Photos and video of oil tankers and shipping containers blocking a bridge between Venezuela and Colombia were used as proof Caracas was “blocking” US aid. Left out was the fact that the bridge was never open for traffic.
The bridge figured prominently in last week’s push by official Washington to paint the elected government of Venezuela as hostile to the people, and build support for the US-backed self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido. A USAID convoy arrived in Colombia on Friday, but media outlets reported that the government of President Nicolas Maduro had “blocked” it by setting up fencing and obstacles on the Tienditas International Bridge.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the photo to claim that “Venezuela’s military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”
The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE pic.twitter.com/L4ysYJaM6H
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 6, 2019
The fact-checkers in mainstream media that comb through every word spoken by US President Donald Trump and his cabinet officials stayed silent on Pompeo’s claim. It was left to independent journalists and observers to reveal that, while the containers may have been placed by the Venezuelan government, the bridge was already blocked from the Colombian side. In fact, a cursory search online reveals that the bridge had never actually been open for traffic.'
Read more: A bridge too far: US claims Venezuela blocked aid deliveries... at a crossing that was never open