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5 Feb, 2019 21:39

Rapper who heads 'The Coup' band dropping some Venezuela truth bombs on Twitter

Rapper who heads 'The Coup' band dropping some Venezuela truth bombs on Twitter

With most of the media loudly cheering US efforts at regime change in Venezuela, skeptical citizens have been turning to social media for alternative analysis – and they’re finding some wisdom from American rapper Boots Riley.

Riley, a progressive socialist, has been actively critiquing US policy in Venezuela since Donald Trump called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down and announced his support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, after the relatively unknown politician declared himself interim president last month.

The rapper might at first seem an unlikely source from which to derive wisdom on the situation in Venezuela but, in fact, he is the lead vocalist for a hip-hop band rather aptly named The Coup, which combines art and activism, with songs delving into issues like police brutality, racial tensions, capitalism and critiquing US government policy.

Riley has criticized media coverage of the US coup effort, asking in one tweet if there was “a direct CIA hotline to the NYT” – a reference to the New York Times’ historical support of US regime-change operations.

The musician also called out the media for ignoring what journalist Erin Gallagher called “inauthentic coordinated activity” on Twitter after a deep analysis linking pro-Guaidó activity on Twitter to a US website based in Miami.

Riley has challenged the idea prevalent on social media that if a person isn’t in Venezuela then they have no right to comment on dangerous US policy there, using the comparison that it’s hardly necessary to have “been to Africa” to know that kidnapping Africans for the slave trade was wrong. Likewise, one could say, it’s not necessary to have “been to” Iraq to know that the disastrous 2003 invasion was wrong.

Riley’s outspokenness on Twitter has also earned him some haters – but he hasn’t been shy about highlighting racist abuse he has received from some supporters of Guaidó.

Unlike many other commentators, Riley has also attempted to balance his tweets, providing some nuance by also critiquing the Maduro government.

The activist rapper has also called on others who identify as left wing socialists (or even communists) to speak up on US policy in Venezuela, saying that there is little point in identifying as such if they side with “CIA collaborators” around the world.

...and while most of his commentary has been serious, he has also managed to inject some humor into the whole ordeal.

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