On August 27, The New York Times published an article titled “Colombians Flee Venezuela’s Crackdown on Immigrants” with a completely biased story of what actually happens at the border, which not only belies the investigative journalism of the newspaper, but involves intent to disparage.
The story, which attempts to portray the Venezuelan Government as a persecutor of immigrants, by default misrepresents what has happened at the border between Venezuela and Colombia, in Tachira State, before and after the closing and the constitutional declaration of a state of emergency. The note only links the border closing to the deadly attack on Venezuelan military personnel; doubting that this was a paramilitary attack.
In fact, in the report there is no paramilitaries or criminal gangs, these are only references that the president Nicolas Maduro has named. None of the four NYT journalists who wrote the story could find out if between the more than one thousand repatriated there were some dedicated to smuggling and other border crimes. Nor could they find out if there was a huge brothel where girls were found. They did not approach to ask if a huge bar was really a center of kidnapping an underground system of human captivity. And even more, they only found analysts that linked the border closure to electoral politics. The NYT wrote that “hundreds of Colombians fleeing across the border, avoiding the offensive against immigrants”. Clearly the NYT wants to draw a picture of persecuting government. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which has an office in Colombia due to the internal conflict in that country, has called non returnees who have gone to Colombia as “spontaneous returnees.” But for the NYT they are people fleeing an offensive.
The story also ignores any recognition to all the border problems by Colombia. Only the complaints of President Juan Manuel Santos over returnees are mentioned. Likewise ignore dare the words by Colombian Foreign Minister, Maria Angela Holguin, who first thing after the closure of the border recognized that the problems of criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking and smuggling affected equally both countries. There are many Colombian spokespersons, who despite criticism over the repatriations have warned about the causes of the problems of a complex border which the NYT unknowns.
September 1, 2015