Zakharova: Russia Didn’t Force Maduro to Stay and Fight, Fake Western News Not to Be Believed!
We're continuing the discussion of this week's critical topics. Another coup attempt took place in Venezuela yesterday. It failed. No matter how much some of the country's neighbors, such as Colombia and its bosses in the U.S., the security agencies didn't go over to the rebels' side. Today, we see the following statements in the press again: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Washington could initiate a military operation in Venezuela if necessary.
Spokeswoman for the Russian MFA, Maria Zakharova, is now live with us from the USA.
— Hello, Mrs. Zakharova. Of course, we want to ask you at once what you think about the wording «if necessary», especially if we remember Iraq and those necessities that the U.S. quite easily makes up for itself.
Maria Zakharova, Spokeswoman for the MFA: Good afternoon or evening. It's morning in New York now.
And I'd like to correct you, I'm not quite in the USA. I'm on the territory of the UN headquarters. What's most ironic and tragicomic is that we held a special event in honor of May 3rd — World Press Freedom Day.
We discussed how to combat fake news. The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN spoke there. High-ranking representatives of the UNESCO, diplomats, journalists, and political analysts spoke there. Just a couple of hours after serious people, experienced experts, spoke and exchanged opinions about how to solve this problem, breaking news with a reference to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo appeared. It's a direct quote from social media. It was said that President Maduro was going to leave Venezuela, flee, fly, and so on.
There were lots of calls. I learned about it when I was taking part in a live program of one of the TV channels where we discussed that problem among other things. I got calls from the American press as well. Of course, I said that it looks like a continuation of the disinformation campaign that Washington is carrying out with respect to Venezuela. It looks like a part of the plan, you know, to demoralize the Venezuelan army as well. We remember that during one month or two, US representatives directly addressed via social media, the internet, made relevant statements to the servicemen of the Venezuelan army and called upon them to desert, leave their posts, and promised to pay for that. There was another information attack of such level to show the Venezuelan people that they should change their preferences, give up their positions, and come to the side of good, as our American partners are constantly trying to convince us.
It was so unbelievable to see an official assessment by a high-ranking representative of the U.S. administration containing such blatant fake news that honestly, I didn't believe it first. We checked again. Mr. Pompeo did say it. This quote really exists. But of course, this is a classic example of disinformation. You know, I'd like to say that I feel déjà vu because I remembered that in 2012, and it didn't happen once, by that way, there was an entire campaign of similar fake news which was spread by our colleagues from Washington again, and the U.S. State Department was behind it. But it was done with respect to Syria instead of Venezuela. Today, I did that job and found it. By the way, it isn't that hard. I found the materials about it. Here they are. In June of 2012, the German central channel Das Erste told about it. It wrote that Assad can and will seek asylum abroad, in Russia. I looked through other materials. It turns out that Al Jazeera wrote about it a lot. In particular, it said that Moscow already allegedly granted political asylum to Assad and his family. What's most interesting, I even found quotes by Hillary Clinton from 2012. She said that Assad should leave and he can be granted asylum in Russia, for example.
So, the story fully repeats itself in this sense. And Mr. Pompeo didn't invent anything new. He just took old templates. But I also found the reaction by the Russian MFA as well. In particular, at one of the press conferences, I can even say when it happened. On December 22nd, 2012, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov answered questions from the mass media following the EU-Russia summit in Brussels. It was published on December 22nd. He answered the questions on December 21st. One of the questions was formulated as follows. A journalist asked, «Now, granting political asylum in Russia to Assad is being actively discussed. How can you comment on it?» So, it was an entire campaign to create media coverage in Syria and show that the leader, president, legitimate authority is abandoning its people and show those people who trusted, who entrusted their votes to the legitimate president that they were lied to and betrayed.
The same is now happening to Venezuela.
— Yes, we also see that and try to analyze with the help of experts. The words «come to the side of good» said by American politicians that you quoted sounds very unusual. But we have a Russian proverb about it. «Enough is as good as a feast.» Still, the U.S. is now undertaking steps perceived as soft power by them, that it, it acts through some opposition formed by them. But take the statement which Mike Pompeo sometimes makes about possible military intervention in case of necessity. Let's talk about that necessity. We all remember that it's very easy to make up a necessity. But they have to apologize for it afterward. But it happens too late, when people are killed, the regimes which were completely innocent of it are overthrown. How do think how much it's possible that the United States can go for such a scheme, bypassing all of the UN resolutions?
— You see, I don't agree with you that it's an act of soft power, or smart power, as they also call it. Of course, it's neither soft nor smart because it doesn't lead to those results that the United States of America declares. I'd like to remind you that Washington stated that the sole incentive for them to get involved in the Venezuelan issue is the well-being and improvement of the living standards of the Venezuelan people. But we see the life of the Venezuelan people deteriorating thanks and due to the actions by the United States of America as well. Therefore, it isn't soft power at all. Soft power is a different thing. Soft power is when seminars, symposia are held, culture, science, technology are used to make people defend their own interests. This is soft power. And that's aggressive rhetorics, direct intimidation, blackmailing, and threats. And in recent months, it's direct calls to the Venezuelan people and the desire to spread panic, terror, a sense of colossal anxiety and betrayal, I reiterate it, in order to demoralize the Venezuelans. When the events in the UN headquarters end, I do talk with Americans, such as political analysts, journalists, public figures, and they tell me that the Venezuelans living in the USA, and there's a lot of them, and they work here, not just live here, they perceive that news with concern. It's also aimed at them, the Venezuelans living in the United States of America. They need to constantly give new theses for them to perceive the concept suggested by the White House concerning a regime change. They need arguments for it. They made up a great argument that President Maduro is about to leave, leaving, or tried to leave the country, and someone or something prevented him from doing so. But I think that President Maduro responded to that himself. Frankly speaking, many democratic forces or representatives of the USA's Democratic Party would envy his wording. He formulated his thesis in a very succinct way.
— Mrs. Zakharova, we'll keep closely following all of the processes that are now taking place in Venezuela and around it, especially those close to it. Thank you for answering our question.
This was the spokeswoman for the Russian MFA, Maria Zakharova, live with us.