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.
So, the US is enabling an actual coup in Venezuela. If you've been worried about Russian bots influencing elections here, I'd hope you express outrage about this.— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 23, 2019
And it's not about whether you think Venezuela is a good socialist country or not- it's about people understanding the influence that the US and the CIA have on the world and conspiring to take down anyone who takes a bit of power away from the ruling class.— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 23, 2019
Ah, yes.Maduro is so hated in Venezuela that in the election when half the population turned out to vote (same voter turnout as US), 70% of them voted for Maduro. The person the US wants to install DIDNT EVEN RUN IN THE ELECTION. pic.twitter.com/eyNTgzobx6— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 24, 2019
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.
Here's a NYT article from 1973 claiming that Salvador Allende's support had eroded by the time of the coup (and thereby excusing the coup).Is there a direct CIA hotline to the NYT? https://t.co/ljcu8MDpat— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) February 5, 2019
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.
Of course @NBCNews only reports on this but skips over the perfectly available info on the right wing Venezuelan bots sending out 10s of thousands of tweets, with billions of impressions-Great journalism!And these arent being stopped by @twitter. Why?https://t.co/co7P8gLzpZ— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 31, 2019
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.
You can say that Europeans kidnapping slaves in Africa is wrong, even if uv never been to Africa and are neither African nor European.& yes, the assessment of slavery being wrong is due to my ideology. Ideology is what every1 uses- sometimes w/o knowing- to understand the world https://t.co/O7fkmsjia2— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) February 4, 2019
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.
More of the Venezuelan opposition.This racist attitude is reflected in their leader has vowed to privatize everything, praises the right-wing Bolsonaro, and is being overseen by someone who was involved in what the UN categorized as mass genocidal killings. https://t.co/emW756gY9h— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) February 4, 2019
The right wing of Venezuela is NOT racist. I mean, is racist. And its wrapped up in why they blame the welfare programs of Venezuela for the economic problems. https://t.co/dLIY5Kjvm7— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 30, 2019
Unlike many other commentators, Riley has also attempted to balance his tweets, providing some nuance by also critiquing the Maduro government.
I want 2 make clear that although I think its important to call out the lies that the US and CIA are spreading in order to set the stage for a coup, that there r legitimate critiques- from the left- of Maduro, even from in Venezuela people who are actively working against a coup.— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 29, 2019
These r critiques from ppl in Venezuela who want it 2 be even more socialist than it is right now. &although its true that the biggest economic problems in Venezuela come from corporate hoarding, market manipulations, &sanctions that stopped the govt from rolling their debt over-— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 29, 2019
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.
If ur an anarchist, socialist or communist- and found yourself not speaking up on or siding w CIA collaborators in Libya, Syria, and now Venezuela- exactly what are your beliefs useful for?— Boots Riley (@BootsRiley) January 31, 2019
...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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