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  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holding a picture to show Colombia used fake pictures against the country.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holding a picture to show Colombia used fake pictures against the country. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 September 2019

The dossier included years-old uncredited photos from news agencies taken in Colombia - not in Venezuela which sparked widespread criticism of President Ivan Duque. 

The Colombian government dismissed the head of Intelligence and Counterintelligence General Oswaldo Peña Bermeo after President Ivan Duque presented fake photos as "conclusive proof" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's support of so-called terrorist groups. 

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The photos were taken, uncredited, from various media organizations. French media AFP said Defense ministry called and apologized for using their photos which were not from Venezuela but Catatumbo, Colombia. 

“The Ministry of Defense called us and apologized for that photo of the Catatumbo and that they had located in Venezuela. There they told us that there were two more photos of AFP, one in Choco and another taken in Guaviare, none of the three taken in Venezuela,” said Florence Panoussian, director of AFP for Colombia and Ecuador.

Last week Duque presented a report at the 74th UN General Assembly in which he claimed Venezuela’s support for “terrorist” activities. 

"My government has irrefutable and conclusive proof that corroborates that the dictatorship supports criminal and narco-terrorist groups that operate in Venezuela and try to attack Colombia," Duque told assembled world leaders in New York holding up a copy of the 128-page dossier.

However, a few hours later, the Colombian media and the international news agency AFP denied the photographs used.

The general command of the Military Forces admitted in a statement that the photo of the massacre used by Duque was in fact from Catatumbo, Colombia. 

The dossier included years-old uncredited photos from news agencies taken in Colombia - not in Venezuela - which led Maduro to dismiss the dossier's contents and sparked widespread criticism of Duque from media outlets and nongovernmental organizations.

The head of the national police, General Oscar Atehortua, presented photographs of three leaders from the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels he said had been taken in recognizable public places in cities in Venezuela and obtained from devices confiscated in Colombian military operations.

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