The narrative seemed to fit Venezuela’s authoritarian rule: Security forces, on the order of President Nicolás Maduro, had torched a convoy of humanitarian aid as millions in his country were suffering from illness and hunger.
Vice President Mike Pence wrote that “the tyrant in Caracas danced”as his henchmen “burned food & medicine.” The State Department released a video saying Mr. Maduro had ordered the trucks burned. And Venezuela’s opposition held up the images of the burning aid, reproduced on dozens of news sites and television screens throughout Latin America, as evidence of Mr. Maduro’s cruelty.
But there is a problem: The opposition itself, not Mr. Maduro’s men, appears to have set the cargo alight accidentally.
Unpublished footage obtained by The New York Times and previously released tapes — including footage released by the Colombian government, which has blamed Mr. Maduro for the fire — allowed for a reconstruction of the incident. It suggests that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an antigovernment protester was the most likely trigger for the blaze.
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