Caracas – “President flees into exile…Opposition leader murdered…President appears dancing…Opposition leader says: ‘I’m alive!'”

Venezuela may be short of food, medicine and toiletries, but in the chaos of its violent political crisis it has plenty of fake — or questionable — news.

Hoarse from shouting or breathing tear gas in weeks of anti- and pro-government protests, Venezuelans are also dizzy from the buzz of rumors and counter-claims.

In the streets, looting and clashes between protesters and police have left 36 people dead since last month.Online, the first casualty has been the truth.

“The debate about fake news is worldwide, but at least in other countries there are credible news sources of reference,” says Andres Canizales, a media specialist at Andres Bello University in Caracas.

© AFP FEDERICO PARRA A student at the Central University of Venezuela throws back tear gas to riot police during a protest against the Venezuelan government in Caracas on May 4, 2017

© AFP FEDERICO PARRA – A student at the Central University of Venezuela throws back tear gas to riot police during a protest against the Venezuelan government in Caracas on May 4, 2017