HATS off to Gordon Gallacher for his trenchant critique of the situation in Venezuela (Letters, February 11). The media has indeed not only suppressed important analysis such as the UN Special Rapporteur’s report but has, as ever, indulged in a campaign of disinformation – ignoring context and reducing the argument to the demonisation of one individual ...

in this case Maduro. The one-sidedness of the media’s reporting – its breathless acceptance of the neo-con agenda – has been as scandalous as it has been expected.

READ MORE: Letters, February 11

Like Gordon Gallacher, I read Alyn Smith’s article on Venezuela with disbelief. It too could have been lifted from the neo-con songbook. Not only did Alyn Smith not mention sanctions, he also claimed – erroneously – that the Venezuelan elections were not “free and fair”. This when more than 150 members of the international electoral accompaniment mission for the elections published four independent reports stating, in essence, that not only was the election “fair and transparent” but that the “will of the citizens ... was respected”.

Alyn Smith goes on to ridicule the idea that opposition to Maduro is “some kind of American-backed coup”. Please! Has he read nothing on this issue apart from US State Department press releases? All he has to do, for instance, is trace the path of Guaido from his education in the US – via the millions lavished on him by the US Government – to his far-right activities in Venezuela.

READ MORE: Alyn Smith: Forget Brexit, the EU needs to think about Venezuela

We’re aware of the “Westminster Bubble” where any opinions other than those which faithfully echo the West’s regime-change agenda are vilified – well, by echoing the opinions of the EU’s establishment, Alyn Smith welcomes us to the “Brussels Bubble”.

Gordon Gallacher’s final point about the SNP’s seeming support for the interventionist rhetoric of the EU/US is also worth taking up if we are to be a truly independent nation. As well as being physically independent of Westminster...we must also be free to think independently.

Frank Rodgers

YOUR Strathpeffer correspondent in Monday’s National is right to condemn the part played in international affairs by both the US and the UK. Their unrighteous behaviour is yet again highlighted by their reaction to events in Venezuela. It is clear that Guaido is a politically “parachuted-in” president without any proper authorised credentials of office and is but a tool in more regime-change antics that have typified foreign policies of recent US/UK governments. Their ploys are akin to Hitler’s manipulations of populations in other sovereign countries as pretexts for interventions and eventual annexation of those entire countries, as happened with Czechoslovakia and Poland immediately prior to World War Two.

Surely governments can act openly and upfront and respect the sovereignty of other countries, particularly countries of the stature of the US and UK, both of which are considered world leaders and have two of the five seats in the Security Council of the United Nations.

For the US to isolate Venezuela with economic sanctions and then to behave as though the economic problems in Venezuela were caused by that country’s government is insulting the intelligence of any unbiased observer. Again the analogy with Hitler’s Germany arises in how Jewish populations were forbidden to run businesses, were kept from prospering, and were then demeaned for living in squalor.

Relationships between countries don’t have to be like this. If and when countries and populations do have genuine problems it should be the first reaction internationally to assist the stricken, not to try to exploit the situation with self-interest in mind.

Ian Johnstone

READERS will no doubt be legitimately concerned by the media reports about the situation and developments in Venezuela. It should also be noted that crying crocodile tears about aid is a wee bit hypocritical when there is little reference to the simultaneous economic blockade. Our media also does not seem concerned by the mass murder in nearby Nicaragua, for example. Double standards also when we read more detailed reports of life in Brazil.

Maduro is, after all, the elected president of Venezuela in a poll with 67% participation, in contrast to low voter turnout in Colombia or Chile. He is making making lots of critical mistakes in contrast to self-declared, media-supported president Guaido, who happens to be supported by Trump in the USA and the millionaires of Venezuela.

Claudio Katz, an economist who teaches at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, points out that the electoral mechanism awarded the opposition with leadership of the National Assembly in Venezuela in 2015, yet today the same system means our media here denounces Maduro and recognises Guaido.

Norman Lockhart