May 24, 2019  |  Updated May 28, 2019

RT and Sputnik Spin Narrative on Guaidó’s Attempt to Take Power in Venezuela

By Luiza Bandiera

Several hashtags began trending in Venezuela on April 30, the day opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by more than 50 countries as the country’s interim president, tried to oust Nicolás Maduro. The hashtags included #OperacionLibertad (Operation Freedom) and #TodaVenezuelaALaCalle (All Venezuela to the streets). Readers of the Spanish version of the Kremlin-backed outlet Sputnik, however, only read about one hashtag: #NoMarchamosMasGuaido, or “We won’t march with Guaidó.”

Kremlin-owned media outlets — namely Sputnik and RT — have become more popular in Venezuela in the past year, and their coverage of the country has not been impartial. On April 30, these outlets branded Guaidó’s efforts to oust Maduro a “coup” without acknowledging the complexity of the situation. Both Sputnik and RT failed to report on the repression and human rights abuses inflicted by government forces and kept silent on the government’s blockage of online platforms, such as Twitter and YouTube, that the public used to keep abreast of the latest developments.

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