BBC (Katy Watson) article – distortion and inaccuracy about Venezuela

This BBC article by Katy Watson states

Official figures put the number of Venezuelans who have left their homeland for Colombia because of the crisis at 300,000. But the actual number is thought to be much higher.

A study of the official figures at a Colombian university put the number at 348,321 over the past SIX years. Venezuela’s crisis has been going on since late 2014 – with the big fall in oil prices – over the past THREE years. It is worth remembering that as of early September 2014, the international media was hyping default claims about Venezuela that made no reference at all to oil prices suffering a deep and sustained collapse. The last electoral victory the government won was in the municipal elections very late into 2013 (December of 2013).

According to that study of Venezuelan migration to Colombia, it averaged about 47,000 per year from 2011-2014, then increased to 80,000 per year in 2015-16. Assume it was 80,000 for the past three years, therefore inflating the official figures, and you get 240,000.

Perhaps realizing that even 300,000 since the crisis doesn’t square with the really wild exaggerations that have routinely been made about Venezuela the BBC feels obliged to vaguely add that “the actual number is thought to be much higher”.

Here are just some of those wild exaggerations about Venezuela:

more violent deaths than in Iraq! (New York Times in 2010), [The NYT leveraged ignorance about both Iraq and Venezuela to produce that whopper]

infant mortality has increased 10,000% (George Eaton of the New Statesman),

an HIV crisis comparable to Zimbabwe’s (Stephanie Nolen of Toronto Globe and Mail),


infant mortality is at 30% (Lucia Newman of Aljazeera),

maternal mortality is at 60% (Lucia Newman of Aljazeera, again)

Iraq, when it has a population a bit smaller than Venezuela’s, produced a half million refuges PER YEAR outside Iraq in the first 4 years after the US invasion in 2003. There were also millions of internally displaced people in Iraq.

The international media’s hysterical exaggerations about Venezuela aren’t harmless and silly. They are clearly aimed a justifying the violent ouster of the government.

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