Over 3.5 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2017 as the economy collapsed under the weight of the Nicolás Maduro administration’s successive currency devaluations (meaning deliberate hyperinflation) that left 90% of Venezuela’s population impoverished. Famine broke out and two-thirds of Venezuelans lost 24 pounds in 2017 alone.
Enter Means TV, a self-proclaimed socialist alternative to Netflix founded by Naomi Burton and Nick Hayes who produced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s viral campaign ad, which posted two videos to Twitter making fun of Venezuelan refugees:
Means TV’s racist stereotypes about Venezuelans fleeing Maduro’s misrule are simply the inverse of stereotypes about Latin American migrants promoted by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and President Trump. Instead of being poor, they’re rich; instead of being criminals or terrorists, they’re the elite.
But like all racist stereotypes, they are lies that serve to pre-empt or disrupt any feelings of solidarity or internationalism that might develop between different peoples, races, ethnicities, and nationalities.
The reality is that the vast majority of Venezuelans who have fled the country are poor, so poor that many of them are traveling on foot with their children in tow to neighboring Colombia, Brazil, or Guyana.
Venezuelans are just one of many groups of immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants victimized by the Trump administration’s war on foreigners and yet no left-wing groups in the U.S. have mobilized to defend or support them. Instead, Codepink, Party for Socialism and Liberation (through its front group ANSWER), and Democratic Socialists of America have chosen to fight against Venezuelan refugees and exiles for control of the Venezuelan embassy at the behest of the regime that is starving poor people and sending death squads into barrios.
Means TV’s racist video (endorsed by Sam Seder) about Venezuelans makes this scabbing by Codepink, PSL, and DSA easier to do just as peddling Islamophobic tropes about Syrians enables the regime of Bashar al-Assad to engage in mass murder and the proliferation of anti-Semitism leads to synagogues being shot up.