Venezuelan opposition spreads lies about US journalists Abby Martin and Mike Prysner, inciting death threats
Prominent members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition, including professors and journalists, are spreading blatant lies about U.S. journalists, inciting violence and subjecting them to a torrent of extreme death threats.
As the price of oil has plummeted, Venezuela has seen growing inflation and goods shortages. The South American nation’s right-wing opposition — which has long been backed by the United States government, and which in 2002 briefly carried out a coup, with U.S. support — has exploited this crisis to launch a borderline insurgency against the democratically elected socialist government.
For months, the right-wing opposition has been engaging in large, often bloody demonstrations. Protesters have lynched three Afro-Venezuelans, whom they accused of being “infiltrators”; two of the men were burned alive. Right-wing demonstrators have also set fire to government buildings and buses, and even thrown explosives and molotov cocktails at police.
Reporters Abby Martin and Mike Prysner, co-producers of the political television show The Empire Files, traveled to Venezuela in May to report on the ongoing violent protests, and to provide an independent perspective often ignored in Western corporate media outlets.
In the midst of these bloody protests, several influential voices in the Venezuelan opposition have circulated lies about Martin and Prysner, accusing them of being “spies” for the country’s intelligence agencies, without presenting a modicum of evidence. They have also shared the journalists’ private information, and even appeared to have incited violence against them.
“For doing my job –– for interviewing government officials, protesters at los guarimbas, average Venezuelans and peaceful marchers –– I am called a spy who should be killed by the same people called ‘peaceful freedom fighters’ by Western press,” Martin told AlterNet in an interview.
“These unsuccessful attempts to intimidate us reveals how much they really fear accurate reporting that might undermine their narrative.”