Scripps College is hosting and funding a three-day speakers’ series with a Venezuelan government official to valorize that country’s totalitarian regime and spread awareness of the “truth in today’s Venezuela,” whitewashing the ruling regime’s extensive human rights abuses, the Independent has learned.
The series, which ends on Wednesday, features Antonio Cordero, who serves as a Consul General of Nicholas Maduro’s authoritarian government and has been a business director for “various People’s Power enterprises,” according to an event advertisement.
One event in the series will focus on Maduro’s new assembly—the product of a rigged election that prompted the U.S. to institute economic sanctions against the Maduro regime—and explain how it expresses the “PEOPLE’S POWER in Venezuela, the Highest Power in the Land.”
Other events will whitewash the dictator’s imprisonment of political opponents and blame the slaughter of political protesters by Maduro’s government on his “rightwing” opposition.
Three Scripps programs and departments—Core, History, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies—are listed as sponsors of the series. In an email to the Independent, Andrew Aisenberg, the chair of the college’s history department, confirmed that “the history department did provide financial support for the Venezuela events.” Additionally, at least some Scripps students are required to attend this speakers’ series or an unrelated talk later in the week.
A flyer for the first event recites several Maduro government talking points, dismissing, without providing evidence, documentation by human rights organizations and international media of massive irregularities in both the Maduro-backed July vote for a constitutional assembly and the regional elections held in the middle of this month:
“Venezuela, with an electoral system that experts believe to be the most transparent in the world, registers an overwhelming win for socialists in gubernatorial elections of October 15. Record voter turn-out is higher than presidential election turn-out in many western countries. Vote signals tremendous popular will for peace and sovereignty.”
The other Scripps events, held Tuesday and Wednesday, are entitled “Paramilitarism from the Right versus Building the Communal State from Below” and “Black Liberation and Reparations at the Heart of Venezuela’s Revolution,” respectively.
A flyer advertising Tuesday’s event blames the violence in the streets that has ebbed and flowed over the past year not on Maduro’s government, which gunned down more than 120 protesters between late March and July of this year, but on an unnamed “former rightwing governor,” who the flyer alleges “fanned street violence.”
The flyer also recasts Maduro’s systematic imprisonment of political opponents as an effort “to bring criminal charges against opposition leaders who promote lynchings in street violence,” and mimics the Venezuelan leader’s unfounded claim that the U.S. “has moved to set up a rightwing government in exile.”
Maduro’s new government, the flyer assures, is considering “a host of new rights for the majority … in the course of a constitutional convention whose deliberations reach every corner of Venezuela.”
None of the events will discuss the triple-digit inflation and massive food and drug shortages that have pushed the country’s people to the brink, or the hundreds of opposition leaders imprisoned by the Maduro regime on false charges.
Media representatives for Scripps College have yet to respond to the Independent‘s request for comment.
Lede Photo: Flickr / Andreas Lehner