Well. There’s that ol’ United-Nations fightin’ spirit we’ve been waiting for, via the BBC:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Venezuelan authorities to “listen carefully to the aspirations” of protesters and engage in dialogue with the opposition.

His comments came before a meeting in Geneva with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua.

Mr Ban said protesters “must resort to peaceful means in delivering and conveying their messages”. …

Mr Jaua, who is in Geneva for a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council, said Venezuela was the victim of a “psychological war” perpetrated by the media.

“The propaganda carried out by some national and international media corporations conveys the wrong idea that there is widespread chaos in our country and indiscriminate repression against the people,” he said.

It was aimed, he said, at portraying Venezuela as a country that violates human rights to “justify foreign intervention”.

Yes, sadly, these are the actual real-life words that Venezuelan officials are using to excuse and explain away their country’s economic crisis and political protests, at the United Nations. Meanwhile, however, the death toll is now estimated to be somewhere around 18 and hundreds have been arrested, and despite the beginning of the carnival festival season, the protests are still ongoing. Whatever lame lies Maduro and his government prefer to feed to the public and the world, the reality of runaway inflation, shortages of basic staples, and rampant violent crime are too big for even the Maduro’s reliable political base in the country to keep ignoring, via the Financial Times:

“This is only getting worse,” says the father of two, as he waits in the shade. “They are selling food like you only need to eat once a week.”

Mr Aranda has not joined the anti-government protests that have left at least 17 dead in Venezuela over the past four weeks, in a South American version of Ukraine’s popular uprising. He says he remains a backer of Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution”, for now.

Yet his complaints are a sign that the revolution’s biggest threat may lie not with the opposition but within its own ranks. …

Even believers in Chávez’s brand of socialism cannot ignore the country’s galloping inflation, growing shortages and the inability of Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s anointed successor as president, to summon up a fraction of his predecessor’s rallying charisma.

“There is growing frustration even within the [pro-government] chavista bases,” says Margarita López Maya, a historian at the Central University of Venezuela. “The current economic crisis and unrest are not only a product of Maduro, they are also part of Chávez’s legacy.”