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Media row over image of barricaded bridge blocking aid from Venezuela

INTERNATIONAL media organisations have been accused of regurgitating propaganda for the US-led imperialist coup attempt in Venezuela as the US tries to take control of the country’s vast oil reserves.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed last week that Venezuela had blocked humanitarian aid by barricading a bridge linking the country to neighbouring Colombia.

In a tweet he wrote: “The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The US and 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.”

It was accompanied by an image showing tankers positioned across the highway with fences erected nearby, making it impossible to drive across the bridge. 

The photograph was used by mainstream media organisations, including the BBC, CNN and the Independent, as evidence of President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to “reopen” the bridge to allow aid to reach starving Venezuelans.

However, the Tienditas International Bridge which was completed in 2016, has never in fact been opened, partly due to a serious deterioration in relations between Venezuela and Colombia in 2015.

The barricades shown in the image circulated by mainstream news organisations have been in place since at least June 2017, Google Images shows, with the fencing possibly erected by Colombia as the breeze blocks holding it in place appear on that side.

Mr Maduro, who has long warned of a potential ground invasion of Venezuela using Colombia as a staging post, described US aid as a “political stunt,” given that Washington is strangling Venezuela’s economy through sanctions described by a United Nations official as “crimes against humanity.”

Self-declared “interim president" Juan Guaido, the unelected speaker of the defunct National Assembly, confirmed on Saturday that he could “authorise” a US invasion to install him as Venezuela’s leader.

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