Video: Sky’s Venezuela expert didn’t toe line – so they got another

A huge pro-Maduro protest in Caracas yesterday

Sky’s coverage of events in Venezuela has been poor and skewed – but it has been better than that of the BBC. At least Sky has given some coverage to the huge pro-Maduro protests.

But it has still shaped its narrative around the idea that ‘Venezuela is ready for change’ – even though, while both opposition and pro-government protests have been huge, those in support of Maduro have been far larger – and voice-overs on its coverage have gushed about the meaning of opposition marches while skipping over the significance of Maduro’s popular support.

But when Sky News invited a Venezuela expert to talk about events and political realities in the country yesterday, Dr Peter Watt consistently gave a very inconvenient depiction of the situation in Venezuela and its causes.

Watt pointed out the robustness of the Venezuelan presidential election, the disastrous impact of a string of US interventions in South America and dismissing ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido as someone that 80% of Venezuelans had never heard of until last week – as well as noting Trump’s appointment of an actual war criminal with a track record of attacking South American democracies to oversee the process. The consternation of the interviewer was evident.

So when covering the same events this morning, Sky News rolled out a different expert – one whose responses were much more ‘on message’:

The Sunday guest claimed that 80% of Venezuelans oppose Nicolas Maduro and his government – even though Sky News, unlike the BBC, has been showing footage of the far larger pro-Maduro protests, albeit without the gushing commentary.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

There is without question an Establishment narrative on Venezuela we’re expected to accept. Things do not always work out – and the facts are ‘inconvenient’.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. QT Fiona Bruce showed her ignorance of the facts surrounding the conflict in Venezuela, she knew nothing, but Burgen’s response to the hysterical anti-socialist rant from other panel members was ‘patchy’ at best. Not taking lectures from a Tory who supports Saudi Royalty, Article 233 Venezuelan Constitution does not give Trump the right to appoint a representative of an extreme right wing political party with a history of violence & assassinations to be President of an oil rich country. There is enough political ammunition around to debunk this MSM attack on an independent democracy, Burgen should do his homework, he knew what was coming.

    1. Yep, and Labour’s Barry Gardiner was very defensive and poor on Venezuela on the dreadful Andrew Marr show this morning too. Only confronting the lies, as the excellent Sheffield University academic did, will adequately counter the universal mass media US-sourced bogus narrative. Barry was too busy apologising for the Maduro governments shortcomings – whilst saying NOTHING about the 20 years of economic sabotage and violent destabilisation by the Venezuelan capitalist class internally and the US externally.

      1. Sadly a lot of MPs fail to grasp that this is a global threat and the US is the world crusader doing it. Only when we confront them will people understand where Neo-Liberalism came from and its ultimate objective. Lets stop pretending the USA under these right wing fascists is our friend. I know from the 1970s working in a small company importing American industrial engines, just what American corporations think of our friendship, we had a call from the RAF that a bomb loader needed a replacement starter motor, having sent the
        replacement which superseded the original one the RAF found it did not fit. I then enquired to my opposite number in the US as to why this was, and was the replacement correct, which took six months to get an answer, saying yes it was – which I duly relayed back to the RAF, they then told me that indeed it did not fit. So after twelve months of the RAF chasing me to get an answer, the RAF told me there was only one more bomb loader available to serve in NATO forces, that I relayed this to
        my opposite number on the phone, whereby I heard three clicks on the phone and I was immediately speaking directly to president of the company who was clear listening in to the conversation. Thereafter I received all the drawings needed to modify the cowlings on the engine within four days of the telephone conversation, which I sent to the RAF and rectified their problem. The moral of the story being, when I stated it was for our RAF, they were not in the slightest bit interested, as soon as I mentioned NATO they sprang into action. I know this is purely anecdotal but left me with a clear impression of just how important our special relationship is with the US.

      2. “Barry was too busy apologising for the Maduro governments shortcomings – whilst saying NOTHING about the 20 years of economic sabotage and violent destabilisation by the Venezuelan capitalist class internally and the US externally.

        This is an aspect of the British ‘left’ that really gets me riled. Apologism and arguments that ‘they just didn’t do it right’ (aka ‘our’ pristine and better ways) when a country/movement has been under sustained attack from internal elites in collusion with external powerful, largely western based or influenced/controlled, financial, Corporate, ideological, ‘security’ and military entities does nothing to support the struggle for more equality and improved social conditions of millions in countries trying to find their way to better lives ‘for the many’.
        For a start, how is ‘our’ struggle going, were and are mistakes being made? Those in glass houses springs to mind, it’s so easy to sit in ideological judgement from a position of relative comfort and security isn’t it? British exceptionalism is alive and well even in ‘left’ ranks. The thought of a still diverse human world living under one kind of strict ideology gives me cold shivers whether it be Capitalist or Socialist.
        Our main job, as I see it, is to raise awareness and bring our own political, banking, economic and media systems to heel and that will be the biggest help to those abroad suffering under the boot of western/allied financial, economic and military hegemony.

        In all the furore the achievements of Chavismo for millions of Venezuelans previously in abject poverty and voiceless, under constant sabotage, have been forgotten.

    2. Steve

      “QT Fiona Bruce showed her ignorance of the facts surrounding the conflict in Venezuela, she knew nothing”

      Indeed, she didn’t even know that Venezuela has the world’s biggest oil reserves, which someone in her position really should not be surprised by.

      Then again, she can’t even tell the difference between the roles of QT Moderator and Participant.

      Silly cow!

  2. Trump has decided we don’t need elections anymore, he has the sole right to impose his stooges into governments around the world.

    And we think the Russians are the greatest danger in the world, of course if ask how many wars Russia has been involved – you can count them on the fingers of one hand, conversely when we look at the USA they amount to over 152 since the 2nd world war, and climbing.

    Who do we think is the real threat to world peace?

    1. Yes. The hypocrisy is astronomical.

      The United States has been pointing the finger at Russia and shouting: “look what you did to our elections!”.

      Months later the US sees no irony in trying to illegally overthrow Venezuela when Venezuela has proven to observers (Forbes) that it has a virtually rig proof election system.

  3. I had no idea there was a pro government demo! We can rely on Jeremy Corbyn to oppose a US intervention – whereas the Tories support it with gusto and presumably plan military assistance to the Pretender if Trump persuades Brazil to invade (an increasingly big if)? Some say Trump is giving ‘The Resisters’ in the Pentagon and CIA enough rope to hang thenselves – wishful thinking maybe? The Observer today is very excited by the possible ‘break up’ of the Labour Party. Apparently six MP’s might leave and form a Centre Party. They are of course serial Labour Haters and it would be good if they chucked in the towel and stopped bothering nice people. It would save their local parties the trouble of de-selecting them. The Observer sagely points out that one of their complaints is that Labour isn’t getting right behind the Venezuelan Pretender, Trump and Bolsonaro over Venezuela. It makes a mockery of Berger’s constant complaints that Corbyn is a dyed in the wool Fascist Anti Semite racist; presumably Bolsonaro is just a cuddly old torturer really? It’s interesting the other group opposing Labour (aka Conservative Party) and their pals in the media haven’t used Corbyn’s support for Maduro against Him, apart from a few knee jerk reactions. They’re nervous because they must know many in the UK don’t like Bolsonaro or Trump and another American inspired Regime Change is not being exactly cheered to the rafters. Even Bolsonaro suddenly isn’t so keen – which leaves Trump on his own. He’ll probably end up denying he ever said it and Maduro is really his next best friend to Kim.

    1. What’s worrying is the American Left falling – hook line and sinker – for the sophisticated con trick that is Tulsi Gabbard.

      Tulsi Gabbard is just another photogenic neocon trojan horse who is busy cynically seducing a disenfranchised electorate with words they want to hear.

      I suspect the Democrats want to replace Ocasio-Cortez with Tulsi Gabbard to protect neoliberalism.

  4. Yes and the Right Wing US Geobells propaganda continues (telling a big lie) and gets to being farcical – so they get a puppet to say he is President (after taking him to the US in December to train him) then get their poodle Govts around the World to jump to their tune and now declare they are giving this puppet international aid (despite some right wing protesters destroying some food warehouses) do they think the whole World is stupid!
    Support democratic socialist Venezeula!

  5. I hope those in a radical labour govt would be prepared for similar destablisations in the UK. The wealthy elites will not relinquish power without a fight!

  6. BBC this morning announced that pro- and anti-government protests were happening and showed a short clip of a massive pro-Maduro crowd without attributing it to the pro camp and without showing the far smaller opposition crowd – leaving it open to a right wing audience to pretend it was anti-Maduro.
    Compared to the BBC coverage, with nothing but newsreader commentary that I saw, I thought Sky’s coverage was relatively impartial.
    In fact I was amazed how long Peter Watts was given to speak the truth and how little he was interrupted.

  7. The Sky interviewer seemed totally thrown by the counter-narrative facts and real analysis he was getting to his all-too-predictable softball questions , expecting the US approved narrative to come back as usual. And he was, as always, being just an overpaid propaganda stooge, completely unequipped to counter the facts the academic was explaining. Sky won’t invite analysis from that academic again !

    1. Good piece Rob but perhaps Left Wing Economists as well as calling quite rightly for sanctions to be lifted could suggest what the socialists in Venezeula can do now?
      I know there are demands on the Bank of England to release £1.5b of their money it holds it (t is illegally refusing to release) to be released – there is a protest outside this institution in London this week but perhaps one in by our US brothers and sisters in Texas too?
      One socialist suggested they tax and take more from the wealthy families in Venezuela who own 80% or so of the wealth?
      Could we lobby OPEC (in their battle to lower the price of oil per barrel with US Fracking) to higher the price of oil?
      Could there be a Global Solidarity Fund for Venezeula (which the US would try to prevent) but working people feel powerless against the Vile Right in the US so come on brothers, ideas welcome for working people of the World to Scream Back for Venezeula!
      Yours in international solidarity!

      1. Some very good points Bazza , I’d like to see more of our Labour MPs raising it on their Twitter lines to publicise it and perhaps more questions/opportunities in Parliament to debate and counter the Tory pro coup narrative.
        I was unaware of our BOE withholding Venezuela funds , thanks for the info.

  8. The following is an extract from an email I received from Friends Of the Earth (US) today, which I subscribe to, and which started like this:

    Last week, a new study reported that over 70% of Americans are worried about the threat of climate change. Meanwhile, Donald Trump still thinks that snow and cold temperatures validate his climate denial. He even tweeted: “Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!”

    But Americans don’t have to wait around to fight back against Trump’s climate denial, thanks to a revolutionary idea called a Green New Deal. This is a grassroots movement calling for real climate solutions and a just transition away from dirty fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy.


    The only problem is….. it ain’t gonna happen! Just the other day there was a documentary on Aljazeera about the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia entitled ‘Saudi Aramco: The Company and the State’. Saudi Aramco is the national oil company, and is valued at two trillion dollars. And when I went to the Aljazeera website just now to check what the name of the documentary was, I came across another documentary that I obviously missed, entitled ‘Shadow War in the Sahara’. I haven’t watched it yet, but I read the accompanying article, and it says it all really. And it’s the same forces at work that led to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya etc, etc, etc, and who are behind what has happened – and IS happening – in Venezuela. And so it goes on, and on and on. And ‘THEY’ will never-ever change.


    1. An interesting piece by AlJazeera for Brexit zealots to dismiss out of hand – and then attack the socialist credentials of the messenger.

      1. Whilst I believe the criminals involved in this deception should face criminal punishment, and rightly so, how many voters do we actually think would have been affected by it. MY guess is that not many, people voted for all sorts of reasons for coming out, a large proportion of Tories, do we think that they are likely to change their minds? When we look at what is really happening inside Europe today the yes camp turn a blind eye to all the demonstrations and when you ask them why the richest country in Europe Germany are also having demonstration over increasing poverty, cuts to their welfare, and the obnoxious Harz 4 version of our Universal credit, yes camp eyes just roll up without considering the implications. The fact that we are already a net importer of Europe’s goods as well as the rest of the world, again they don’t appreciate why that is and have no answer to it, but are convinced staying in is better. The blind loyalty to Europe is a mirage and without going into the fact that most of Labour’s policies could possibly fall foul of EU competition legislation again goes over their heads, they also don’t appear to understand staying in Europe which controls the way we procure services in our NHS means more privatisation, because of EU regulations. Ignorance is not one sided in the EU debate which is why I voted remain, not because I support the EU, but because I didn’t want this futile debate to take place in the first place, allowing the Tories to play mind games with the public whilst they are quietly dismantling the state. What I do say now, more than ever if there is another vote I shall vote out and the sooner the better.

  9. ‘See how the Fake democrats.
    Dance to the right US tune.
    Think we should declare ourselves President.
    Of the Earth then maybe of the moon?’

  10. 10 out of 10 Maria, SH 1 out of 10 for a non- Venezuealan old article (await the anti-Socialist RH) but I tend to not respond to political morons.
    I was trying to find the political leanings of Cariibean 360 but in one piece it did say “Cuban regime still run by far right” (?)
    Venezeula Solidarity Campaign speaker tells tales of US agents turning up with suitcases full of dollars to pay poor protestors to demonstrate.
    Another report tells of right wing demonstrators burning food supplies which is strange if they are for the people and now want aid.
    We should believe in the principle of self-determination and after 20 years of US destabilisation by the US in Venezeula
    Perhaps from the Right truth is the first causality of a propaganda war.
    I stand with the socialists in V!
    By the way millions of Latin Americans from a range of countries are gathering on the US border because the US with its Latin puppets have imposed Neo-Liberal policies on their countries – they are there because you were and are there.
    Socialists in the end must stand with socialists.

    1. Bazza 04/02/2019 at 9:29 pm

      10 out of 10 Maria, SH 1 out of 10 for a non- Venezuealan old article

      I am surprised by your accusation that this is an old article when it specifically refers to events that have happened in the last few days (the dates are clearly shown) also the report originates from IPS which is a news agency specialising in covering social and economic issues in the South America and the Southern Hemisphere.

      This is a short bio of the journalist who wrote this article from the IPS website
      “Humberto [Márquez], who joined IPS in 1999, has been a journalist for more than 25 years, specialising in international news.He worked for 15 years with Agence France-Presse (AFP), 10 as assignment editor in Caracas, covering Venezuela, the Caribbean and the Guyanas. He also worked for more than five years in the international section of the Caracas newspaper El Nacional. Márquez has covered various international conferences, regional summits, electoral processes in the Americas and Europe, conflicts and peace negotiations, tours by the Pope, the petroleum business, sports events and the state of prison systems.”

      I think you are probably wasting your time trying to work out the editorial policy of Caribbean360 because they appear to be a news aggregation service covering CARICOM countries.

  11. Brothers and sisters what the agent provacateurs are really trying to do is to deflect attention away from the class nature of the anti- government minority protesters – they are overwhelmingly middle class and hate with a vengeance what Muduro and his comrades have done and are trying to do for the working class!
    Many of you on here engage with SH and RH but best to just ignore them, I want to engage with socialists and with them usually just scroll down.
    But one thing is for sure comrades, we are cutting across against the USA Right Wing Barbarians.
    What would really unite the World is Trump, Pence, Bolton, Abrams. Bush and Bllair being infront of the international criminal court in The Hague – wouldn’t it be great to see true global justice!
    Oh and remember diverse working people, everything is dead -.machines, computers, buses, trains etc until you add the magic ingredient – a worker I.e. YOU!
    ‘As they walked into the office/factory.
    And the machines they all were dead
    But the workers turned the bloody things on.
    And the owners too they were fed!’
    Recognise your power!
    Diverse working people of the Word Unite!

    1. FFS – Please feel free to dodge the issue.

      I posted the link because I found the contents disturbing. If these reports (and I’ve no reason to think otherwise) are true then surely the perpetrators should be condemned, or are you a ‘end justifies the means’ sort of guy?

  12. I did a little number crunching for comparison, multiplying turnout by vote percentage with regard to 3 people in the news following their most recent electoral triumphs; these are the results.

    Jean-Claude Juncker (European Union 2014) 12.51%
    Donald Trump (USA 2016) 25.67%
    Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela 2018) 31.23%

    I rest my case m’lud.

    1. labrebisgalloise 04/02/2019 at 11:27 pm

      I’m confused by your methodology, could you please explain the logic behind your comparisons and give the actual figures you used to calculate your percentages

  13. Good points Labradisgallise and Trump lost the popular vote for President by 3m!
    Some choose to regurgitate old articles and such a criticism was made against Venezeula in Labour Briefing late last year but was well answered by the Venezeula Solidarity Campaign.
    As the US makes massive threats against an imperfect Venezeula perhaps now is not the time to aid US propaganda; however deliberate or perhaps niaive?
    We were against the US in Vietnam but it did not mean we felt Vietnam was perfect: every country has the right to self-determination.
    So keep on posting L.

  14. The CARICOM nations appear to have adopted a far more constructive approach than either the US or the EU and the Venezuelan constitution obviously doesn’t support the actions of the so called self appointed president

    David A. Comissiong, Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM – Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 10:39 AM
    David Comissiong
    The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) deserves full marks for the position it has adopted and the actions it has undertaken in response to the regional and international crisis that was precipitated on Wednesday 23 January 2019 when the Venezuelan parliamentarian who is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, declared himself President of Venezuela and had his claim to the Presidency recognized by the government of the United States of America and several other powerful Western governments.
    The CARICOM response was as follows:-
    (1) The CARICOM Heads of Government staged an emergency Conference on Thursday 24 January 2019 and agreed upon a collective Statement that confirmed that they would be guided by the fundamental International Law principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of another state, respect for national sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy, and that – within those legal parameters – they were offering their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties in order to peacefully resolve the crisis. The CARICOM Statement also insisted that the Caribbean region is and must remain a Zone of Peace, and called on all parties, whether inside or outside of Venezuela, to “step back from the brink” of violent conflict.
    (2) On Saturday 26 January 2019 Ambassadors from the CARICOM nations of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Suriname and St. Vincent and the Grenadines presented and spoke in support of the CARICOM Statement at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
    (3) On Monday 28 January 2019 a CARICOM team comprising Secretary General Irwin LaRocque and Prime Ministers Timothy Harris, Keith Rowley and Mia Amor Mottley made their way to United Nations headquarters in New York, where they met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres, and requested the United Nations’ participation and assistance in CARICOM’s effort to create a space for dialogue and for the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Venezuela.
    (4) On Tuesday 27 January 2019 the CARICOM delegation continued its “diplomacy of dialogue and peace” by meeting with the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Minister of Mexico, and with the Permanent Representatives of such countries as Canada, Australia, Romania (representing the European Union), Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and Benin (representing the African Union).
    (5) These meetings resulted in the public announcement of the staging of a joint Uruguay/Mexico meeting (with CARICOM attendance and support) in Montevideo, Uruguay on 7 February 2019 for the purpose of creating a mechanism for dialogue and peaceful resolution of the Venezuela crisis.
    (6) On Friday 1 February 2019 the CARICOM Heads of Government staged a second emergency Conference on the Venezuela crisis and determined that the avoidance of armed conflict in Venezuela and the maintenance of peace throughout the entire Caribbean region was of such critical importance that the three Prime Ministers who had represented CARICOM at the United Nations – Prime Ministers Harris, Rowley and Mottley – would undertake the duty of attending and participating in the Montevideo meeting.
    (7) The CARICOM Heads of Government also determined to issue a letter to the Secretary General of theOrganization of American States (OAS), Mr. Luis Almagro, expressing their “disapproval and grave concern” at the fact that Almagro had purported to recognize Juan Guaido as President of Venezuela, and calling upon Almagro to withdraw his statement of recognition.
    (8) On Wednesday 6 February 2019, the CARICOM team of Prime Ministers joined with representatives of the governments of Mexico, Bolivia and Uruguay in Montevideo and devised the “Montevideo Mechanism” – a four stage process of dialogue, negotiation, commitments and implementation – as a suitable stratagem for resolving the Venezuela crisis peacefully.
    (9) And even while offering the “Montevideo Mechanism” to President Maduro and Opposition Leader Guaido as an appropriate procedure for resolving the crisis, on 7 February 2019 the CARICOM Prime Ministers also met with representatives of the European Union in Montevideo and explained to them why the “Montevideo Mechanism” was a more appropriate procedure for resolving the Venezuela crisis than the European Union’s peremptory demand for Presidential elections to be held in Venezuela “as soon as possible”.
    This – my Caribbean compatriots – is enlightened international diplomacy at its very best! This constitutes the emergence of a collective approach to diplomacy centred around the concept of a Zone of Peace – a concept that is clearly applicable to the Caribbean region, but one that can also be applied to other areas of the world.
    It is important that we fully understand that the CARICOM leadership had found themselves dealing with an extremely dangerous situation in which – on the one hand – over six million Venezuelans (including members of the Armed Forces) had voted for Nicolás Maduro in May 2018 to be their president and therefore considered him to be the legitimate President of Venezuela, and – on the other hand – a Parliamentarian (currently holding the rotating Presidency of the National Assembly)who had not contested the Presidential election had made a determination that the Presidential Election was illegitimate and had declared himself interim President of Venezuela and was purporting to take over the functions of President.
    This was and is a situation that could easily descend into a bloody civil war, particularly in light of the fact that the section of the Constitution of Venezuela that deals with the process for the removal of a President – Section 233 – states as follows:-
    “The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote”.
    Clearly the only clause of Section 233 that could have any relevance to the situation that obtains in Venezuela is the final clause – “recall by popular vote”.

    Unlike other governments that facilitated actions that would create a potentially deadly state of affairs in which an already existing governmental Administration in Venezuela would be facing off against another hostile, foreign supported, parallel“ alternative” Administration, CARICOM has decided to hold itself above the fray and to try to facilitate a process of dialogue and of a search for a peaceful solution within the confines of the Constitution of Venezuela and the fundamental principles of International Law.
    Thus, in everything that it has done so far on this issue, CARICOM has appeared to be “the adult in the room” and the moral and intellectual leader of the international community!
    Surely, this is CARICOM’s finest hour, and all citizens of our Community should feel extremely proud of how well our leaders have acquitted themselves.
    Let us hope that their efforts go on to bear fruit in the form of an externally facilitated, but internally negotiated, agreed upon, and implemented peaceful and lawful solution to the crisis.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: