The New York Times published an editorial Saturday which sides with the Venezualan opposition against the ruling socialist party. The real surprise may be that the editorial board has been pretty consistent in its take on President Maduro and Venezuela’s populist socialism. The current editorial is the third one the Times has published this year, all of them critical of the current government. It reads in part:
Mr. Maduro has no sound ideas for addressing the crisis, which is largely of his making; mostly he blames his government’s failures on foreign conspiracies.
In response the energy crisis, for instance, Mr. Maduro urged women to stop blow-drying their hair. He recently imposed a two-day work week for public servants, arguing that keeping them home would save energy. Meanwhile, he has relied on his loyalists in the judiciary to block virtually every important measure the Parliament has passed, including financial reforms, a public housing law and a bill that would have freed political prisoners.
In March, when opposition leaders started discussing ways to oust Maduro the Times’ editorial board wrote:
The opposition’s desire to get rid of Mr. Maduro is understandable. He has arbitrarily locked up political opponents, created ludicrous conspiracy theories to explain his government’s failures, and has made a tough economic landscape bleaker by picking fights with neighbors and failing to rein in hyperinflation.
And in January, the editorial board wrote:
Mr. Maduro has been combative after his party’s bruising defeat during the parliamentary election in December. Far from acknowledging that Venezuelans overwhelmingly support a new course, he seems intent on pursuing failed policies and unwise practices. For instance, he recently appointed a new economic chief who does not believe that inflation exists.
This is all fairly hard-hitting stuff and if you step back you see it continues throughout 2015:
- Dec 2015 – In Venezuela, a Triumph for the Opposition
- Nov. 2015 – Venezuela’s Threatened Elections
- Oct 2015 – Tainted Justice in Venezuela
- Sep 2015 – Venezuela’s Manufactured Border Crisis
- Aug 2015 – Venezuela Tries to Silence Critics
- Feb 2015 – Conspiracy Claims in Venezuela
- Jan. 2015 – Mr. Maduro in His Labyrinth
In 2014 the Times was accused of bias in its reporting on Venezuela to the point that public editor Margaret Sullivan reviewed the paper’s work and concluded:
With the help of my news assistant, Jonah Bromwich, I reviewed the articles Mr. Kahn complains about. While I think more consistent reminders that Mr. Maduro was democratically elected would help, I disagree with charges of bias.
That may be true of the paper’s news stories but the editorial board is clearly no fan of the country’s socialist government. That’s a good thing. If only the Times seemed as eager to criticize the burgeoning populist socialism here at home.