Venezuela is on fire.
Students shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Civil unrest brought on by the dictator Nicolás Maduro’s treatment of his people has rocked the country.
Hundreds of protesters have been injured and at least 3 have even been killed by government forces, the Associated Press reports. However, information coming out of the nation is scarce.
Images that have leaked out of the country are eerily similar to what we are seeing unfold right now in Kiev, Ukraine.
However, as noted by Venezuelan journalist Francisco Toro, there’s one major difference between Venezuela and Ukraine: The media seemingly aren't interested in covering the former.
For some, the silence surrounding Maduro’s brutal suppression of his own people is a little startling.
“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,” Toro wrote in the Caracas Chronicles.
AP10ThingsToSee - A demonstrator raises his arms toward the Bolivarian National Police (BNP) firing tear gas and a water canon in the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
Supporters of Leopoldo Lopez, an ardent opponent of Venezuela's socialist government facing an arrest warrant after President Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest on charges of homicide and inciting violence, light fires at the streets, on February 18, 2014, in Caracas AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA
“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,” he added
But even with all of these terrifying details, it appears that the media just aren't very interested. Toro even pointed to six specific examples of the media’s seeming disinterest in the matter:
6. The New York Times
The Times’ “World” section has “nothing.”
5. The Guardian
The Guardian’s world homepage “has some limp why-are-you-protesting? piece that made some sense before last night’s tropical pogrom, but none after it. So… basically nothing.”
4. The BBC
The BBC led its major stories today with news of the arrest of the Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, “as though [the violence] last night had been just business as usual.”
CNN is “chasing the thing that was the story in the old Venezuela,” Toro said, referring to Lopez's arrest earlier this week. CNN has barely any news of the state's violent suppression of protesters.
2. Al Jazeera English
“Al Jazeera English never got the memo,” he wrote, pointing to the network's homepage, which is currently dominated by Ukraine stories.
1. Fox News
“Even places that love to hate the Venezuelan government are asleep at the wheel,” Toro noted, citing Fox News’ homepage.
And information on the civil unrest in Venezuela in U.S. media is still remarkably scarce.
“Venezuela’s domestic media blackout is joined by a parallel international blackout, one born not of censorship but of disinterest and inertia,” Toro wrote. “It’s hard to express the sense of helplessness you get looking through these pages and finding nothing. Venezuela burns; nobody cares.”
The Associated Press offers some background on what has pushed the country to the brink of civil war:
Hundreds of students have spent the past week in the streets of Caracas alternating between peaceful protests by day and pitched battles with police at night in unrest fed by hardships that include rampant crime, 56 percent inflation and shortages of basic goods.
Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez emerged from days of hiding and surrendered to police before thousands of supporters Tuesday, saying he hopes his arrest awakens Venezuela to the corruption and economic disaster caused by 15 years of socialist rule.
Speaking with a megaphone to more than 10,000 people, Lopez said that he didn’t fear going to jail to defend his beliefs and constitutional right to peacefully protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
“If my jailing serves to awaken a people, serves to awaken Venezuela … then it will be well worth the infamous imprisonment imposed upon me directly, with cowardice, by Nicolas Maduro,” Lopez told the sea of supporters who were dressed in white to symbolize non-violence. Venezuela’s red, yellow and blue flag hung from his shoulders.
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