Quico says: More and more, I think the defining trait of chavismo is its penchant for deforming language; the capacity of words to transmit meanings that correspond to anything at all in the real world.
Almost any look at the day’s newspapers or any ten minutes watching VTV brings heaps and mounds of examples, but today Interior Minister Ramón Rodríguez Chacín brings us a particularly delirious case: his contention that Venezuela’s #1 trade partner, a country that sends down $80+ million to the Revolutionary Government each and every day in return for oil (and is therefore, in effect, its main financier) has a de facto “blockade” against the revolution as part of some “declared war.”
Crazy overstatement is, of course, no longer news when it comes out of chavista mouths. But what strikes me is that more and more official announcements aren’t “in tension with” the truth, or “not fully reconcilable with” the record, but in fact diametrically opposed to it.
Day is night. Black is white. Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.
Orwell called it doublethink, but what’s fascinating is that, in chavismo, doublethink takes place on the level of discourse only. For Orwell, and for observers of totalitarianism in general, doublethink had definite implications in terms of state violence, of repression, of the willingness of the powerful to impose their version of reality on society by force.
In chavismo, the visible gap between official discursive reality and “real reality” is allowed to endure, allowed to be made plain, instead of being systematically closed down through violence, like in any totalitarianism that respects itself.
It’s as though discourse and reality operate on parallel plains: never really permeating one another, in a state of ongoing estrangement that’s increasingly accepted as “normal.”
It’s not normal. It’s far, far from normal.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.