Washington Post versus BBC — who to believe on Venezuela?

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A Washington Post report found just three hundred people at the pro Maduro demonstration in Caracas February 2. A BBC video report found thousands of people at the pro Maduro demo, as well as thousands at the anti Maduro one.

The Washington Post report was syndicated across the world, including to the Sydney Morning Herald.

When two pillars of the mainstream western news media disagree like this, who to believe?

Here’s a quote from the Wapo report: “At the pro-government march in central Caracas, there were about 300 people at 10:30 am.”

If we assume good faith on the part of the Washington Post reporters, that means they saw 300 pro Maduro people in a part of the Caracas CBD at 10:30 am.

But were they looking at the crowd at a maximum, or at a small group of marchers heading for a much larger rally?

The BBC video footage shows President Maduro speaking to a sea of cheering supporters, many wearing the uniform of the civilian militia… Unless you’re prepared to believe that the BBC faked that footage, it’s clear that (at best) the WaPo people misinterpreted what they saw.

Why does it matter?

The size of pro-Maduro and anti-Maduro crowds is crucial to the world’s understanding of what’s happening in Venezuela today.

The US claim is that the overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan people coming together against the supposed tyrant Maduro and his cronies. But is this correct?

Or is there a polarised situation, with two substantial constituencies whose differences can only be resolved through a political dialogue?

If that is the case, then those who reject dialogue — in the belief that they can force Maduro out by isolating and threatening him — are getting things very wrong, and will sooner or later have to come to their senses.

  • The Venezuelan flag icon is by Unukalhai, who made it available under Creative Commons 3 thru Wikimedia Commons.

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