Muted response in Venezuelan press after Trump's blast at Chavista socialist failures

President Trump's blast at the horrors and failures of Venezuela's socialist hellhole regime in his United Nations speech Tuesday was by far the most direct accusation against the regime's failures ever delivered by a leader of the free world.  In a long passage, Trump indicted Venezuela's dictators and socialism itself, with unprecedented scorn.

The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.

The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.

A speech like that should get anyone's attention.

But if one needs an indicator of how ruined the country's basic rights and freedoms are, a look at the press is the first stop.

The reaction there to that impassioned speech?

Almost nothing.

Very few media outlets, even purportedly independent ones, had much to say, and none featured the news prominently in today's press.

I found meager items in the largest non-state Venezuelan media print outlets: one a web-only piece in El Nacional reporting that Trump was planning to step up sanctions on the regime in remarks similar to his U.N. remarks, at a dinner the night before.  Over at Ultimas Noticias, there was a small item buried low on the page with Cuba's foreign minister's reaction to the blast on Venezuela, claiming that Trump's "threats" against Venezuela were "unjustified and arbitrary."  Not a word from Venezuelan officials – just their Cuban masters, and no visible reporting on what Trump actually said.  El Mundo had a buried item that did report the news, but its front page had only a defense of the dictatorship from China, which is Venezuela's fiscal guarantor, offering "support" from Trump's "threats."  El Universal, meanwhile, had nothing.

Radio was better, with Union Radio, the country's fearless independent radio station, offering far more coverage – not just Trump's speech, but the comically inept reactions of Chavista officials and shills.  Union Radio not only carried the speech itself, but also carried President Nicolás Maduro's whining reaction, saying Venezuela is a threat to no one and he will be glad to debate socialism with Trump any time.  It also carried Bolivian president Evo Morales's rejection of Trump's remarks; Chavista shill Eva Golinger's claim that Trump just wants control of Venezuela's oil; Maduro's wife Delcy Rodriguez, who also runs the puppet National Constituent Assembly (this is the group Maduro appointed to supersede the real one), claiming that Trump threatens the whole world; and one of her underlings, someone named Saul Ortega, claiming that at long last, Trump has admitted to instituting a "blockade" (using Cuban language appropriate for a Cuban puppet).  It also had a follow-on story from European Union officials, warning of new sanctions to follow.

Union Radio was the exception.  The rest of the press coverage was nominal if not absent.

One could guess that maybe the statements of a U.S. president would be of minimal interest in a foreign country.  That's unlikely, given that the U.S. draws tremendous attention from any nation it gives attention to.  One could also argue that Venezuela is a hopeless basket case, and the opportunity for change came and went, and this is something Venezuela already knows.  People are tired of the topic and figure there will be no follow-up.  Possible, but unlikely.

The most likely reason is censorship, either implied or direct.  The Chavista regime doesn't want anyone reading this stuff, thus the reporting has been muted, not front-page stuff as one might expect.

By contrast, the coverage of the Trump speech was quite normal in Colombia, with El Tiempo, for one, reporting the story with the prominence that might be expected.  They even had a comical response from Maduro, calling Trump "a new Hitler."

It shows what a miserable state Venezuela's rights and freedoms are in, right alongside its wretched food and toilet paper supplies.  What we are seeing here is a dictatorship that would rather its public not know about Trump's statement delivering the truth about the regime.  Such a statement might give strength and succor to Venezuela's beleaguered democrats, or maybe encourage someone from the military to get rid of the problem.  They don't want to hear too much from President Trump.

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