Luxury holidays now on sale for Richard Branson’s Venezuelan ‘aid’ concert

Richard Branson and a Venezuela luxury Live Aid package poster
Fréa Lockley

On 22 February, billionaire Richard Branson has planned a ‘Live-Aid’ style concert on the Colombian-Venezuelan border. Branson claims this is to raise money for ‘humanitarian aid’. But as The Canary has been reporting, the situation in Venezuela is critical with a US-led coup attempt trying to remove the democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro. Now, it seems that wealthy opposition supporters can buy a luxury package holiday to Branson’s concert.

“The most trendy concert of the decade”

Journalist Max Blumenthal shared a poster advertising “luxury vacation packages” to Branson’s concert:

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

And Blumenthal is absolutely right. Because Branson’s gig is the latest example of “interventionalist propaganda”.

The US and corporate media continue to push a narrative that Venezuelan people must be ‘liberated’ from Maduro. In its support for Washington-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the UK is fully complicit in this lie. There are widespread claims that Maduro is actively starving the population by rejecting US ‘humanitarian aid‘. Yet, as The Canary reported, Maduro has both requested and received emergency aid from the UN since November. Much of the current crisis in Venezuela is a direct result of US-led economic sanctions that cost the oil-rich country billions.

The US has continued to stockpile aid on the Venezuelan border. Many international aid agencies, including the UN and the Red Cross, have also criticised US attempts to ‘politicise’ aid. And Branson’s gig only adds to this hypocrisy.

Peak hypocrisy

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of Branson’s move is a satirical April Fools’ Day article from Venezuela Analysis. In 2013, it declared that the Venezuelan government would be selling “all of its community media to Rupert Murdoch” and its entire “health system” to Branson. With beautifully wry humour, this highlights the stark contrast between the principles of Maduro’s socialist government against privatised profiteering and neoliberalism in both the UK and US.

As Blumenthal’s tweet shows, for many wealthy, privileged anti-Maduro supporters, Branson’s event will be a luxury break. A total contrast to lives destroyed in Venezuela from harsh US sanctions designed to “make the economy scream”.

Meanwhile, to stick two fingers up to Branson, pro-government forces have organised a “two-day ‘peace’ concert on the Venezuelan side of the border” under the banner “No one wants war”.

Not surprisingly, many people are disgusted by the whole premise of Branson’s concert:

As The Canary reported, Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters was also highly critical of Branson’s musical intervention. As Waters said, Western intervention and Branson’s gig have:

nothing to do with the needs of the Venezuelan people, it has nothing to do with democracy, it has nothing to do with freedom and it has nothing to do with aid.

But Branson wants the world to think that he’s a ‘helping hero’.

And let’s not forget, that despite his best efforts to play the philanthropic humanitarian hero, Branson has profited from wading into the privatisation of UK transport and medical services. This is, after all, the same man who’s happy to sue our cash strapped NHS.

Featured images via UNclimatechallenge/Flickr and screengrab

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. So as Roger Waters correctly states it’s not about the needs of the Venezualan people democracy or aid then what is it, is the question to ask. For myself its the dark side of humanity wanting to dominate another people to cast them into who Americans are, and to nulify who the Venezulan identity.
      Taking their oil certainly means you then have the finances to dominate them completely.
      Its appears to be no different than in the days of when the Catholic/Protestant faith tried to control the social adjenda, and of science. All planned out for the last 20 years I’m sure. A strong faith in colonialism as a means to prosper is the agenda but deeper.
      Chomsky explained this is a very powerful force to reckon with.
      Branson is tuned up for it.

    2. there must be many more brits who, like me, will never ever use virgin media or any other ”products” of this hypocritical billionaire again.
      this stunt may be more costly to his businesses than he bargained for. let’s hope.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.