Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained publicly Saturday that the events over the weekend — where skirmishes at the border led to several deaths and humanitarian aid trucks were reduced to ashes — were “false flag” provocations by the U.S. intended to pave the way for military intervention.

But he’ll have a hard time making anyone believe it as he quickly thereafter detained American journalists for filming citizens living in the shadow of his palatial presidential palace eating scraps from the back of a garbage truck.

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and his crew were eventually released, but the newsman posted a video Tuesday on his Facebook page about exactly what set Maduro off.

“They confiscated all of our cameras, all our videos.”

Ramos said he and a producer, Maria Guzman, were taken to a security room, where agents demanded their cell phones.

Ramos said he refused to give up his phone. At that point, someone turned out the lights in the room and several agents grabbed Ramos’s backpack and his cell phone, he said.

“They forced us to give them our passcodes for our cell phones,” Ramos said.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen to us, or what was happening with the rest” of the news crew.

“They don’t want the world to see” the interview or what they filmed during their reporting, he said.

That last statement is what socialist regimes like Maduro’s in Venezuela rely on, in fact: ignorance. It gives them cover to claim exactly what Maduro did Saturday – that they (not their starving citizens) are victimized by countries opposed to their human rights abuses and are inaccurately portrayed as brutal dictators.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza blamed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying his U.S. counterpart, a former director of the CIA, was “a CIA specialist in false flag operations.”

Pompeo and his “assassins,” the AVN state news agency quoted him as saying, were desperate to have a pretext for war.

On the burning of the truck, Arreaza said this had been carried out by Pompeo’s “own agents.”

“If he wants to locate those who burned the truck carrying false humanitarian aid, look for them among his employees.”

And these claims of oppression work on naive Americans who flirt with the idea that socialism is somehow the political system that successfully elevates and protects the poor and rightly punishes the evil rich.

A movement called “Hands Off Venezuela” has managed to organize rallies across Canada and the U.S., saying they don’t support Maduro but they believe Guaido is only a “self-declared” interim president of Venezuela (he was in fact elected to his post and is acting in accordance with that country’s constitution), and that the Venezuelan people should be allowed to resolve the situation with their leadership without help from other countries.

Logic dictates it would be extremely difficult for people reduced to digging through garbage trucks to survive to find strength enough to battle a regime that won’t even admit their role in keeping food from entering the country and feeding these same starving people.

Vice President Mike Pence has made the position of the United States clear on the matter: we are on the side of logic.

“To leaders around the world: It’s time,” Pence said in Bogota, Colombia, on Monday. “There can be no bystanders in Venezuela’s struggle for freedom.”

“Nicolas Maduro is a usurper with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolas Maduro must go,” Pence said.

Meanwhile, avowed Democratic Socialist Party members here in the U.S. like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have taken up the mantle of ignorance in promoting their policies by misunderstanding (or misrepresenting) attempts to call them out on their vision.

And the question of whether those who promote this ideology are operating from a place of ignorance or malice remains unanswered. But Maduro’s claims of “false flag” operations certainly point heavily in one direction over the other.