In Venezuela’s December 6, 2020 national election, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won close to seventy percent of the votes cast, President Nicholas Maduro was reelected, and the PSUV secured a two-thirds supermajority in the National Assembly. Due to past accusations of election fraud, the December election was monitored by “1500 international election observers, 300 representatives from 34 countries worldwide” to confirm the democratic legitimacy of the electoral results. According to Fire This Time, the election observers included “the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts and several former heads of state including Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain.” Despite these observers’ assurances about the election results’ legitimacy, Western corporate media chose to ignore these accounts and push for regime change, claiming the election was illegitimate.
While the PSUV were celebrating the results, not everyone was in high spirits. After the election, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “Venezuela’s electoral fraud has already been committed. The results announced by the illegitimate Maduro regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people. What’s happening today is a fraud and a sham, not an election.” Further rejection of the results includes the self-declared and US government recognized president of Venezuela Juan Guaidó, who called for another coup on social media shortly after the election.
As Alan Macleod of MintPress News reported, the United States embassy for Venezuela was caught deleting tweets attempting to deter Venezuelans from voting in the election. Macleod quotes one of these tweets that also linked a supposed website to track election irregularities:
“Tomorrow in Venezuela there will be no elections but rather a fraud carried out by the illegitimate Maduro regime. The world is watching. And Venezuelans are organizing to report it. Are you ready to defend democracy? I don’t vote on December 6th.” The embassy’s scrubbing of the tweets was flagged by Adrienne Pine, an associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., and one of the 300 foreign election observers.
The current Biden administration is continuing to recognize former opposition legislator Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, ignoring the recent electoral results, and maintaining the pro-coup foreign policy of the previous administration.
Corporate media has attempted to delegitimize the results of the recent vote by focusing on the low voter turnout, claiming the election must have gone electorally awry. There is legitimacy to the claim of low electoral turnout, as Alan Macleod reports only 31% Venezuelans voted this past December. However, the initial reaction from Western journalists has been to stretch the truth—or openly lie about the election to fit their narrative. As Alan Macleod reports, corporate media like the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal argued that the opposition was boycotting the election.
There was another set of corporate news outlets such as the New York Times and CNN, which argued that the independent observers declared the election was “flawed” and that Maduro “refused meaningful electoral observation,” including The Economist, which ran an article claiming that Venezuelan elections were rigged to favor Maduro and alleging that the results were “preordained.” What corporate media have chosen to omit is that a majority of both international and national election observers, including the Council of Latin American Electoral Experts, confirmed the electoral results as democratic and fair. Instead, corporate coverage focused on opposition parties “boycotting” the election due to it supposedly being rigged from the start. Further, there has been no mention of the United States embassy using Twitter to influence Venezuelan voters, and the subsequent coverup of this effort. The current corporate news coverage of the Venezuelan elections also misses the direct impact that US sanctions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, have had on that country’s electoral process. Further, corporate media bias in covering the Venezuelan elections becomes even more glaring given that the corporate press expressed no skepticism about the 2020 elections in Romania, a NATO ally, where turnout totaled a mere thirty percent of the population voting.
Alan Macleod, “US Embassy Caught Scrubbing Tweets Urging Venezuelans Not To Vote,” MintPress News, December 14, 2020, https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-embassy-caught-scrubbing-tweets-urging-venezuela-not-to-vote/273633/.
Alan Macleod, “US Media, Pols Rage After Venezuelans Defy US Empire to Re-elect Socialists,” MintPress News, December 7, 2020, https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-media-pols-bias-venezuela-national-assembly-elections/273431/.
“US Observers Endorse Venezuela’s Election Legitimacy,” TeleSUR English, December 6, 2020, https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/US-Observers-Endorse-Venezuelas-Election-Legitimacy-20201206-0010.html.
Alison Bodine, “Venezuelan Elections: A Key victory for Anti-Imperialist Movement in Latin America,” Fire This Time, December 8, 2020, https://issuu.com/firethistime/docs/fttv14i9-12. Volume 14 Issue 9-12; republished by MR Online, January 6, 2021, https://mronline.org/2021/01/05/venezuela-elections-a-key-victory-for-anti-imperialist-movement-in-latin-america/.
Student Researcher: Cem Addemir (North Central College)
Faculty Evaluator: Steve Macek (North Central College)