French hypocrisy when it comes to Venezuela
French President Emmanuel Macron recently voiced support for protesters in Venezuela while his own country has been ground to a halt by massive protests every Saturday for eleven weeks.
There is an overused saying that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” While these few words may be cliche there is definitely one man that they can be applied to after this weekend: Emmanuel Macron.
Even though the French President is into the third month of protests against his government, he has decided to weigh in on the legitimacy of another country’s government and his latest outrageous statements just highlight the hypocrisy of Macron and Western leaders in general.
Macron: Maduro is ‘illegitimate’
Emmanuel Macron is a very unpopular man. Yet, if the French President is to be believed, there is a man who is more unpopular than him that needs to be removed from office immediately. This man is, of course, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro whose approval rating is estimated somewhere around twenty percent by Western media outlets (many with no journalists or pollsters in Venezuela).
The irony of Emmanuel Macron saying these approval ratings make a President “illegitimate” is that his own aren’t looking much better. Following the eleventh weekend of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protests, Macron has seen a slight bump in approval ratings (according to pro-Macron media) to a paltry thirty percent.
Thirty percent isn’t much better than 20 but there were also polls during the earlier stages of the Gilets Jaunes protests where just over seventy percent of French citizens polled did not have faith in Macron’s government. This means that at one point during the protests that are still sweeping through Paris every weekend, Macron was just as “illegitimate” as he claims Nicolas Maduro is.
Approval ratings aren’t the only thing Western powers use to paint Maduro as illegitimate. Another common tactic often deployed against the Venezuelan President is to claim that his latest electoral victory can’t be verified and this makes Maduro illegitimate.
One statistic cited to prove that the last Venezuelan election was “fraud” is the voter turnout. The voter turnout during last years presidential election in Venezuela was 46.1% but this statistic without context is misleading.
A key variable that has to be factored into the Venezuelan elections is that the now-“interim President”Juan Gauido’s own party called for a boycott. Apparently, most of the party got the message, listened to the leadership and just didn’t vote, meaning it’s impossible to tell if the re-election of Maduro would have gone differently.
One election that nobody was calling for a boycott of, is the French Presidential election in 2017 where only about 35% of the French electorate voted. This is the lowest turnout for any French election and modern history, and more than ten percentage points less than the turnout in Venezuela. If low turnout is the key to spotting a “rigged” election where the opposition is de facto barred from voting, perhaps international observers should examine the legitimacy of the French President.
Violence against protesters
Another major trope across western media used to try to characterize Nicolas Maduro as a tyrant is some of the responses of the Venezuelan security services to massive protests. At the same time, however, it seems strange for Emmanuel Macron to point to massive protests during “economic turmoil” as some kind of evidence a leader must step down.
As stated above, Macron is dealing with his own “pro-democracy” protests – or a bunch of Russian-manipulated fascists if western media is to believed – the Gilets Jaunes. While Macron has openly voiced his support for those protesters in the streets of Caracas, he has spent several weeks brutalizing and arresting protesters on the streets of Paris.
While networks all over the west love to point out the totals of dead or injured during riots in Venezuela, they usually fail to report when similar things happen in the west, and France is no different. Macron, much like what he says of Maduro, is also killing protesters and reached double-digit body count late last year.
Obviously, western media would like you to believe these two things are different, and obviously, they are in many ways. For instance, the Venezuelans protesting in Caracas work on behalf of western interests while those in Paris work against it.
There is also another key difference between the situations. In France, Macron has done nothing to hold any police accountable for the deaths of protesters in Paris. Unlike Macron, the Maduro government has actually prosecuted police found guilty of abuses against the opposition. Meanwhile, Macron’s police recently blinded a prominent Gilets Jaunes activist for life with their non-lethal weapons a day after the latest Venezuelan protests kicked off.
One thing you will not see in any western media coverage of Venezuela are those citizens of the country that do support President Nicolas Maduro. The western media has no problem repeatedly showing protests against the current government but almost no media covered the fact that thousands also mobilized in pro-Maduro protests to counter the opposition over the weekend.
While the media ignore these pro-PSUV protests over the weekend though, they did fall in love with another new group of “pro-order” protesters, the Foulards Rouge, or Red Scarves. Although this movement didn’t explicitly say they back Macron, they did support something mainstream media love even more, the “institutions” of liberal democracy.
Unlike the yellow vests, who the western media did their best to ignore for weeks, these red scarf protesters were blasted all over mainstream media. This coverage is despite the fact that the red scarves were estimated to have been around 10,000 strong whereas some yellow vest protests have drawn hundreds of thousands to Paris from around France.
These red scarf protests are being hailed as France’s silent majority, who may be unhappy with the state bush still don’t wish for further instability. The same can likely be said about many of the pro-Maduro protesters who likely have some grievances but know much of this is caused by outside factors and anything besides the Bolivarian revolution will further destabilize Venezuela.
None of this matters to the western media or Emmanuel Macron who are still ramping up their anti-Maduro smear campaign at this very minute. Emmanuel Macron can “support” the protesters in Venezuela all he wants but he might want to worry about keeping his own house in order.