Within 24 hours of being published, two YouTube videos posted on Saturday by Venezuelan animator Ibrah Chaffardet questioning the authenticity of the news photos of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have gotten over 200,000 views combined. The videos are in response to a series of photos posted by the Venezuelan government on Friday, showing a smiling Chávez with his two daughters. According to Reuters, these were “the first photos of cancer-stricken Hugo Chávez since his surgery in Cuba more than two months ago.”
According to CNN en Español, Chaffardet claims to specialize in digital image modification.
The first video explains how the Gramma newspaper that Chávez is holding has a very distorted curvature look, suggesting an “obvious mistake” with Photoshop. In the video, Chaffardet tries to replicate the mistake through a demonstration.
In the second video, Chaffardet suggests that Chávez’s forehead is missing from the published image and he also shows how a portion of Chávez’s skin could have been cloned to cover other areas of his face.
The CNN en Español piece also reported that another photographer questioned the image’s authenticity. Reports also confirm Chávez is breathing through a tracheal tube that prevents the Venezuelan president from speaking.