A reader updates us on the crisis:
The timing – coinciding with the once-in-a-generation freakout in Ukraine – is unfortunate, but you really need to have a second look at what happened last night in Venezuela. Basij-style pro-government paramilitaries on motorbikes shooting directly into protesters, the National Guard firing tear gas cannisters directly into residential buildings … there just aren’t any precedents for what we saw last night. Some of the videos and photos are … well, just staggering. It was very much what we’ve all been fearing would happen since Chávez first came to power 15 years ago. Worse still is the way the Western media is asleep at the switch. It’s as though we only have attention for one crisis like this at a time, and all the camera crews are already in Kyev.
Another reader is also frustrated that “none of the major media organs utter a word about Venezuela”:
Ukraine is not a NATO ally or a part of the EU, and Venezuela is a major source of oil of the United States. And in our hemisphere to boot. Another reminder that unless we’re talking about illegal immigration or drug cartels, the American MSM doesn’t give two shits about Latin America.
Update from another:
Although the sentiment of the last sentence may be true, it’s worth pointing out that Ukraine borders four NATO members, has been part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace since the early 1990s and has sent troops to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and BiH. There has been extensive cooperation between NATO and Ukraine both to build Ukrainian military cooperation and also to place this under effective civilian control. And of course Ukraine is not part of the EU but it was the cynical decision of Yanukovych regime to walk away from a landmark trade agreement with the EU that sparked the recent protests. The bottom line is that Ukraine matters to European security.
Without wishing to fisk your correspondent, one might also point out that Venezuelan oil exports to the US have plummeted with the growth of US shale oil and that the disturbances in Caracas are a fraction of the THREE-month stand off in Kyiv which saw many, many deaths today.
One of the reasons we’re seeing a lot more coverage of Ukraine than Venezuela is that the latter’s thugs have done a very thorough job of cutting off nonofficial communication with the outside world, better than their counterparts did in Syria or Iran at a similar stage of their recent upheavals. Kiev, in contrast, is practically smoking up my office and laying out its dead on my desk. It’s easier to empathize with the suffering you can see than with the suffering you can only imagine.
Please keep covering what is going in Venezuela. As a Cuban-born American, I’m inspired by the courage of Venezuelans in resisting the same oppression that turned Cuba into a virtual jail. #prayforvenezuela #sosvenezuela