“A great sign of who’s running this coup attempt.”
Following widespread political upheaval Tuesday in Venezuela, including soldiers joining the forces of opposition leader Juan Guaido in the streets of Caracas in a bid to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government, a transgender journalist promoted a broadly ridiculed conspiracy theory about a Venezuelan protester seen wearing a red Washington Nationals cap.
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A widely disseminated video shared on social media Tuesday reportedly showed defectors from the Venezuelan military engaging in a shootout with pro-Maduro forces.
— Giovanni C. (@giovannicavett) April 30, 2019
Morgan Artyukhina, an “autistic transgender revolutionary & activist” who writes for Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik, suggested in a since-deleted tweet that a man seen firing a gun in the video was part of a U.S.-backed coup.
Artyukhina’s “evidence” stemmed from the Venezuelan man’s attire: He sported a red Washington Nationals cap on his head.
“This is pretty incredible: the man exchanging gunfire with Venezuelan soldiers is wearing a Nationals hat, Washington, DC’s pro baseball team. A great sign of who’s running this coup attempt,” Artyukhina wrote.
In another tweet, the journalist doubled-down on the insinuation.
“When you fly directly from Washington to take part in a coup d’etat and you forget to take off the Nationals cap before you fire on Venezuelan soldiers…” she wrote.
Correction: Nats scout checking the protesters for some needed bullpen talent!
— Wes Snow (@adidasorange1) April 30, 2019
Several users attempted to point out some of the factors that might make Artyukhina’s theory implausible – the popularity of baseball in Venezuela, the fact that Venezuelan MLB star Wilson Ramos used to play for the Nationals or why a supposed C.I.A.-backed rabble-rouser would announce his presence in such an obvious manner – but the intrepid reporter would not be dissuaded.
Conceding to a fellow conspiracy theorist that the man in question “could” just be a “reactionary Venezuelan,” Artyukhina elucidated her logic.
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” … but then the Nats aren’t really the most popular team in the MLB, either, so to me it indicates far more of a DC connection than, say, a Yankees or A’s hat would. Don’t forget Guaido is a GWU alum,” she averred.
Twitter commenters responded by mocking Artyukhina’s “idiotic” take.
i can’t tell who’s more idiotic….the lady who tweeted that or the guys in the video shooting rounds into the air
— cory(and pig) ⁿᵒʷ ʷᶦᵗʰ ʳᵃᵗˢ (@coryandthepig) April 30, 2019
Some tweeted photos of other possible “hitmen” and planted operatives – Wilson Ramos and Venezuelan players active on MLB rosters:
This guy looks like a "hitman" to me. 🤔😅 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/Yshff5m6yT
— MigueEdu (@MigueEdu) April 30, 2019
Nor was Artyukhina alone in pointing out the man in the red Nationals hat. News2Share editor in chief Ford Fischer made sure to emphasize the Nationals’ location for his more than 8,000 followers.
“The Nationals are the baseball team of Washington DC, USA,” Fischer wrote in a tweet that was subsequently retweeted by journalists such as The Gateway Pundit’s Cassandra Fairbanks.
Video out of Venezuela shows an individual wearing a Nationals Cap firing at Maduro's troops.
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) April 30, 2019
The situation in Venezuela – which in the minds of some people stands in as a symbol for progressive policies, particularly socialism – has led to a cultural debate, split largely along partisan lines.
A tweet by progressive journalist Rania Khalek in reaction to Tuesday’s uprising sums up how, for many politicos, Venezuela has become an ideological litmus test:
Again to all you good liberals out there, take note of who’s side you’re taking. If you support the coup in Venezuela, you are siding with the far right https://t.co/JdY4pQh01v
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) April 30, 2019
“Anyone who thinks Venezuela has socialism is an ignoramus,” the Socialist Party of Great Britain tweeted out Tuesday in response to reports that pro-Maduro forces mowed down anti-regime protesters.
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