Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 23, 2019

Venezuela - No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson's Concert Stunt - (Updated)

UPDATE Feb 25:

After our critic below the Washington Post quietly changed its piece and eliminated the fake concert attendance claim.

End update

The Washington Post writes:

The attention on Saturday remained immediately focused on the single largest staging ground for aid in Cucuta, Colombia — where a massive benefit concert hosted by British billionaire Richard Branson drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people Friday.

200,000 people!

Hmm ...

200,000 people?

source - bigger
200,000 people??

source - bigger

200,000 people???

source - bigger

Dan Cohen was in the VIP area in front of the stage:

Dan Cohen @dancohen3000 - 3:50 utc - 23 Feb 2019
#VenezuelaAidLive organizers claim 317,000 people attended today’s event. The real figure is a tiny fraction of that. Here’s a photo I took of the crowd at 11am. I estimate no more than 10,000. That might be generous.


10,000 people?

Let's check a map:

source - bigger

The stage was build at the top right across both roadways with its front towards the southwest. There was room for a few hundred VIP and reporters right in front of it. The field where the plebs were kept away lies between the north to south treeline at the right and the north to south ditch with the two single trees. According to the Google map scale the field's northern edge is some 125 meters wide. The crowd was standing at the northern end of the field at a depth of about 50 meters. The density of the static crowd was low to medium with on average 2 to 3 people per square meter.

125m * 50m = 6,250 m2 * 2.5 people/m2 = 15,625 people

One may generously add a count of one or two thousand for the people mingling around in the back of the public area. In total there may have been up to 18,000, but certainly no more than 20,000 people at the concert.

The show the British oligarch arranged was supposed to attract 250,000 people. Less than 8% of the expected crowd arrived. Branson claimed the concert would raise $100 million but did not explain by what magic that is going to happen. The idea failed to attract any globally known acts. That is probably thanks to Roger Waters who spoke out against the fake 'humanitarian' stunt.

The stage setup far away from the public area was unreasonable. The concert attracted only some local people who had nothing better to do. The whole thing was a complete fail.

The Washington Post's count of "200,000 people" is obviously an outrageous lie. But the Post agitated throughout the last 20 long years for regime change in Venezuela. It now sees a chance to achieve that. There is no way that it will let get facts in the way of it.

Posted by b on February 23, 2019 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

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Wow! What a huge exaggeration on the crowd size. The corporate media always pulls this shit. Just like the videos showing supermarkets full of food, everything you need. But media claims 'everybody is starving blah blah'. What a total asshole Richard Branson is. He's Trumps' little concert bitch with quaint british accent :D

Posted by: Deschutes | Feb 24, 2019 5:29:46 AM | 101

@97 Zanon "What is happening now should be a wake up call for a lot of people here"

What, exactly, is "happening now"?

Because I can see is that Branson is making a laughing stock of himself, and Elliot Abrhams can't get his weapons - sorry, "humanitarian aid" - over a bridge because the trucks are being stopped.

Wake me when something important happens, OK.

"Now you see what your argument caused."

No, actually, all I'm seeing is a concert where next-to-nobody turned up, and some trucks that contained some mighty dubious "humanitarian aid" didn't make it over a bridge.

Neither of which was "caused" by "me", or indeed by anyone here.

"Meanwhile people who tried to claim otherwhise, you called "trolls". "

Words as loose-bowel-movements.

Which people?
Claiming what?

I'm seeing a nobody who was egged on to declare himself the "interim President", which is a claim that is now over 30 days old.

Which (according to the very Venezuelan Constitution that he argued legitimized his claim) means that he is no longer able to call himself the "interim President".

Read it.

It very clearly says that he can only act as "interim President" for a maximum of 30 days.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 24, 2019 5:52:37 AM | 102

Hmmh, how do you evuluate the status of our international communication ecosystem? I realized that this concert topic was prominent at least in the last 10 days, in Germany as well. Now it flopped yesterday. The Washington Post article is apparently been changed immediately. If I use Google to find recent articles in German there is only 1 hit, at position 9 or 10, and that this MOA article. The rest is 2, 3 or more days old. If I look for international articles the same picture. Why? Just because flops do not sell?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 24, 2019 5:59:24 AM | 103

Sigh. Those who are lol at Branson should know he and his fellow elites are laughing at you.

He puts on this preposterous show with an exagerated attendance claim and the MSM globally eat it up and like 80-90% of people believe it. Profit is not the objective and he has earned points with the only people who count, his fellow elites. Those here on MOA who ridicule him are a source of amusement to him. “So what u gonna do about it bro “ he says between giggles and high fives?

Nothing, and him and his crowd know it. They are just playing with you/us like a cat with a mouse. Meow.

Might be best to take a break from it all. Not like anyone can change anything. Look at comments on MSM sites and many alt media sites. Morons. Fuggataboutit.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 24, 2019 7:17:03 AM | 104

Pft | Feb 24, 2019 7:17:03 AM | 104

Have you ever been in the uncomfortable situation to convince people of other opinions with arguments? Or was is alway enough to just placate your own opinion?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 24, 2019 7:21:05 AM | 105

What this episode reveals to me is the impossibility of implementing socialism at a national level so long as the nation wishes to remain plugged into global financial markets.

The deck is stacked. The plug gets pulled. The economy of the socialist nation falters as a result, not through any failure of socialism. The people suffer material deprivation caused by the loss of markets. Eventually, they face the existential choice of survival or ideological purity.

Disinfo spreads instantaneously from the right, "socialism doesnt work."

This is the eye of the needle. How to implement socialist revolution one nation at a time.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 24, 2019 7:28:44 AM | 106

Zanon @ 97 essentially correct analysis. The most honest in this thread so far.

As in many of Shakespeare's plays, the Fool is actually really smart—and the only person who tells it like it is. Compare Lear's Fool, for example, to Feste in Twelfth Night – neither one of them are afraid to call their misguided masters "foolish" and they both function as characters that provide a lot of social commentary.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 24, 2019 7:49:45 AM | 107

Yesterday night I tried to post a bit long post including some lectures by Juan Carlos Monedero at the advisory Miranda International Center during his time as advisor to President Chávez government, at a time when he was already ill, including links to a two part video and a partial trnascript of what was said at one of the videos, which took me about three hours ( wee hours here ) and which never saw the light...

Astonishingly, all the troll crap by Zanon and Pft, repeating one time after another the same defeatist peroration always goes through....

Posted by: Sasha | Feb 24, 2019 7:53:41 AM | 108

AntiSpin @8

You are so on the button - NPR and BBC (radio/world service) only ever present one side: the corporate-capitalist-imperialist ruling elite side of any issue of interest to this coterie of sociopathic-psychopathic-greedy arses. They work in Orwellian-Huxleyan ways through Omission and Commission and Repetition. (Of course they are both government, i.e. taxpayer funded, NPR in part and the Beeb in whole and in both countries the ruling classes are hand in glove with the plutocrats, indeed many also belong within that grouping.)

Grieved @70

I doubt that Richard Branson's background was other than middle class (British style). He was born (apparently) in the same theosophical Nursing Home (Maternity Hospital) in London as I was. It was private, vegetarian and run by Drs. Pink and White (yep, didn't make that up). I was born there just a couple of months before the initiation of the NHS while my father worked as an assistant Company Secretary (Comptroller for Americans). Our household soon resumed its more normal background socio-economic form of working class with a move to deepest, darkest rural Norfolk; but while my father was bringing in some ackers, this decidedly bourgeois nursing home was on the cards for my birth and the two weeks' stay afterward.

Sooo I think that Branson's family wasn't below middle-middle class. Not of the haute bourgeoisie perhaps, but not penny counting, either.

Posted by: AnneR | Feb 24, 2019 9:08:32 AM | 109

None comments resolve the true state of affairs on the ground in Venezuela.. I know as much now about M's ability to manage Venezuela as I knew before Christ was born.

And this is the problem of humanity in captivity to the ARMS.
How to circumvent the control and lies of those that have control of the ARMS (Armed rule making Structures, sometimes called nation states).

B's summary helps.. but we need more .. we need a lot more to fully understand.

Posted by: snake | Feb 24, 2019 9:11:02 AM | 110

"Chilean reporter ran over at Colombia-Venezuela border denounces Venezuelan opposition: 'they aren't heros'"

Repórter atropelada na fronteira denuncia opositores de Maduro: "Não são heróis"

Journalist Nicole Kramm was ran over at the Simon Bolivar bridge yesterday by members of the Venezuelan opposition (Guaidó's supporters).

"It was an attack. They aren't heros. They almost killed me, by 15 centimeters. If I didn't run, they would've hit my whole body, and I wouldn't be alive to tell this [story]."

"They wanted to kill civilians who were at the border, full speed. I saved myself by an inch. I can't believe they wanted to be presented as heros [i.e. revolutionaires/liberators]."

Posted by: vk | Feb 24, 2019 9:30:30 AM | 111

@ Posted by: snake | Feb 24, 2019 9:11:02 AM | 110

Long story short:

1) there's no mass hunger in Venezuela. Venezuelan grains production have been growing at a steady pace since Chávez took power; if there is hunger, then it is hunger natural to the capitalist system (homeless people, jobless people, abandoned children etc. etc.). Brazil, for example, gained more than 5 million people in hunger after Michel Temer usurped power in 2016. The country is now back to the "Map of Hunger" or on the verge to be;

2) Venezuela is textbook Dutch Disease country. It's always depended heavily on oil exports (thus, oil prices). It imports basically every manufactured products it consumes. This includes basic hygiene and medicine. Venezuela also has a weak dairy industry, so these also are in shortage after the USA-imposed embargo;

3) when oil prices plummeted in 2012 (the same episode that sent Russia to a recession), Venezuela begun to suffer with its trade balance. So, even before the embargo, things were already getting more difficult for the Chavist strategy of creating a social safety net/welfare state before industrializing (reverse Soviet Union and China);

4) Venezuela always was a heavily polarized country. Nowadays, the left-wing is 60%, the right-wing 40%. The right-wing is the bourgeoisie, so they control commerce. After they lost the election to the left, thy initiated a lockout, creating an artificial shortage of goods. Since the goods still existed, this fuelled the black market. After the embargo was enacted, this black market grew even stronger, since the door of imports was closed. A strong black market = hyperinflation.

Posted by: vk | Feb 24, 2019 9:38:55 AM | 112

Burning Aid: An Interventionist Deception

Posted by: arby | Feb 24, 2019 9:44:03 AM | 113

#PuertoRico Ship with #USA "Aid" returned to #Bonaire Harbour after be intercepted by #Venezuela Navy just before it was to enter in Venezuela Territorial Waters.

Posted by: arby | Feb 24, 2019 9:51:19 AM | 114

BBC news talks about some thousands of attendants, yesterday.
BBC News 23.2.
Readers familiar with the USA: how can it happen that the Post changed that article without any further remark? In such case where for more than a week they highlighted this upcoming mega-event?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 24, 2019 9:57:50 AM | 115

@ Grieved | Feb 23, 2019 11:21:37 PM | 86

Vague wisps of thought have been floating around in my head, that find their full, concrete form in the above comment of yours. I believe you have come up with a superb analysis, and I fervently hope that your conclusions will be proven by the events to come.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 24, 2019 10:00:43 AM | 116


Thank you, yes - saying the obvious seems very hard for some people here. They are in denial - even of that fact that they are.
The very real escalation keeps on going meanwhile.
Guaido says to ask US to consider 'all options' in Venezuela

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 24, 2019 10:06:27 AM | 117

What are you trying to say?
Are you very concerned about the starving Venezuelan people?
Not sure what your point is.

Posted by: arby | Feb 24, 2019 10:19:57 AM | 118

@ 118 That's just Zanon. He's our resident warmonger. He pushed the same line on Ukraine and Syria...i.e. Putin not tough enough. Probably owns a few shares of Raytheon.

Posted by: dh | Feb 24, 2019 10:29:11 AM | 119

@ Arby 118

I think Zanon means two wrongs don't make a right. The situation is complicated by the fact there is a shortage of food and medicine that ideology alone (backing either Maduro or Randon Guydo) won't solve.

The crisis is a creature of capitalist sanctions against the Bolivarian revolution true. Why did China and Russia let it get this far? Fear of the Monroe Doctrine is my guess.

Which plays into Zanon's other point with which I agree. The so-called weakness of the Evil Empire vis a vis China and Russia is badly overstated by many commenters.

Posted by: donkeytale | Feb 24, 2019 10:45:40 AM | 120

I was being facetious (is that the word?).
I see no starving Venezuelans but I do see photos of starving Yemenis. Apparently they are of no concern.
BTW, The Russians and Chinese as well as Cuba and other nations have sent tons of food and medicine which is being accepted by Venezuela.

Posted by: arby | Feb 24, 2019 10:53:18 AM | 121

@ Hausmeister | Feb 24, 2019 9:57:50 AM | 115

Readers familiar with the USA: how can it happen that the Post changed that article without any further remark? In such case where for more than a week they highlighted this upcoming mega-event?

I'm stuck inside of the USA, and this is a typical example of the Orwellian practices of corporate so-called journalism. It still takes the outward traditional form of rational, objective reporting, but it's full of classic Ministry of Truth history-rewriting.

The postmodern influence is strong: there is no "history", only a series of endless moments captured in ephemeral "narratives". "A" on one day may be reported as "not-A", or even "B" the next day. There is no need for consistency or reconciling contradiction-- or, at least, it's the exception now and not the rule.

Also, the corporate mass-media is a juggernaut in perpetual motion: there's a 24/7/365 "news cycle". There's no time to critically compare even the recent past with the present, since there's always ostensibly urgent new information to process.

That's the beginning of an explanation of how it can happen.

Posted by: Ort | Feb 24, 2019 1:32:05 PM | 122


The crisis is a creature of capitalist sanctions against the Bolivarian revolution true. Why did China and Russia let it get this far? Fear of the Monroe Doctrine is my guess.

Which plays into Zanon's other point with which I agree. The so-called weakness of the Evil Empire vis a vis China and Russia is badly overstated by many commenters.

+1 on this, like myself - you are honest about what is going on.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 24, 2019 3:22:28 PM | 123

Ok, in the online-version of the Washington Post yesterday there was no further mentioning of this flopped concert event. Anybody here who has access to the printed issue: did they cleary state that they were more than 200 000 people at this concert? If yes could somebody make a scanned picture of this statement?
I could find only one „report“:
Venezuale_Aid_Live“, where they quote from a Columbian source "National Radio of Colombia said there were more than 200,000 present.[37]“
According to the pictures a straight lie. If one looks further at this side is seems clear that any big attendance would have been praised loud. Just one sentence proves that this thing was a huge shameful flop. Imagine the political prominence they mustered on the Colombian side, including the president of Chile. And then no further report about the concert itself.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 24, 2019 10:51:12 PM | 124

ZeroHedge picked up on MoA's story. "Fake News"

Posted by: curtis | Feb 25, 2019 6:39:29 AM | 125

The print edition for Saturday Feb. 23 of WaPo stated on page A8: "British billionaire Richard Branson hosted a crowd of more than 200,000 revelers."

Posted by: lysias | Feb 25, 2019 7:42:15 AM | 126

Is microfilm archives of newspapers still a thing? I wonder if they replace those as well if they still use them.

No I'm not a dinosaur!

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 25, 2019 8:35:55 AM | 127

I worked as a 'rover' along with coordinating security crew at many large 3-day outdoor concerts in NorCal; EarthDance, Pig-Nic, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, MountainAir, Trinity Tribal Stomp, etc etc. This isn't much more than maybe 10-12 thousand.

What a sham but did anybody actually expect less from corporate MSM mouthpieces? I'm talking to people around here and they're believing this crapola just like they did before every other war crime the US was about to commit since we got rid of Nixon.

And thought we'd made the world better. Four decades later and look how much farther this country has sunk. Who'll the Empire bomb next; Venezuela or Iran?

Is there any irony in any of this?


Posted by: sealintheSelkirks | Mar 12, 2019 1:55:06 AM | 128

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