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Venezuela: how photos get manipulated


This article provides graphic evidence of how some postings on social and other media have reproduced images culled from elsewhere and portrayed them as depicting events in Venezuela. Of course they do not prove that all images of violence in Venezuela are false, and the merry-go-round of image circulation in social media may mean that those tweeters whose names appear are not necessarily those who knew them to be false. LAB has translated this article from a posting on Rebelió The original, in Spanish, can be viewed here. Dozens of images are circulating at this moment on social networks and in the media in different countries, as a way of alleging that there is a ‘cruel repression’ by the security forces of Venezuela against opposition demonstrations. Alba Ciudad has compiled some of these images in order to challenge this campaign of lies against Venezuela.   Above left: an opposition tweet shows a supposedly Venezuelan student beaten by ‘”fascist assassins” of the PSUV. Right: the phone in fact shows Unai Romano, a young man detained, beaten and tortured in 2005 by the Spanish police.   Above left: Opposition twitter-user Daniela Frias posts a photo of a supposedly Venezuelan student on the point of tears, trying to hug a policeman. “You and I are both Venezuelans, friend,” says the text of the tweet. Right: the image in fact comes from events which occurred in Bulgaria in 2013.   Above left:opposition tweeters show the image of a supposedly Venezuelan student being grabbed by the neck and dragged along by national guards. Right: the photo in fact shows repression of students in Chile in October 2011.   Above left: a tweet assures us that they formed a vast human chain against Maduro in Táchira, hand-in-hand and wearing yellow t-shirts, symbol of the right-wing party Primero Justicia. Right: the photo is in fact of a human chain formed in September 2013 in Cataluña, Spain, to demand independence for the region.     Above left: Last Sunday afternoon, the actress Amanda Gutiérrez tweeted this photo of a man allegedly being obliged to perform oral sex with two policemen, the victim apparently being a student who had been taken prisoner, tortured and raped by Venezuelan officers. Right: In fact the image comes from a page on a use-based adult website. The photograph tweeted by Gutiérrez had been cropped, because the ‘police’ (in fact porn actors in costume) were wearing uniform with the word ‘Police’ on it. The actress apologised and deleted the tweet, stating “I went over the top on this. I was so indignant when I saw what student prisoners appeared to being put through.”   Above: The front page of the Argentine newspaper Clarín for February 13 2014 carried the image of a man with a rifle, apparently one of the “armed chavistas, yesterday, in Caracas (…) paramilitary groups, according to witnesses, opened fire on the crowd.”  They gave the impression that these persons carried out the killings that occurred the previous day. The truth is that the person shown in the photograph is an officer of the CICPC (scientific police of Venezuela) protecting himself when 5 vehicles of this police unit were set on fire by violent opponents, a few yards from the entrance to their office in Parque Carabobo (Caracas). Other newsepapers and websites such as Infobae and El Mundo, Spain, carried similar distortions, omitting the original caption of this photo from EFE: “members of the CIPC walk in front of a vehicle set on fire during a march called by the opposition in Caracas, Venezuela.”    Above left:Opposition member Esteban Gerbasi tweeted this image of a student being fired on with shot gun pellets at very short range. “Dictatorship! Just one example…”, he wrote. Right: In fact the image is taken of demonstrations in Río de Janeiro in June 2013  (see Photo No.10, here), and was passed off as an image of dictatorship in Venezuela.   Above left: Numerous tweets showed this photograph of security forces kicking a dog, with the caption: “The National Guard doesn’t even spare dogs. Could it be that the dog is a nazi fascist?” Right: Members of the Misión Nevado pointed out that the photo is of  the Greek dog Loukanikos, which accompanied anticapitalist demonstrations there, not a dog being illt-treated by the Bolivarian National Guard in Venezuela.   Left: A tweet assures us that this is a child injured in the Táchira area by Bolivarian thugs. Right: the image shows a child crying while he receives treatment, and the location is  in fact Syria, a country mired in a bitter civil war.   Above left: After appearing on February 16 with President Maduro, metro worker José Navarro, who had been beaten up by demonstrators on Friday, was accused by the writer Leonardo Padrón and by numerous tweets of taking part in a charade, wearing his surgical collar the wrong way round. Right: Photos supplied via Esteban Trapiello demonstrate that this is incorrect: surgical collars can be worn this way round.   Above left: Journalist Ludmila Vinogradoff, on the web-page of the Spanish newspaper ABC, tweeted photos of a woman with her chest exposed, being dragged by police, claiming that this was happening in Venezuela. Right: These events in fact took place in Egypt in 2011.Sra. Vinogradoff deleted the article,and in another piece admitted her mistake. This was published in 2013, but continues to be retweeted regularly.

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