Exclusive information obtained by teleSUR implicates a Colombian journalist at a private media outlet in paying for and manipulating information in order to smear the Venezuelan government and top officials.
Claudia Cano, a journalist with Colombia’s Canal Uno aired an interview with Edgar de Jesus Villanueva, identified as a defector from Venezuela’s Bolivarian intelligence service, or SEBIN. In the broadcast report, Villanueva signals the SEBIN director and socialist leader Diosdado Cabello as taking part in illicit activity, including drug trafficking and torture.
An audio recording, however, suggests that Villanueva’s testimony was directed by Cano and deliberately manipulated.
Diosdado Cabello has replied, calling the journalist's methods "false positives", a reference to the Colombian army's killings of innocent civilians who they then claimed were guerrillas killed in combat.
Los falsos positivos como forma de hacer política, patrañas para atacar nuestra Patria https://t.co/GqERHxHd7S— Diosdado Cabello R (@dcabellor) September 5, 2017
"These are cock-and-bull stories used to attack our country," Cabello tweeted.
In the recording, the woman purported to be Cano is heard saying, “We are gonna talk about the Director of the SEBIN and ... we are gonna talk about ... if he is part or not of the cartel, the famous "Cartel de los Soles."
“So you want to me to say that he is part of the Cartel de los Soles," responds the other party in the recording, who is said to be Villanueva.
“Yeah indeed, I need you to say that he is part of the cartel ... together with Diosdado Cabello,” Cano responds.
Also in the recording, Villanueva says he would be paid 4 million Colombian pesos.
“I will give you 2 million in a little bit when we finish recording,” Cano tells him.
teleSUR has not been able to obtain a response from Canal Uno at the time of publication, although on Twitter, Cano denied paying anyone, in response to the accusation.
The topic of Venezuela’s political and economic crisis are often top news in Latin America, especially on private media who often portray the situation in as one of an authoritarian government following a failed economic platform.
Venezuelan officials have often denounced this as a deliberate campaign to discredit the government and to foment tensions.
In April, opposition leader began calling for street demonstrations aimed at toppling the government. Over 120 people, including dozens of bystanders, were killed, until the protest violence ended following the Constituent Assembly elections on July 30.