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Distortions and Whoppers in an Aljazeera interview with the President of Venezuela’s ANC


Some whoppers were slipped into this transcript of an interview between Aljazeera’s Lucia Newman and the president of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly (and former Foreign Minister) Delcy Rodriguez. Aljazeera says the “adapted” transcript has been “edited for clarity and brevity”. That’s an Orwellian way to put it.

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In the interview (the video) Rodriguez correctly stated that “governor” (or regional) elections are in October – not municipal elections as the transcript incorrectly states. Also the regional elections were due before the end of 2016, so in October they will be held 10 months late, not a year and a half late as Newman falsely claimed. Rodriguez missed this error as well. In 2004, elections were also delayed by several months because that year, as in 2016, there was a recall petition process that went on for several months. In 2004, it was municipal elections that were delayed and ended up being held in August of 2005.

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Rodriguez’s description of some of the opposition violence was chopped out of the transcript. She described attacks on maternity and child care centers that had to be evacuated because of opposition attacks.

Also chopped from the transcript were Rodriguez discussing opposition leader Julio Borges telling Colombian TV that Venezuelan migrants are a threat to the region, opposition support for U.S. sanctions, and Luisa Ortega’s allegations against former Spanish PM Jose Zapatero.

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Most recent data from UNICEF, from 2015, said Venezuela’s infant mortality rate (IMR) was 12.9 per 1000 live births, so 1.29%.

If Venezuela’s IMR were now 30% as Newman said then it would be 300 per 1000 live births which would make it over four times higher than it is in the poorest regions of Africa today. See data in the table below. This is not even the wildest claim that has been made about IMR in Venezuela by a corporate journalist. By now they are willing to spread any claim about Venezuela and its government that is negative.  The sky is the limit.

Venezuela1950IMR_2

I suspect Newman bungled a figure from a Venezuelan health ministry report showing that infant deaths – not the infant mortality rate – were up 30% in 2016. However, that same data set showed infant deaths up 19% in 2012 when the infant mortality rate decreased. In fact, it was one of Venezuela’s best years economically which helped Chavez decisively win the presidential election that year, so that data set has not been an indicator what is going on with IMR. Also, the medical establishment in Venezuela has been at war with the government for well over a decade. Hospitals were shut down by doctors in protests long before the present economic crisis began as officials in the US Embassy in Caracas observed.   

Similar remarks apply to Newman’s claim that “maternal mortality is at 60 percent”. In 2015, UNICEF said was 95 per 100,000 live births, so 0.095%. If it were now 60%, it would be 60,000 per 100,000 live births – about ninety times higher than in the poorest regions in Africa today

If you believe that, is there anything you wouldn’t believe? See the table below.

MAternalMortalityVenezuela_World 

 

 

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