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6 Mar, 2019 20:25

‘Weaksauce’: State Department tries ordering media how to cover Venezuela

With regime change in Caracas going poorly, the State Department is trying to create reality by browbeating reporters into following the official line. Veteran AP reporter Matt Lee was not amused, calling the effort “weaksauce.”

At the press briefing on Tuesday, spokesman Robert Palladino objected to news coverage describing Juan Guaido as opposition leader or self-proclaimed president, rather than “interim president” as Washington has declared him to be.

“Millions of Americans and more than 50 countries recognize Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela,” Palladino argued, so to refer to him otherwise “falls into the narrative of a dictator who has usurped the position of the presidency and led Venezuela into the humanitarian, political, and economic crisis that exists today.”

This is, of course, the official line of the State Department, which accuses President Nicolas Maduro of being a “usurper” and claims that Guaido is the legitimate leader of Venezuela. AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee would have none of it, however.

“You consider him to be the interim president, and as you say, 50 other countries… recognize him as the interim president. But there are more than 190 members of the United Nations. So your 50 countries is not even close to half of that. Is that correct?” Lee asked.

Palladino’s response was to repeat the “feeds into the rhetoric” talking point and mumble something about those 50 countries being “democracies.”

Lee has a reputation of being a no-nonsense reporter, known for legendary battles of wits with a long succession of State Department spokespeople. He did the world another favor this time, exposing the complete disrespect of US diplomacy for international law – namely, the division of the world into “democracies” and others.

Later on in the briefing, Palladino is asked about the number of countries that recognize Guaido, and he tries to spin it thus:

You know the number of countries. But we’ve gotten major support in the Western hemisphere, and I would just point that out, as well as Europe. And if we look at the democracies, we’re doing pretty well as well. Okay?

So much for the fancy talk about “rules-based world order” and even President Donald Trump’s proclamations about “sovereignty,” made in last year’s address to the UN General Assembly. Simply put, the US and its allies count as “real” countries, and everyone else doesn’t. And oh by the way, it’s Washington that decides what’s “democratic,” not you – got that?

Also on rt.com If US is all for sovereignty, it should stop meddling in other countries’ affairs – Lavrov

To make this even more absurd, Palladino’s key argument for Guaido’s legitimacy is that he invoked the Venezuelan constitution – except that constitution only envisions a 30-day period for an “interim president,” and only in case the normal chain of succession is disrupted, which it manifestly was not. Guaido declared himself president on January 23. His “mandate” has long since expired – on the very day he tried to force the border from Colombia with US “aid” trucks, in fact.

Guaido is the president of Venezuela only in the imagination of Washington and its vassals, which they are trying to impose as reality on the press, the people, and the rest of the world through Orwellian tactics such as Palladino’s complaint.

Judging by the reactions of the public, they’re not buying it, with one Twitter user noting that the State Department spokesman appeared to be in physical pain when “forced to read this script of lies.”

“Watching the state guy for the first minute or so I was convinced this was a comedy sketch show,” commented another.

Nebojsa Malic, RT