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30/04/2017 | The declining quality of Venezuela’s propaganda

The Economist Staff

The president tries to come across as cuddly. It isn’t working

 

IN WEEKS of almost daily protests, opponents of Venezuela’s authoritarian regime have found different ways to express their anger. They have held raucous banner-waving marches, a silent demonstration and a sit-in on Caracas’s main roads. At least 29 people have died since March in the worst unrest in three years. Many of these were killed by armed gangs that support the government, called colectivos. The protests persist because the government has made life intolerable: shortages of food and medicine are acute, the murder rate is probably the world’s highest and democracy has been extinguished.

But all is well in the world of Nicolás Maduro, the country’s much-loathed president. While chaos engulfs Venezuela’s cities, his social-media team has been seeking to humanise the dictator with video vignettes that emphasise his homespun origins and simple wisdom. In one video, posted on his Facebook page, he rhapsodises on the innocence of childhood as he perches awkwardly on a playground swing. In another, he admires a panorama of an apparently tranquil Caracas from the safety of a cable-car gondola. Sometimes he takes to the wheel of his car with his wife, Cilia Flores, sitting glumly beside him; this is an occasion to reminisce about his early career as a bus driver. 

The social-media stream is an addition to the information arsenal of chavismo, the leftist movement founded by the late Hugo Chávez and carried on with less elan by Mr Maduro. Its main weapon was, and remains, state control of television, which repeats endlessly the risible claim that Venezuela is a victim of an economic war. Broadcasts by the president can last as long as a double-feature. Lacking Chávez’s charisma, Mr Maduro hopes to come across as cuddly in his up-close-and-personal videos (and a salsa show on radio).

Venezuelans are not beguiled. The films show a falta de respeto (lack of respect), many say. “I think he actually enjoys laughing at us,” says Daniel Torres, an engineering student.

Venezuelans are especially annoyed by a video of the president, resplendent in a white tracksuit, playing catch with Diosdado Cabello, the thuggish former president of the national assembly. “A democratic game, a constitutional game,” sniggers Mr Cabello. He helped plan many of the government’s assaults on democracy, including a botched attempt in March to transfer the powers of the legislature, now controlled by the opposition, to the supreme court, which takes orders from the government. “We are working,” promises Mr Maduro, as he tosses the ball back to his partner in misrule.

For Alberto Barrera Tyszka, an essayist, the video shows the “decadence” of chavismo. The images of frolicking well-fed politicians are an insult to the “poverty of Venezuelans”, most of whom have lost weight over the past two years, he has written. One of Mr Maduro’s clips shows him driving through a poor neighbourhood of Caracas to show off the apparent cheerfulness of the locals. A wall scrawled with the words, “Maduro, murderer of students”, is clearly visible as he drives past, but not to the oblivious president. Chavistas used to be good at propaganda. Now they cannot even get that right.

This article appeared in the The Americas section of the print edition under the headline "Rotten tomatoes"

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 



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17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
11/01/2009|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House