Source: Sputnik Mundo
What it’s about: On May 12th, 2019—on the occasion of Mother’s Day celebration in Venezuela—Sputnik Mundo published a special photo-report on the dire situation for Venezuelan mothers and the challenges they face to feed their families under the Maduro government. The piece, which centers on the stories of five young mothers residing in Petare, Caracas, makes a good point in highlighting how May 12th in Venezuela has transformed from a celebration to a remembrance of the “struggle and resistance of Venezuelan mothers vis-à-vis the crisis in the country.” Yet, the justification for food and medicine shortage follows the Maduro regime’s blame on U.S. sanctions rather than the mismanagement of his own administration.
Why it’s misleading: In a country where 80 percent of households are food insecure and with a health system in utter collapse, the struggle of young mothers to find sufficient food and medicine to feed and protect their families needs deserves front and center attention. But in the Mother’s Day photo-report, Sputnik, much like the Maduro regime, shifts the cause of massive food and medicine shortage from Maduro’s administration mismanagement to U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. Across the entire photo-report, Sputnik inserts quotes from Venezuelan top officials accusing “U.S. and European governments of blocking Venezuelan money that would otherwise be used to purchase medicines and food.” And although one of the interviewed mothers does mention that the monthly CLAP food box helps her get by, the CLAP system is unreliable as sometimes “it takes more than a month to arrive and even when it does, we don’t know what products it contains so we have to adapt.” CLAP stands for the Local Supply and Production Committees, a signature policy that started under Chavez, consisting of boxes distributed monthly and containing rice, pasta, grains, cooking oil, powdered milk, canned tuna and other basic goods. While numerous studies, publications and on-the-ground coverage have attributed the humanitarian crisis to Maduro’s incompetence, corruption and repression, which has plunged a once-prosperous country to the brink of starvation and destitution, Sputnik’s piece serves as an echo chamber for Maduro’s old discourse blaming U.S. “unilateral” sanctions against Venezuela for the country’s suffering.