The Bolivarian government of Venezuela has made an extraordinary deployment of its forces to rescue and protect the lives of people affected by torrential rains that have caused damages in 11 states of Venezuela. Special attention has been focused on the state of Mérida, that has suffered tremendously due to overflowing of rivers and streams, floods, and landslides.
Redi Los Andes, y Zodi Mérida reciben la visita de la Vicepresidenta de la República, Delcy Rodríguez quien pasó revista a los trabajos de protección ciudadana que se efectúan en el Mcpio Tovar producto de las fuertes precipitaciones en el área, en unión cívico-militar policial. pic.twitter.com/00SdAonPYQ
— GJ. Domingo Hernández Lárez (@dhernandezlarez) August 27, 2021
After a risk due to climatic contingencies had been detected, and once it had been notified that the government of the state of Mérida (controlled by the opposition) had not supplied the necessary equipment to attend the damaged areas nor for the urgenctly needed clearing the Tovar Electric Substation to restore electricity in the area, President Nicolás Maduro signed an emergency decree that authorized the use of resources in order to “act with the greatest resolution.”
Aquí están los héroes de CORPOELEC Mérida, trabajando arduamente para restablecer la energía eléctrica en el Valle del Mocoties, el sedimento arrastrado por las lluvias ocasionó el colapso de la subestación eléctrica del municipio Tovar. Vaya nuestro reconocimiento a ustedes! pic.twitter.com/1VilOTDU7U
— JEHYSON GUZMÁN (@JEHYSONGUZMAN) August 25, 2021
The government has not only ensured the mobilization of public institutions and security and civil protection forces to the Andean territory, but has also negotiated with non-governmental organizations and international agencies that offer food, supplies, medicines and professional teams.
Este jueves 26 de agosto, @caritasdevzla en alianza con la fundación @Paulandinos, distribuyeron más de 30.000 litros de agua y 16 toneladas de alimentos a los habitantes de Santa Cruz de Mora afectados por las lluvias. Vía @hectorcortez7 pic.twitter.com/uSaEKf9qcV
— Radio Fe y Alegría Noticias (@radiofeyalegria) August 27, 2021
— Leonardo León (@leoperiodista) August 26, 2021
While the national authorities have been hard at work in Mérida, working through a civic-military-police union, some anti-Chavista factions took the natural disaster as an opportunity to spread fake news with the intention of damaging the image of the officials of the Bolivarian National Armed Force of Venezuela (FANB).
On August 29, some media outlets and social media accounts made viral the allegations of Monsignor Luis Enrique Rojas, who, standing in a street, accused the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) of wanting to “confiscate the humanitarian aid” that the Catholic Church claimed that it was going to distribute in the Tovar municipality.
What really happened was that the clergy had refused to comply with the rules established by the authorities for the delivery of aid in the area, which was to be carried out during the allowed hours of entry (between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.), due to the fact that after this time, specifically from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, GNB authorities were scheduled to be engaged in clearing of the roads.
The anti-Chavista narrative accused GNB officials of violence and an attempt to confiscate the supplies, but the recorded video of the events shows the opposite. On September 2, President Nicolás Maduro sent a message of repudiation of the evident sabotage carried out by a group of Church representatives while the people of a state are facing a contingency that calls for the joint collaboration of all sectors of society.
President Maduro denounced that “from the Church, a group of bishops who neither help nor get out of the way are carrying out a smear campaign against our personnel. I am here to defend the FANB, and I ask for respect and support for both the people of Mérida and also the FANB. Enough of these vile, miserable aggressions. They neither help nor get out of the way. What they do is pure show!”
Featured image: An FANB team gets ready to assess areas affected by heavy rains in Mérida state. File photo.