The Venezuelan government has published a full-page ad in the New York Times this week arguing that the mass, arbitrary deportation of Colombians from its border territories was necessary for national security interests.
The ad, titled “The Truth About the Venezuela-Colombia Border Situation,” argues that a “fifty-year” struggle between the Colombian government and paramilitary groups has created a dangerous situation for Venezuelans living close to the border, and that black-market trade has become a full industry the Venezuelan government is determined to shut down.
— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) September 9, 2015
“Colombia has been devastated for more than 50 years by a civil conflict that has caused security problems for Venezuela,” the article reads. “Venezuela has seen itself forced to take extraordinary constitutional measures in closing part of its border with the aim of protecting its citizens.”
In addition to blaming “paramilitaries” for the border crisis– all while not addressing the socialist Venezuelan government’s alleged ties to Marxist terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)– the ad argues that Colombia has participated in economic measures “which seek to diminish the value of the Venezuelan bolívar.” The ad alleges that one can make a 40% profit converting 100 bolívars into Colombian pesos. Much like the Venezuelan government’s disregard for its role in sustaining leftist terror groups, the ad fails to mention the failure of President Nicolás Maduro’s government to create a free and stable market, in large part due to heavy price controls and socialist rations that have ravaged the economy.
Venezuela has deported nearly 2,000 people in the past month and forced the displacement of more than 20,000 Colombian citizens. The deportations have been so violent that more than 18,000 Colombian nationals living in Venezuela chose to flee rather than risk the possibility of being deported. Reports of the sexual assault of men, women, and children have surfaced, and Venezuelan soldiers are ordered to mark the homes formerly belonging to Colombians with a “D” for “destroy,” a tactic Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called a “Nazi ghetto tactic.”
The Venezuelan government did not address this violence in the New York Times.
The Times itself has been extremely critical of this deportation action, with the editorial board publishing an article in which it called the entire crisis “phony” and “manufactured by an increasingly unpopular president who is desperate to shore up support for his party ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for December.” The government of Venezuelan responded to the editorial by calling it “grotesque” and claiming it was written to defend former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and “the Colombian oligarchy, a historic enemy of Venezuela.”
Venezuela has turned to the New York Times in the past for ads like these. In March, Venezuela published a full-page ad in the Times condemning President Barack Obama’s decision to issue an executive order in which he declared the nation a “national security threat” to the United States. “Never before in the history of our nations has a president of the United States attempted to govern Venezuelans by decree,” the ad read, “It is a tyrannical and imperial order and it pushes us back into the darkest days of [our] relationship.”