Dear International Editor:
What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.
Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.
People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.
And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.
What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.
Here at Caracas Chronicles we’re doing what it can to document the crisis, but there’s only so much one tiny, zero-budget blog can do.
After the major crackdown on the streets of large (and small) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…
As of 11 a.m. this morning, the New York Times World Section has…nothing.
NYTimes – nothing
The Guardian’s World News has some limp why-are-you-protesting? piece that made some sense before last night’s tropical pogrom, but none after it.
The Guardian: Fluff
The BBC is still leading its Latin America section on a Leopoldo story, as though last night had been just business as usual.
BBC – Would you guess a sort of pogrom took place in Venezuela from looking at that?
CNN is also out chasing the thing that was the story in the old Venezuela:
CNN: Your breaking news is broken.
Al Jazeera English never got the memo:
Even places that love to hate the Venezuelan government are asleep at the wheel:
Et tu, Ailes?
The level of disengagement on display is deeply shocking.
Venezuela’s domestic media blackout is joined by a parallel international blackout, one born not of censorship but of disinterest and inertia. It’s hard to express the sense of helplessness you get looking through these pages and finding nothing. Venezuela burns; nobody cares.
Let me put this clearly. Y’all need to step it up. The time to discard what you thought you knew about the way things work in Venezuela is now.
(Damnit, there’s just no way to stay retired in these circumstances…)