Victims of Communism Memorial Group Tells Networks to Stop Whitewashing Crimes of Socialist Venezuela

'This is a humanitarian disaster and socialist policies are to blame'

Protestors and National Guard personnel face off during a demonstration against the socialist government of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro / Getty Images
May 17, 2017

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is asking major news networks to bring attention to the violent tactics being used by the Socialist regime in Venezuela.

Media attention on Venezuela has been sparse, as the country is on the brink, with a food shortage, an inflation rate as high as 800 percent, and violent crackdowns and the detention of thousands of protesters who oppose President Nicolas Maduro.

Four more people were killed yesterday, adding to the more than 40 dead and 750 injured since protests began in March.

Marion Smith, the executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, sent letters to the heads of CBS, NBC, and ABC on Tuesday asking the networks to adequately cover the violence and failures of the socialist country, which he says is closer than ever to becoming a communist regime.

"Venezuela has descended into complete and utter chaos as a result of a brutal, socialist government whose citizens are starving under its tightening grip every day," said Smith. "Make no mistake, this is a humanitarian disaster and socialist policies are to blame."

Smith said Venezuela's Marxist experiment began in 1999 and has transformed the Latin American country from one of the most prosperous in the region into a nation that has no access to toilet paper.

"With each passing year, what was once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America became poorer and poorer," Smith said. "What was once a free country became repressive. Those who tried to reform the failing policies of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela were brutally repressed, imprisoned, and even murdered."

Smith warned David Rhodes, Andrew Lack, and James Goldston, the presidents and chairmen of CBS, NBC, and ABC News, respectively, that Venezuela is creeping closer to becoming a communist dictatorship. Communist regimes have been responsible for over 100 million deaths in the past century.

"Communism has been tried in more than 40 countries, and each time results in the worst and widest scale human rights abuses known to man," Smith said.

Smith said his organization, which serves as an advocate for dissidents in China, Cuba, Venezuela, and around the world, would not stand idly by while Venezuela's crisis is whitewashed.

"We, the undersigned, will not tolerate the obfuscating or whitewashing of the crimes of the socialist regime in Venezuela and the actions of its communist ally, Castro's Cuba, which now reportedly has thousands of military advisers participating in the violent treatment and murder of unarmed protesters," Smith said.

"As the president of a major media outlet that reaches millions of people, you have a solemn responsibility to report the truth as it relates to Venezuela," he said.

"Please don't let your viewers down."

The major networks' nightly newscasts have made only brief mention of Venezuela this year.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has mentioned Venezuela in two segments, according to transcripts analyzed by the Washington Free Beacon. The latest occurred on April 20, during a story about Maduro's government confiscating a General Motors factory. The segment mentioned the violent protests, including that three people were killed in 24 hours alone.

World News Tonight also mentioned the food crisis in schools on Feb. 14, and Nightline did a special on Venezuela's "descent into chaos" that evening.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt did one segment this year on April 20. The segment noted, "People are hungry for democracy" and said that Maduro's socialist government had seized companies.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley also has only mentioned Venezuela once this year, on May 4. Pelley said the protests began after the socialist president tried to grab more power, but blamed the economic crisis on a drop in oil prices.