Nearly 150 people have joined a protest in Toronto, Canada in front of the offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s national public radio and television broadcaster, demanding that “CBC tell the truth about Venezuela.”
The rally was organized by a broad coalition of groups “frustrated and angry with the coverage around Venezuela” by the outlet, Raul Burbano, an activist from Common Frontiers, told teleSUR.
“CBC is a publicly-funded institution that’s not meeting journalistic standards and norms with its one-sided coverage,” he said.
Burbano said CBC provides the opposition with unprecedented coverage, presenting their narrative as "defacto truth", an opposition that has "undertaken violence, and is responsible for many deaths and the destruction of public property" all while “seeking to overthrow the democratically-elected” president.
Marta Paloma, from the city’s chapter of the Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front, who spoke at the rally, agreed, telling teleSUR that Canadian media coverage of the situation is “very one-sided.”
Paloma said that when Lilian Tintori — the wife of the Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez — visited Canada to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, media outlets had fawning coverage of her.
“(We want to) raise our voice against acts of aggression against Venezuela,” Paloma said, explaining why she spoke at the rally. “(Including) against the sanctions by the U.S. that strike at the heart of Venezuela’s economy.”
In 2014, Leoplodo Lopez was convicted and charged with plotting and promoting the violent street blockades, also known as “guarimbas”, in Venezuela. The widespread violence led to the death of 43 people
For Juan Restrepo, a member of the city’s Venezuela Solidarity Committee, as well as the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, confronting CBC was important “as a Latin American” and to “defend the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela”, in the wake of the images CBC and other mass media publish on the issue.
Because CBC has no correspondent in Venezuela, he explained, their coverage of Venezuela is “totally biased”, Restrepo told teleSUR.
The organizer added that despite division among left-wing groups in the city, solidarity with Venezuela has brought several together.
The rally, one of many held in support of Venezuela in the city over recent months, was endorsed by groups ranging from the Communist Party of Canada (CPC), to the ALBA Movements Canada.
For CPC member Jay Watts, who is also a member of Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, a group that also endorsed the rally, CBC’s use of airtime for the opposition groups probes the question, “Where are the Chavistas, which represent the largest political force in Venezuela?.”
“I think this represents a pattern of CBC aligning itself with the imperialistic foreign policy of the Canadian government. We’ve seen similarly with Libya and Syria, two other countries targeted by US imperialism where the CBC has failed to meet even the most basic of journalistic standards when covering a conflict,” he told teleSUR in a statement.
Indeed, the country’s media coverage of the issue mirrors the perspective of the Canadian government.
Ottawa has favored proposals for intervention at the Organization of American States, the body long slammed by Venezuela as an organ of “imperialist interests.”
Trudeau, shortly after having met with Tintori in May, called on the Venezuelan government to “restore the constitutional order, including the release of all political prisoners and to set an electoral calendar without delay.”
He also stressed the need to “respect democracy and human rights,” including through Canada-sponsored OAS resolutions.
“It’s a bit before my time but we saw in Chile in 1973 that people in Canada pushing the media and government worked. It meant some Chileans were able to take refuge in Canada from the tremendous fascist coup and horrible mass murder that followed, orchestrated by Canada's ‘ally’ to the south, the United States,” Watts added.
Following the new sanctions announced by the U.S. President Donald Trump against Venezuela last week, the nation's supporters in Canada are planning to organize more events.