They were certainly not protesting Donald Trump, despite what MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow may tell you.
Maddow tried to claim on her show Thursday night that the streets of Venezuela had exploded with protests and marches in response to recent news surrounding a subsidiary of a major Venezuelan oil company that donated half a million dollars to the Trump campaign.
April 19 marked 207 years of Venezuelan independence from Spanish colonialism, and with that date in mind, both the political opposition and President Nicolás Maduro planned rallies that ultimately clashed and, the next day, saw military force used against unarmed citizens.
Yet the banner caption running on MSNBC read, “Unrest In Venezuela Over Trump Donations” — what many following the events in Venezuela criticized as sloppy reporting to the point of fake news.
No argument there.
“Venezuela is a country in intense turmoil right now,” Maddow said. “The sanctions that the US put on Venezuela were put there in 2014 after 43 people got killed while participating in anti-government protests. Another three people got killed just yesterday. There have been protests for weeks and weeks and weeks. And today Venezuelans are enraged anew by this brand new FEC filing from The White House.”
Undoubtedly, there were some rage in response to the news that the country’s oil company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) had contributed more to Trump’s presidential run than Google and Ford Motor Company — raising doubts about the new US administration’s willingness to support intervention in the dictatorship.
Venezuelan State-Run Oil Company Donated Half a Million Dollars for Trump Inauguration https://t.co/4dGCloy3Wf
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) April 21, 2017
But consider the never-ending sequence of disastrous policy decisions Maduro and his socialist party have made in recent months:
Last week, he sent helicopters to drop tear gas on peaceful protests. This week, he announced he would be arming one million untrained militia loyalists, which incited international criticism from the European Union and neighboring countries like Colombia.
A month prior, the country’s packed Supreme Court ruled the country’s legislative body, the National Assembly, had been compromised by political opposition, and overrode its authority.
Doesn’t all of that seem a bit more motivating for protesters than a FEC campaign donation filing?
Not to mention that opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), had officially announced and tweeted repeatedly about the point of the march days before the PDVSA donation made headlines.
Someone needs to fire the research interns on The Rachel Maddow Show, or tell her to at least get better fact checkers.