Updated: Dec 31, 2022
This is part 3 in the series on how through an asymmetrical war a Government can be overthrown by a minority of the people and in its place Democratic Socialism. Maduro's Tactic in His Asymmetric War Against Colombia. Various studies reveal how much of the content that encourages the protests originates from Venezuelan territory. In the summer of 2020 USA protest, it was possible to verify these tactics of disinformation and iconography very similar to those that occurred during 2019 in South America.
By Maibort Petit
According to Joseph Humire, an expert in global security, specialized in the analysis of transregional threats in the Western Hemisphere and executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), the events that occurred in Colombia where a wave of violence was unleashed. Starting with the population's protest at the announcement of the implementation of a tax reform by the government of Iván Duque, is not a casual or isolated event, but rather responds to an asymmetric war strategy led by Nicolás Maduro to annex the country neogranadino to the Bolivarian revolution. In fulfilling this objective, disinformation is a fundamental tactic that, promoted by the Venezuelan regime, is aimed at promoting chaos in Colombian society and institutions.
These considerations are part of the report "Asymmetric assault on Colombia", developed by Humire for the SFS and which we have been talking about in previous deliveries.
Humire reiterates that the Colombian events are not an isolated incident and estimates that, even in the protests in the United States in the summer of 2020, it was possible to verify these tactics of disinformation and iconography very similar to those that occurred during 2019 in South America.
In this sense, it maintains the existence of a verifiable regional coordination when reviewing the events and protests that took place in Ecuador, Chile and Colombia during 2019. It explains that this “coordination is in the cyber domain, where sophisticated click farms and network centers in Distant territories spam social media with bots and trolling accounts that exacerbate protests and spread false narratives. "
Bombing from Venezuela
Humire's report refers to a study of 7.6 million digital interactions related to the 2019 Colombian and Chilean protests, in which digital forensic analysts found that less than 1 percent of users generated nearly 30 percent of the time. percent of the content with most of the geolocated accounts in Venezuela.
Likewise, another study of 4.8 million tweets issued between October 20 and November 5, 2019 revealed that a large group of hashtags in favor of the protests in Chile originated in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
The Colombian authorities are aware of this and, in fact, on December 11, 2019, the report quotes Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez, who, at an anniversary event of the Colombian Customs Authorities, suggested that at least part of the The social media traffic that fueled the protests in Colombia was projected from Venezuela and Russia.
Similarly, the report specifies that Colombia has a population of 51 million people, of which three quarters are connected to the Internet, mainly through smartphones. He adds that of the ten hours a day that these people average on the Internet, four of them dedicate them to social networks, a figure that expresses the urgency that the Colombian authorities must put in the digital manipulation and disinformation in the ongoing protests. The report ruled that this is the most important lesson of what happened in Colombia and Chile in October and November 2019.
Trolls in action
Joseph Humire also refers to some studies that suggest that a similar disinformation effort is already underway in Colombia itself. He explains that a Miami-based data mining company determined that more than 7,000 trolling accounts on social media are actively participating in the current protests in Colombia. The study revealed that troll accounts are intended to block and spam any comments or posts that criticize the protests, while amplifying specific narratives and hashtags such as #NosEstanMatando, which only show one aspect of reality on the ground in Colombia.
The report expresses concern that digital forensics reveals that these more than 7,000 trolling accounts are run by click farms in Bangladesh, Mexico and Venezuela, which are likely run by servers in Russia and China. The data mining company is reportedly releasing samples of Asian-based trolls accounts that have made viral images and videos of the protests in Colombia, taking them out of context. Note that even though SFS has not independently verified the Miami firm's analysis, it does match previous disinformation efforts seen in Chile, Ecuador, and elsewhere, which have been verified.
In its last part, Joseph Humire's report makes mention of the fact that Latin America is possibly the region most economically affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
In Colombia particularly, more than ten years of economic growth have evaporated in one year, with a 6.4 percent contraction in its GDP last year and unemployment skyrocketing to nearly 16 percent. "It was only a matter of time before social unrest spilled into the streets," the report warns.
Iván Duque's plan to free Colombia's human capital through its "orange economy" was hampered by the pandemic.
It warns that, to address the problems of the economy, President Duque focused on the immediate challenge and ignored the more far-reaching geopolitical dimensions surrounding the situation. That is why the elaborate fiscal plan called "Sustainable Solidarity Law" "was insufficient to suffocate a distressed population that, for more than a decade, despite economic growth, has been hit by growing insecurity, a plan of failed peace, toxic policies, and external forces that capitalize and catalyze the situation ”.
Finally, he warns that the crisis in Colombia is not only socio-economic, but also of political legitimacy of state institutions, while highlighting the legitimacy of the discontent of the population translated into protests, but warns about how this is used to attack the institutionality and democracy. “The Colombian people, especially the peaceful protesters, are not the culprits of the crisis, they are the victims. Like some of the most vulnerable in society, the poor and the middle class in Colombia are considered as tools of asymmetric warfare by national and foreign adversaries of the Colombian State. This is a threat that the military and police forces cannot solve on their own.