Bill Bonnar, National Secretary of the Scottish Socialist Party, who has just returned from a visit to Venezuela, expressed his view on the misrepresentation of Nicolas Maduro’s government on the world stage and what life is really like in Caracas.
Sputnik: Has the political situation in Venezuela and Caracas in particular been overblown in the mainstream media?
Bill Bonnar: The first reaction was that I went there expecting the city to be convulsed in a political crisis and conflict, I read all sorts of reports about battles in the streets etc, the army marauding through the city, that type of thing, but what surprised me straight away was how normal and crisis free the city was, It was just like any other big city going about its business.
I saw a lot of support for the government at all sorts of levels. In Caracas itself the opposition seemed to be absolutely non-existent, there was no sign of them and they were quite invisible, and also people’s view of the opposition within Caracas itself was quite disparaging, everybody I spoke to regarded Guaido as a figure of fun basically.
I had a meeting with somebody from the ministry of foreign affairs, and I was quoting some of the things from the western mainstream media and he kind of laughed at this and said that they are very well aware of it.
He said that what you’ve got to understand is that the opposition, who aren’t based in Caracas; have a virtual industry of just supplying anti-government propaganda, and it goes from there via the United States and then it’s distributed worldwide.
What you’re getting is essentially the opposition’s view of Caracas and it’s taken as fact, but actually what he said to me is to go around Caracas, speak to people, go with guides, go on your own and you’ll find that it’s a very different reality from that which is presented in the media, and I did that for a week and I have to say that it was absolutely right.
Sputnik: Does the British government shadow US foreign policy regarding Venezuela to too great an extent?
Bill Bonnar: The Venezuelan government has one point two billion pounds in gold reserves in the Bank of England, which it tried to claim back and it’s been illegally seized by the British government, and it wants the money back basically because it needs that capital.
Britain is already fully behind the United States, and it simply parrots an American line basically, most of which is highly inaccurate.
Sputnik: Do you think the EU’s policy towards Venezuela differs than that of the UK?
Bill Bonnar: I think there is a different line from the EU; it maybe pays lip service to some of the American foreign policy, but they actually have relationships with the Venezuelan government, there’s clearly all sorts of contact taking place between the EU and the Venezuelan government, and the Venezuelan government themselves seem to want to build up relationships with the EU, because the EU government think that the American government’s line in Venezuela is a piece of nonsense, and would rather trade with it.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.