An opinion piece by Lauren Carasik entitled “The US should respect Venezuela’s democracy” , featured on Al Jazeera’s website, calls out the U.S. media coverage of the recent protests anti-government protests in Venezuela. Western media has portrayed Maduro’s regime to be violent towards Venezuelan protesters. Tensions are high and at least 13 people have died amidst the demonstrations. Carasik argues that western media are discussing the Venezuelan protests without challenges or questioning. She says that the crisis in Venezuela is far more complicated than the U.S. media suggest it is. The U.S. media refer to it as a popular revolution to overthrow Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his administration. However, Maduro still is very popular among most Venezuelans, and the media forgets to mention that.
Carasik claims it is difficult to really know who is responsible for provoking the conflict and inciting the violence, and that US Media, such as this article featured in the New York Times, systematically tacitly blames the political system, that for a long time has been not in sync with the US political views.
We all know that the US has not been favourable of Venezuela’s politics for more than 15 years now. Even after Chavez’s death, many hoped for a change of paths for the elections of its upcoming political leader. Even when Maduro, Chavez’s successor, won the 2013 elections, the U.S. government contested Maduro’s victory, a sign of the continuation of Chavez’s populist anti-U.S. policies. The New York Times failed to investigate all sides of the protests occurring in Venezuela because of the influences of political orientation of the United States. Major US media companies fail to understand or analyze in their stories the complexity of the protests and automatically accuse Maduro’s administration, because of their government’s history and relationship with Venezuelan’s anti-U.S. policies. Carasik makes interesting points about Venezuela’s democracy that the US media failed to point out. Maduro won the elections in a fair and democratic election, with popular support by the Venezuelan people. Although the country faces economic troubles such as high inflation, crime and shortages of food, the narrow focus the US media takes on these points masks the country’s progress in poverty reduction and democratization.
I agree with the author that the U.S. media should focus on Venezuela’s progress and take a deeper look into the challenges Venezuela has faced, rather than blaming the government for the unrest.