The New York Times ran an advertisement on Wednesday paid for by Venezuela’s socialist regime on behalf of the Venezuelan people, claiming President Donald Trump seeks to “manufacture a political crisis” in the country.
The ad — titled an “Open Letter from the People of Venezuela to the People and Government of the USA” — is primarily a response to Trump’s recent threat of military intervention as well as sanctions imposed on leader Nicolas Maduro and the government as a whole.
The letter claims that the United States might “be on the verge of an unfair and baseless military intervention,” while Trump’s sanctions will affect their “economy and means to obtain resources for food, healthcare, and production.”
According to Venezuelan outlet Runrunes, the government paid $200,000 for the ad. The regime is also known to sustain itself through drug trafficking and money laundering.
— Ernesto Villegas P. (@VillegasPoljak) September 6, 2017
A recent report by the United Nations found that the regime had committed “extensive” and widespread repression of rights across Venezuela amid a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis that has left millions starving and thousands dead.
“OHCHR’s findings detailed in this report point to an increasingly critical human rights situation since the protests began, with mounting levels of repression of political dissent by national security forces, and increasing stigmatization and persecution of people perceived as opposing the Government of President Maduro,” the report stated.
Mass protests against the regime have been ongoing since April this year, leading to the deaths of at least 124 individuals, as security services use weapons such as tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets against protesters. Meanwhile, the report also found extensive use of torture against political prisoners.
This week, Maduro also declined an invitation to speak at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, a forum where he has previously decried the “ongoing harassment of the imperialist powers of the United States.”
Most recently, the Maduro regime has pushed forth with the creation of an illegal lawmaking body, known as the “national constituents assembly,” filled exclusively with pro-government stooges, effectively rendering the country a dictatorship.
Amid skyrocketing inflation, and despite three minimum wage hikes over the course of 2017, Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage is now the equivalent of under $6 a month, meaning people can go longer afford everything from food and medicine to basic sanitary products.
It is not the first time that The New York Times has published ads from the Venezuelan regime. In February, the paper published a full-page open letter by Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, condemning the U.S. Department of the Treasury for sanctioning him as an official “Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker” for his ties to drug organizations.
Meanwhile, in 2015, the Venezuelan government published another full-page ad arguing that the mass, arbitrary deportation of Colombians from its border territories was necessary for national security interests.
— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) September 9, 2015
In a statement provided to Breitbart News, The New York Times spokeswoman confirmed that the advertisement fell in line with their advertising policy:
We believe that the broad principles of freedom of the press confer on us an obligation to keep our advertising columns open to all points of view. Therefore, The New York Times accepts advertisements in which groups or individuals comment on public or controversial issues. We make no judgments on an advertiser’s arguments, factual assertions or conclusions. We accept advocacy/opinion advertisements regardless of our editorial position on any given subject.
However, they did not address the allegations of human rights abuses or the source of the money used to pay for the advertisement.