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  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a meeting with soldiers at a military base in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019.

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a meeting with soldiers at a military base in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 January 2019

Fake news spread over social media and international outlets, but they are backtracking after explanations.

Venezuelan authorities from different government branches denied that the armed forces are recruiting minors from schools, a rumor that is spreading on social media, and described the viral news as part of the smear campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution.

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The military chief of operations in the state of Monagas, General Ovidio Delgado Ramirez, denied the rumors and explained that for the last two years the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) take part in an education programme called “The Guard Goes to the School,” in which members of the different security forces speak and discuss with students to warn and educate them against crimes, drugs, prostitution and bullying.

“This is completely false. The fascist right wing only wants to confuse the people by attacking them with psychological campaigns and creating chaos and an emotional crisis to the people,” said Delgado.

He further explained that they were invited to the anniversary celebrations at a school near Antonio Jose de Sucre. When the female unit of the Peoples’ Guard arrived, someone started screaming they would take the children away, starting the rumor that was picked up by some local and international media.

“We won’t tolerate these kinds of situations in our state. I demand the responsible people behind these bad actions to behave and not to put the people in this kind of undesirable situations,” he continued.

Different news outlets, including opposition ones, already clarified the situation.

The head of the Only Education Authority in Monagas, Yessenia Lara, confirmed that the presence of the security forces is part of a program in different educational institutes.

“We trust our Bolivarian National Armed Forces and what we were doing today was a tour in some educative institutions, in which we verified the normal functioning and development of the school activities,” said Lara.

She also regretted that false information in social media caused such discontent and confirmed that the staff is working with complete normalcy.

The first vice-president of Venezuela’s Constituent National Assembly (ANC), Tania Diaz, denied such practice in an interview with the state-owned Venezuelan Television (VTV).

“We have a project of humanism, solidarity and love for the human being. We don’t do those kinds of things here,” Diaz declared.

Diaz also criticized the U.S. immigration policy under President Donald Trump, known for separating migrant families and inhumane treatment for children and minors.

“In contrast with President Donald Trump, who actually jails children and separates them from their parents just because of their nationality,” he said.

Just in December, two Guatemalan children died in custody of the U.S. migration authorities in different circumstances.

She also called for social media users to not share dubious information on the internet and resist the psychological war carried against Venezuela.

“We should be conscious that we’re being the victims of psychological war in our social networks,” she continued.

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