Source: Sputnik Mundo
What it’s about: The Sputnik piece details Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s invitation to European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to visit Venezuela and witness “a profound democracy” firsthand. Maduro’s invitation was a reaction to a statement expressing concern over the Venezuelan refugee crisis released by Mogherini and other European ministers of foreign affairs in September. The piece quotes Maduro as saying: “To the Chancellor of the European Union, to the ambassadors, I tell them, if they want to know a profound democracy, visit the communes, it is another democracy that Venezuela has, the power is held by the communes, the comuneros, the popular power.”
Why it’s misleading: The Sputnik story is misleading on many levels, but its biggest issue is the failure not to correct Maduro’s claim that Venezuela is a “profound democracy.” Venezuela is a not a democracy. Though Venezuela’s democratic institutions have been chipped away at by the Chávez/Maduro regimes since 1999, the erosion has worsened in recent years. Following opposition victory in 2015 legislative elections, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice stripped the National Assembly of its powers and an illegal Constitutional Assembly assumed legislative functions. In addition to Venezuela’s institutions, civil liberties and political rights have been severely curtailed by the Maduro regime.