In the border city of Cucuta, Columbia, smoke billows and flames embrace the USAID truck, allegedly carrying food and medical supplies to the millions of Venezuelans suffering illness and hunger.
Footage reveals that a homemade bomb was thrown toward the police at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge.
American corporate media claims Maduro’s soldiers set the truck ablaze. This isn’t the narrative that Abby Martin, investigative reporter and documentarian for English TelSUR believes.
In fact, according to another telSUR reporter, Madelein Garcia, it was the opposition activists who were seen hurling Molotov cocktails toward the trucks.
The trucks did not even contain medicine, but, according to New York Times reporter, Anatoly Kurmanaev, USAID made no mention of supplying medicine, but listed only basic food and personal hygiene products among the “aid.”
Martin said the truck contained barbed wire and nails, along with some “pittance of aid,” to create the “mirage” that the United States is sending help to the suffering Venezuelan people.
It’s spring in Venezuela. Plumes of smoke envelope the Caracas streets as Martin and her cameraman thread through the burning city.
Motorcycles catch fire as they roll down the off ramp and descend into belly of the oppositions’ fire.
Tall, pale and thin, her head protected by a helmet, Martin aims her ammunition toward the masked insurgents, not knowing what they will say or do, not knowing what or who they want to blow up.
“I’m called a Maduro stooge for providing a platform for the Venezuelans rendered invisible by the corporate media,” Martin told me.
The coup leader, Juan Guaido, who recently declared himself the legitimate president of Venezuela, Martin said, is a United States puppet. “It’s all about a strategy to foment uprisings and make it look as if it’s happening from within, and then the United States comes in to save the day, by helping to implement regime change,” she said.
A sheath of black smoke shrouds the Caracas streets. The city alights with flame throwers and the sky is the color of coal ash.
Martin and her cameraman follow hundreds of peaceful protesters cupping lit candles in their hands, as they hold a vigil for those killed in the protests, while others throw flames of their own.
Masked guarimbas throw flares in the streets and block the road. Fires rise through the hemorrhaged streets. Like bats guarimbas swoop down to the ground, flapping their torched wings.
Abby, with her crew film protesters maneuver three trucks to block a highway, burn tires and hurl rocks at security forces. They tell her to “only film repression against them, not their actions,” she says.
Some of the pro-opposition activists approach Martin. Journalists have been attacked by them. She’s in a stronghold in Caracas. A mob of these activists jump her and her crew.
“Who do you work for?” one of them in a mask and in black protective gear, gets in her face and asks.
“I’m media. I’m sympathetic to your cause. I will cover you positively,” she says, her heart racing, her body trembling.
The mob attack didn’t stop her. Abby and her crew push on into the night of flre and violent protests.
Behind flames, Abby stands on the road, her slender fingers wrapped around the microphone. Without flinching, she points it into a masked guramiba’s face.
“Why are you here, torching the city?”
“I cannot work for myself, because I have to work for the government, he says. “It’s a human right to have work, and have food and freedom speech,”
As thousands of protesters light up the streets with flames of anger toward Maduro’s government, Martin stands guard, ready to strike questions, and stoke answers, in the heat of the opposition’s offensive.
One hundred and sixty-five people have died in the streets during the protests of 2017.
She encounters a 21-year old guarimbero, skinny, and with rapid speech like a meth addict holds a tin grenade. He’s shirtless in the Caracas streets. Abby approaches him, points her microphone toward him.
“Why are you holding a grenade?” she asks him
“I cannot be an entrepreneur.”
“This speaks volumes about the opposition,” Martin said. “They are not worried about their families starving, or dying from lack of medical care. They are mad because they can’t own a business!”
The colectivos, who were branded by corporate media as violent thugs. wait, Martin said, and are prepared to fight back when necessary.
“The opposition are the violent ones. They set houses on fire,” said a colectivo.
Colectivos are a democratic community organization who help with social services such as food distribution centers, and are Chavistos, or pro-government Maduro supporters.
Martin weaves her way through crowds of people in red, red hats, red shirts standing in solidarity at a march for Maduro.
One Chavista, donned in red beret tells Martin, “Oligarchs, listen to this! Always, Always, Hugo Rafael Frias will be in our hearts!” (Frias is reference to Chavez)
“I found that the depiction of a widely hated government was a distortion,” Martin said. “And in the process, millions of pro-government voices are being suppressed.”
At a newsstand, Martin picks up seven major newspapers. Only four of them were anti-government.
The conflict between the Chavistas and the opposition continue, as Venezuelans die from not having insulin or dialysis available. Four million have trampled over the border in mass exodus to Columbia.
Martin reveals a sobering truth. “US government cynically uses that human crisis as the premise for more intervention,”
“The vast majority of Venezuelans opposed US government interference,” Martin said. “They want the sanctions to end!”
A pro-government woman says to America, “Hands off Venezuela!”
“What the US does now,” Martin told me, “is send offshoots of USAID all around the world to foment uprisings.”
She paused. Then said, “They make it appear like they are organic, and then the US comes to rescue when the countries are financially failing, and have these massive protests from inside.”
Dan Cohen, RT journalist and one of Martin’s colleagues said, “The US blows up the truck, makes it look like it’s Maduro’s army, and foments uprising…”
Written by Nancy Kaufman