism, murder, arson and conspiracy. The most serious charges of murder and terrorism, which would have been punishable by death, have now been dropped, but he remains in detention. Lopez has denied all charges with the backing of both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issuing statements that accuse Venezuela of using Lopez as a scapegoat.
Maduro is also blaming the United States, accusing U.S. conservatives and news organizations of plotting to overthrow his government. He has revoked the accreditations of the CNN reporters covering the crisis and requested a meeting with President Obama, which he said would “Put the truth on the table.”
President Obama is not amused.
“Venezuela, rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people,” he told reporters.
Unfortunately, it looks like the global media will be slow to pick up on the story. While they have covered it in pieces, it lacks the full coverage it deserves. Don’t worry Venezuela. Support in the Ukraine is growing now and it only took global media outlets a few months to catch on. At this rate, everyone should know how the protests are going by May. And then we can examine whatever is left of you.