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Latin American leaders lash out at Lula for calling Venezuelan dictatorship a "constructed narrative"

"Authoritarianism in Venezuela is not a 'constructed narrative.' It is an unquestionable reality," said Human Rights Watch

Nicolás Maduro y Lula da Silva | EFE

May 31, 2023 9:08am

Updated: May 31, 2023 9:23am

Latin American leaders are repudiating Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's depiction Nicolás Maduro's dictatorship after comments he made during Brazil's regional summit.

Lula stressed this Monday that authoritarianism in Venezuela "is a constructed narrative" and urged Maduro to change that perception.

“You know very well what is the narrative that you have built regarding Venezuela, of authoritarianism, of anti-democracy. You have to deconstruct that narrative by showing your own narrative so that people change their minds," said the Brazilian president.

“I have gone to countries that do not know where Venezuela is, but they say that Venezuela has a dictatorship. Nicolás Maduro, you have to deconstruct that narrative,” he added.

One of the first to criticize Lula was the Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaidó, who accused him of "revictimizing the Venezuelan people by denying the dictatorial nature of Maduro."

“Lula launders and supports thoese who are accused of torturing the opposition, terrorism and drug trafficking; and of creating the largest displacement crisis on the continent,” added Guaidó.


Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou repudiated Lula's words on Tuesday, assuring that what is really happening in Venezuela cannot be hidden.

"I was surprised when it was said that what happens in Venezuela is a narrative," said Lacalle, during his speech before Lula. "If there are so many groups in the world that are trying to mediate so that democracy is restored in Venezuela, so that human rights are respected, that there are no political prisoners, the worst thing we can do is cover that bullet wound with band aid."


The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized Lula's statements. "As with Ukraine, Lula should understand that if he wants Brazil to have a leadership role in Venezuela, he must start with a correct - and not falsified - diagnosis of reality."

"Authoritarianism in Venezuela is not a 'constructed narrative.' It is an unquestionable reality,” said Juanita Goebertus, director of Human Rights Watch for the Americas.

For his part, the former director of the organization, José Miguel Vivanco, ironically expressed: “Fortunately, the problem in Venezuela is only narrative. Someone explain to the ICC so that it suspends its investigation for crimes against humanity against that regime. Naivety or ideological blindness?

Chilean President Gabriel Boric also joined in, saying on Tuesday, that although the summit is an opportunity to discuss ideas with Maduro, he disagreed with Lula's comments.

Boric affirmed that what is happening in Venezuela "is not a narrative construction; it is a reality, and I have had the opportunity to see it in the eyes and in the pain of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are in our country today and who also demand a firm and clear position regarding the fact that human rights must be respected always and everywhere, regardless of the political color of the ruler in power”.

The leaders of the other eleven South American countries were invited to the summit: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, for a regional meeting.

Maduro was the first to arrive in Brazil for the summit.