They are not tactical errors, false steps or mere clumsiness: the flurry of false news from Reuters regarding the oil issue between Venezuela and Russia fits perfectly in the framework of the most frontal escalation of global corporations against Venezuela.
This is the continuation of a media strategy that seeks, through friction, to achieve an attrition in Russian-Venezuelan relations and in the public perception of the support that the Eurasian giant has offered to the Bolivarian Republic.
What is certain is that on January 28, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against PDVSA that implied the freezing of 7 billion dollars and the blocking of all payments made by US companies that buy Venezuelan oil.
COLD WAR AGAINST PDVSA
On February 5, the agency in question alluded in a news item to the statements made by Rosneft, the Russian oil and gas company with the highest production. Titled “Rosneft is optimistic about Venezuela and sees an increase in oil production in 2019,” the item frames Rosneft’s remarks “in the midst of a power struggle between the National Assembly and pro-Moscow President Nicolás Maduro”,
The news, which referred to a presentation by Rosneft on its website, added that the company expects its production of crude oil and gas condensate to grow between 3 and 4.5 percent this year, depending on the implementation of a global oil production agreement in the first half of the year.
The same item reported that the principal amount of the debt of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA with Rosneft constituted some 2,300 million dollars at the end of the fourth quarter, which represented a reduction compared to 3,100 million dollars at the end of the previous three months.
One way to deepen the campaign against Venezuela has been to add it to the Cold War speech against Russia, even though PDVSA has partnered with companies such as Spain’s Repsol, US Chevron, Italy’s ENI, India’s ONGC and China’s CNPC, among others . Any of these companies could comment regarding the figures of the state oil company without there being any type of journalistic notoriety beyond the fact in the framework of the recovery of oil prices.
But above all: Reuters also uses a strategy of financial intelligence to pursue, and “reveal”, the different ways in which the state oil company navigates sanctions with the collaboration of “topos” (whistleblowers) located in the internal structure of the company. In the same way it does with the liquid sources of money made by the State, avoiding sanctions, as in the case of gold, whose route was recently “investigated” by the agency with the same purpose of functioning as a journalistic policeman of the United States.
EXCLUSIVA-Venezuela venderá 15 toneladas de oro a Emiratos Árabes a cambio de euros en efectivo: fuente | Article [AMP] [LTA] | Reuters https://t.co/2u4Q3lVzgm
— Camilo Egaña (@camilocnn) February 1, 2019
SANCTIONS TO STOP THE COLLAPSE?
Days later, on February 9, Corina Pons and Marianna Párraga (located in Mexico City and Caracas, respectively) reported at the same time on how President Nicolás Maduro “has supervised an economic collapse (…) that has left many Venezuelans malnourished and struggling to find medicines, causing the exodus of some 3 million Venezuelans, “and how the United States gave US oil companies working in Venezuela (Chevron, Halliburton Co, Baker Hughes of General Electric Co and Schlumberger NV) a deadline to stop all operations in the country. Nowhere in the report is there any connection between the so-called “economic collapse” and the sanctions against oil and financial activities, in general, of Venezuela. The central theme in that item was to note that, “according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters,” PDVSA was telling the clients of their joint ventures to deposit the proceeds of oil sales in a recently opened account at Banco Gazprombank. From Russia. However, that information was denied the following day by the same Russian entity that stated that the Venezuelan state oil company had opened accounts at the bank several years ago but none recently.
MORE FROZEN TRUTHS OF THE ACCOUNT
In its most recent fake news, Reuters reported that “one source” said that Gazprombank had decided to freeze PDVSA’s accounts and stopped the transactions to reduce the risk of the bank falling under US sanctions. The story described as “significant” the fact that a lender closely aligned with the Russian state was following suit because the Kremlin has been among the staunchest supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. According to Reuters, it was a letter dated February 8 signed by PDVSA’s Vice President of Finance, Fernando de Quintal, which indicated that the joint ventures where the Venezuelan oil company operates in the Orinoco Belt, in partnership with foreign companies such as the American Chevron, the French Total and the Norwegian Equinor, had to notify their customers that they would pay in dollars or euros to that bank account. The foreign partners had to formally confirm to PDVSA that they would continue in the oil projects, following the financial sanctions imposed by Washington against PDVSA. Add the fact that Russian companies are in a quandary, caught between the desire to support the Kremlin line and support Maduro, and the fear that doing so could expose themselves to secondary sanctions by the United States that would harm their business. As usual, characters linked to journalism echoed this new lie.
El banco ruso Gazprombank congela las cuentas de la venezolana PDVSA https://t.co/qcVk7plaNS
— Luz Mely Reyes (@LuzMelyReyes) February 17, 2019
On the same day, the news was denied by PDVSA and official spokesmen pointed out that this was another attempt at manipulation by infomercenary sectors of anti-Chavismo.
Some of these media executives such as Luz Mely Reyes, recently awarded for her “journalistic work” in the United States, have tried other media devices such as the government’s accusation of kidnapping children last January, or about boxes with ballots from the presidential election of 2013 in a CDI, which triggered a violent wave of antichavismo riots whose balance was 11 murders and 78 injured.
DECAY OF THE ATTEMPT TO FRACTURE THE RUSSIA-IRAN ALLIANCE
The strategy of falsifying information seeking to damage international relations was already used by Reuters in 2018 against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The campaign began when Israeli experts from the cybersecurity companies FireEye and ClearSky accused Iran of having been spreading false news and propaganda on the Internet for several years through at least 70 apparently normal websites against 15 countries, including Israel, United, the United Kingdom, the nations of the Middle East and even Russia.
The information claimed that more than half a million people per month visited Iran’s fake media and were supported by more than 1 million social media users, although the authors of the report did not publish a full list of alleged “propaganda sites”.
Reuters claimed that the NileNetOnline.com media was part of the Iranian propaganda machine and had more than 115,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but according to Alexa (a website traffic classification service), this project takes the 4,674,732th place in the world, which indicates almost zero traffic on the site NileNetOnline .
They also said that Iran created a website called Realnie Novosti, or “Real News”, to promote its propaganda among Russian-speaking readers but Realnienovosti.com was only seen by 2,200 people per month and Alexa classified this site 4,478,657th in the world.
Mohammad Ghaderi, editor-in-chief of the Tehran Times in Iran, said Reuters published false material paid for by a third party. “We have documents showing that Reuters receives money from Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia for these false publications.” This is part of the information war unleashed by Netanyahu and the gang Mike Pompeo and John Bolton to tarnish Iran’s image and accuse it of all possible sins, therefore, the distributor of ‘false news’ is not Iran, [Reuters] is, “Ghaderi said.
He widened his accusations against the agency stating that “this entire report on exposing propaganda is false and a lie behind which are the Zionist lobby, the United States, and Saudi Arabia.”
He said the goal was to open a gap between Russia and Iran and that “the fabrication of facts [used by Reuters] is bound to make Iran and Russia confront each other or at least harm their relationship, since Trump is not satisfied with the strategic alliance between Russia and Iran, the second objective is to create a false impression about Iran and use this to justify more sanctions or even some kind of military action. ”
Representatives of the main Iranian media reported that “Reuters has gone crazy to publish such falsifications without evidence, trying to join Bolton and Pompeo in the information war aimed at denigrating the image of Iran and trying to start a fight with Russia, its strategic friend and at the same time an ardent opponent of the United States in the international arena. ”
QUESTIONS AT CLOSING
It is worth asking why Reuters repeats a strategy against Venezuela which failed against Iran, however its intentions to play into the psychological exhaustion of the Venezuelan population and public opinion are clear. For the interests behind Reuters, it is more profitable to lie than to rectify.
The isolation of Venezuela and the unreliable narrative are essential for its closer supports to fall, one of which is that of Russia. It is also worth asking what are the next steps in this continuous aggression of the true leadership of anti-Chavism now that there is no doubt about its role in the current Venezuelan political dispute.
Feature Image: Reuters’ main income comes from the sale of financial information in competition with Bloomberg and other giants of the medium. (Photo: Reuters)
Translated by JRE/EF