Negative publicity harming Venezuela

| | in Oped

Cyber terrorism is trying to cripple Venezuela from within. The smokescreen is making media ignore many positive growths

Since the very inception of conflicts and warfare, underhand tactics and deceitful actions evolve, develop and take over a new space. Today, that space is the digital world, which is being used for misinformation and distortion. Welcome to this menacing avatar of the cyber world which in its present status vis-à-vis Venezuela can be compared to cyber terrorism.

Before going deeper, one must endeavour to keep some relevant facts in mind:

  • To destroy public and private property, burn and physically attack people, are identified as crimes in Venezuela, India and any part of the world.
  • To launch bombs and set fire to police premises and other public property is unacceptable in any country. We call it ‘terrorism’.
  • The Venezuelan Government has been repeatedly calling for dialogue but it has been rejected by a violent Opposition which only wants to depose him.
  • President Nicolás Maduro, in accordance with the Constitution, has called for elections in 2017, to settle political differences among Venezuelans.
  • Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world and the countries that publicly back a presidential deposition are those who supported the invasion of Iraq and Libya — not surprising.

All of this is being done, right now, by the Venezuelan violent Opposition, but none of this is being shown by the international mass media. Impressive, isn't' it?

Venezuela is facing its worst ever crisis since its independence and these are the most testing of times after it faced a slew of distorted misinformation. This smokescreen has been very effective to make the media ignore relevant facts and figures about Venezuela that, indeed, serve as a positive example for the world.

Facts, data, statistics and measurements never lie and cannot be tampered with. No matter how harsh this tumultuous tsunami is; what is undeniable is undeniable. What the discerning mind and the intelligent thinking human being needs to do is to verify from authentic, verifiable and verified sources the true picture. Once you see the facts then the entire game plan of these cyber terrorists becomes clear. The success story of Venezuela was applauded at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The fact that Venezuela achieved high human development, higher than international standard, has been washed away in this tsunami. Let us, as thinking human beings, see things from the perspective of cold hard facts rather than through the looking glass of a cyber terrorist.

Undeniable, undisputable, irrefutable facts:

Fact 1: In education alone, Venezuela, in 2005, achieved 100 per cent literacy, as per the the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Tablets and laptops have been distributed free of cost to students to aid them in their studies. Free universal education policy has been effectively utilised for providing opportunities for all.

Fact 2: In terms of socio-economic achievement, 62 per cent of the population has Internet access, access to clean water is at an enviable 96 per cent and it has the third lowest poverty rate in the region. There are no children living in the streets. There is high quality of life through social investment from oil, which reaches 71.4 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Fact 3: The public healthcare system has around 95,000 doctors and the infant mortality has been drastically reduced. It is the second country with greater capacity for primary healthcare.

Fact 4: Old age pension and housing development allow people to have access to world class living of international standards and quality.

These are merely some pointers; the rest of the facts and figures are also out there in the cyber world from sources that are reliable, dependable, trustworthy and neutral. I am limiting myself only to these few evidences. However, my objective is not to position myself as a font of knowledge but merely to set the record straight in a humble effort to bring to light the side of Venezuela that everyone seems to have forgotten.

Every coin has another side to it. People must go ahead and look for themselves at the other side and verify all that they are reading and seeing about Venezuela. They must take time out, think and rationalise — and then the true picture will emerge and they will understand the complete horror of this cyber war currently being raged on the country, on a regime which has done so much for its own populace and for the world too. Governments may change and rulers may go, but facts will remain facts.

The malevolent cyberborgs have done their best to shake Venezuela to its very foundations. Now let us unite in a single-minded determination to fight tooth and nail and recover the lost ground and utilise social media networks to spread knowledge and truth. May the beacon of truth shine.

(The writer is chairperson, Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

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