Today in Orwellianismo Endógeno

Communicational Hegemony is not just a river in Egypt...
Communicational Hegemony: It’s not just a river in Egypt…

President Maduro has announced that the government will henceforth produce a “Newscast of Truth” to be carried, en cadena, twice daily.

Just to spell this out for any newbies out there: that means every TV channel and every radio station in Venezuela will be forced to pre-empt its programming, just stop what they’re doing, and carry the same government propaganda broadcast, live, unedited, at the same time. Twice a day.

Good thing that’s not creepy and Orwellian, huh?

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. One wonders: what is the point? a) it was not clear it would be a daily so this would be a mere continuation of the existing cadena policy. b) why do this *after* you’ve bought or co-opted all broadcast media? To piss off the four cat-peelers listening to RCR live? #VillegasNoEsIzarra

    • Justin is a “moderate”, so he will be saying something like this:

      “Sure it’s a little bit of an exaggeration to call such a news outlet like that and they obviously will try to present their position in a rather favourable light, but in reality all they are doing is trying to counter the huge, pervasive presence of the neoliberal, Washington-controlled media presence. You guys really need some reality control. I know from very good sources there are twenty five million eight hundred and forty two private radio stations and channels, in private hands, which means 99.99999% of the information people get are mostly giving your position. Besides: the people have been getting a neoliberal view of the world for the last 515 years.”

      • “I know from very good sources there are twenty five million eight hundred and forty two private radio stations and channels, in private hands, which means 99.99999% of the information people get are mostly giving your position. Besides: the people have been getting a neoliberal view of the world for the last 515 years”


        They just need to start copying NK and give that radio that everybody have to have in their homes and you cannot turn it off. :O

  2. There may be a clever aspect to this. All radio and TV channels are effectively under regime/ control. Nominally independent channels are never seriously critical of the regime and frequent advocates of the regime. Routine observation shows this uniformity, discrediting the independent media and revealing the regime’s hegemony and suppression of independent speech.

    These obtrusive pro-regime broadcasts wiil provide a contrast. By comparison, the covertly controlled media will seem independent. There may be staged media conflicts between the Truth Show and other channels. Then chavernment apologists will point to these as evidence of free media in Venezuela. “If this was really a dictatorship it would be Truth Show all the time!”

    Sort of like the “free elections” in Iran, where the real rulers (the ayatollahs) veto any candidates they don’t like.

    • I’m not really on board. It’s not that most private media now defend themselves by running only anodyne or middle-of-the-road news and opinion. The defensive crouch consists in foregoing political content of any kind. The private media, for the most part – and especially in the interior – plays music, relationship advice, more music, sports, farándula, and, well, mostly just a lot of music. There’s not a lot of scope for confrontation there!

      • “There’s not a lot of scope for confrontation there!”

        Yup. I think people are getting carried away by the name. From the announcement it sounds pretty much like putting VTV campaign micros in cadena. Obras here, handouts there. Upping the lottery adverts to tamp down discontent.

    • Hitchens suggested that Orwell, in his 1984, ‘… posited a regime that would go to any lengths to own and possess history, to rewrite and construct it, and to inculcate it by means of coercion.’ And Hitchens thought Huxley’s Brave New World was about ‘vacant servitude’.

      The growing opposition needs to combat the regime’s heinous narrative and remind Venezuelans over and over again in every possible medium available that a just nation adheres to democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law — and ensures that its solitudes meet, greet and protect each other. That the ‘Newscasts of Truth’ will likely approximate the mess that adheres unpleasantly, from time to time, to the bottom of one’s shoe while walking in a dog park is another big opportunity for the opposition to compare and contrast its vision of Venezuela with the performance of the current 14 year old authoritarian hegemony.

    • The MInistry of Interior and Justice was already named Ministry of Interior, Justice and Peace, maybe they could also name Sebin the Ministry of Love.

  3. There are truths which cannot be hidden or distorted or silenced through media manipulations or the methodical dissemination of false stories , and thats the truth that people see and experience in their everyday life (for example when they shop for food or for medicines or suffer through the process of getting something from the govt , or take their car to the mechanics and the spares are unavailable , and the lift in their appartment or workplace cant be fixed because there are no imported parts etc) . People when they experience these things dont just remain silent , they talk and protest and speak to each other and tell their family friends and neighbors . This anti govt ‘propaganda’ is everywhere and its basically tamper proof , it reaches to every nook and cracy of Venezuelan life . When people compare this bad publicity born of peoples experiences in everyday life and then hear the fake information broadcast through govt mandated media programs , their response is not one of belief but one of incredulity , more over of feeling insulted and indignant at the govts evident attempt to hide the truth or present a concocted ‘truth’ which actually cannot be believed . Those govt clips are not going to convince anybody except for those fanatics which against all evidence need not convincing those whove already sold their minds to whatever the govt tells them !!. Venezuelans like to talk to each other, and produce mountains of gossip which reveal the truth about the govts sorry performance and misdeeds . Lord Beaverbrook , the famous British public personage once thought that he might influence the opinions of the british public by buying newspaper and having them publish the news according to how he saw them . Then polls of his papers readers told him that they did not buy the opinions that he was publishing in them .
    You can put a plate of food in front of a group of animals but you cant make them eat it . Same thing here , nothing they say in those mandatory clips will change the mind of those whose experiences and observations tell them a different story .!! The govt has lost all credibility through 15 years of repeated lies and misinformation , forcing people to hear its version of things isnt going to restore their credibility !!

    • Bill Blass,

      To some extent I think you are right however, there is another side.In Belarus, a certain percentage of the people know the government lies but are still too afraid to speak up -and there is always a percentage of the lies told that have some power .

      The first and most important power is to seed doubt.Doubt takes away our power to act on conviction.Doubt takes away the strength of the mind , and it foments dependence.

      Ultimately it will not matter that many people still perceive reality to any extent, if they become doubtful, and they cannot do anything about the situation because they lose confidence in themselves, which is what dependence does to us.

      There are already masses of people out there who feel dependent.They simply do not see that they are the masters of their own fate.

      This dependence keeps them from acting in their own best interest and even from seeing reality as it is.

      How many people out there even today, ignore statistics and do not ” see” just how dangerous Venezuela is today? I have many people tell me that some people are exaggerating the danger.

      • Firepiggette your probably right in that the govt by putting up their daily show can demoralize people and make them feel impotent to take charge of their fate ( a reinforcement of so called ‘learned helplessness) , What probably feeds my belief that this might not prove so easy for them is that my living in this country means constant interaction with many other people of all conditions in supermarkets , queues in banks , government offices, hospital , in dozens of places . and the mood among the people I and my kin find in these places is not one of doubt but of generalized incredulity and dissatisfaction , of open sarcasm and anger at how they feel their lives are affected by govt policies and actions . Its true that some people already primed to believe what the regime tells them will find in these clips support for their already existing delusions . But many other people are not so easily fooled by govts elaborate propaganda effort.
        There are of course facts or experiences which meaning you can manipulate through manufactured interpretations , there are others however which are so poignant and unequivocal that they dont lend themselves too easily to shoddily manufactured interpretations. Specially where memory survives of how things were before the regime took control of our lives.

      • The difference in the brainwashing techniques of the North Korean regime and that of the Chavista regime are the same that separate the pathological from the pathetic !! Of course the pathetic could become pathological with time and very strenous effort but generally the spirit of the normal Venezuelan is deeply and gleefully skeptical of govt messages , As Orwell once wrote you can control what people (publicly) say or hear but you cant control what people think !! Even after many years of govt control of all media , schooling , public discourse in the soviet sphere of influence , most people could tell that for the most part the govt was lying . N. Korea is not a country its a basket case , a nut house where the head shrink is himself a lunatic !!

  4. There are a lot of people who are really convinced that they have The Answer. They are convinced that if only other people were exposed to their message, the scales would fall from eyes and the world would be saved.

    This is far from limited to leftists. Evangelists in the plaza here compete with one another, using ever-bigger amplifiers. I have asked quite a few why they feel a need to make the plaza so unpleasant. I like to point out that Christians were more successful in the 1,900 years during which they didn’t have amplifiers. But they say the same thing — they feel a responsibility to expose people to this Truth that they have discovered.

    Unfortunately people with The Answer are psychologically protected from a basic question. If people aren’t acting how I would like, could the problem be that they have heard my message and rejected it?

    • I bet most of those evangelicals dream of being able to forcefully takeover every other evangelist’s loudspeaker, every iPod and private speaker, and make sure only HIS message can be heard. Bueno, en eso estamos…

    • Once people by themselves or through enviromental/social conditioning adopt a system of beliefs which purports to be omniexplanatory its very difficult to change their minds or accept even the partial truthfulness of other beliefs, Every bit of evidence is instinctively interpreted so that it serves to confirm or validate their beliefs and invalidate all others.
      There are a number of modern studies that confirm this paradigm of human behaviour. Beliefs are personalized and glamorized , used to prop up ones self regard and thus are made impregnable to any counter interpretation. People enjoy Protagonism , Loudly and self proudly and self righteously professing with as much passion as possible their beliefs and their scorn of all others. What differs is the capacity of people with one kind of beliefs to respect people with other beliefs enough so that they can share a common social space and work together . They dont give up their beliefs to work with people with other beliefs , thats almost impossible , they just learn to let their beliefs aside for a while and go for some common goal which will benefit every one regardless of the beliefs they hold . This is the work of politics !! Trying to impose your beliefs and their implications on others is war , not necessarily violent war but nonethe less a strife or status of confrontation where you pretend to absolutely impose your views on others .
      There are some interesting studies on this subject by Jonathan Haidt of Virginia University well worth the read.

      • I’m curious how many opposition commenters here see this unwavering fanatic belief clearly in the political sphere but are equally guilty of it in their personal religious attitudes, considering the parallel. I’d think that being able to see the brainwashing & lies in politics (especially chavismo) for what they truly are would prompt some people to reevaluate their own convictions in other arenas (to whatever end). That’s sort of the first thing that comes to my mind when I see Capriles’ religious tweets/status updates, the irony that he’s fighting a political indoctrination while embracing a very similar religious indoctrination… unless the catholi-speak is just pandering.

        • The last 350 years of intellectual development in the West since the end of the 30 years war just and the church’s acceptance of a secular but religiously toleraant state passed you right by didn’t they?

          • Haha ouch! That’s kind of a dick response to a pretty valid question and a non-answer on top of it. I didn’t peg you as the easily offended religious type. Nonetheless, I apologize for not being clear but I’m posting from the Imperial Empire aka the USA where the “church’s acceptance of a secular but religiously tolerant state” is a laughable concept. Maybe you’re not familiar with the charismatic religious movement which is about 50 years strong and is rendering moot or in the least is undermining those “last 350 years of intellectual development” and the hope of a continued distinction between church and state.

            Anyways.. how can you watch with incredulity as Chavismo leads the masses to drink the kool-aid and not once think of how maybe, just MAYBE your religious leaders may be doing the same to you? I see blind faith in politics equally as dangerous and nonsensical as blind faith in religion but I guess that’s an unpopular stance. Thanks Bill for actually responding.

          • Our religious leaders? One usually says “religious leaders” when the leader is leading a religious movement, not when he is per se religious.
            Most people don’t care about Capriles’ Catholicism. So: Capriles might be a “leader” for those who need a leader, he is definitely religious but he is not our religious leader. His mentions of this or that “virgin” are mostly ignored more than when he mentions his favourite baseball team. That’s Venezuela. If you want to discuss US religious matters…perhaps there is another blog out there.

          • it seems that by including that last bit about Capriles in my original post it may have been a bit distracting & irrelevant. My whole point is about how being a spectator of a political movement that has become cult-like (in that its adherents no longer use logic or reason to question said movement’s validity) could potentially make one identify a similar phenomenon in themselves with their own religious beliefs. Once a follower has grown to believe the thing they are following is infallible they’ve hit the point of no return.

            And no I’m not trying to chat about US religious matters.. I was just replying to Francisco’s ad hominem bit that may have been a bit more applicable to a European than an American considering we have a special kind of religious dynamic over here.

          • I’m rereading it and I see how I was unclear.. I’m not at all implying that Capriles is considered a religious leader.. I’m simply connecting fanaticism in the political realm with what we’d all call “faith” in the church. Sorry about the confusion.

          • I’m not the easily-offended religious type, I’m the easily-offended-when-people-mindlessly-transplant-gringo-controversies-gring-sensibilities-and-gringo-outlooks-to-a-cultural/religious-context-where-they-just-don’t-make-any-sense type.

            The Catholic church made its peace with ecumenism half-a-century ago, and there are any number of examples in the region of politicians who are both fervent believers and defenders of the secular order. In this context, your hit job on Capriles just doesn’t make any sense, and no, I have next-to-no patience for it.


          • holy balls Francisco there was no hit job on Capriles in what I wrote! I’m as big a fan of Capriles as an American could be and had I Venezuelan citizenship I’d have been the first to drive to New Orleans and vote.. I think you totally misunderstood me.. my fault for being so gringo, I guess if that’s what I am. The “hit job” is on religious thinking and only at an individual level.. I was only mentioning that I thought there was a sort of irony in Capriles’ being Catholic being the Catholic church is itself a cult in the very same way that Chavismo is! Sorry I’m new here, David-Dee, Capitalist, medio-gringo, native-Miamian, Venezuelan Opposition Supporter and poor communicator. Pleased to meet you.

        • For most people in todays modern world religious beliefs are part of the private sphere, not of the public or political sphere but many pols claim inspiration from the former out of personal conviction or because of the public prestige attending religious beliefs in general . Cant be helped !!. What is a more dangerous tendency is the attempt at transforming political beliefs into highly sectarian and histrionic religious creeds , vide the regime sponsored cult of the Dear Defunct Leader .!! the danger is not in religion getting mixed up with politics but in politics trying to replace religion and become a religion itself .

        • david, you might know that there is a proposed law in Quebec banning public sector employees from wearing religious symbols to work. Does that to you sound like a reasonable secular remedy for fanaticism and the imposition of beliefs, or instead, exactly those things?

          • it doesn’t sound reasonable at all. It sounds like an over-reaction and an infringement on religious liberty. I can’t speak on behalf of other non-theists because we’re not very unified but I think most Atheists/Agnostics that I know would find such legislation a bit appalling. We want religious influence out of the government but likewise we also do not want the government enforcing our lack of religion.

          • So what I hear you saying is that there should be a zone of tolerance around religious expression for public officials. I agree. Where we may differ is where that line is drawn. Or whether there need be a line drawn. Here’s another example. Martin Luther King was a preacher. He was also an important leader of the civil rights movement. When he spoke, was he preaching (religious) fanaticism, or was he speaking out for the (secular) principles of equality and social justice?

            Not to compare Capriles to MLK, but you see my point about how public figures can mix their politics and their religion (if they have one), and it can be fine, it can even be a force for good. If it connects people. I mean, Christopher Hitchens on this area is great and all that, but he overstates his point. (That’s partly why I admire his writing).

            What I do not see in Venezuela is any zone of tolerance around dissent from the government line. People who speak out publicly are ostracized, called “fascists”, “esqualidos” (a term signifying less than equal), mafia etc etc. So I see no equivalence between Capriles twittering religious homilies, and the intolerance of chavismo propaganda. That equivalence is what your comments suggested to me, but maybe I got it wrong, or you did not clearly make your point.

          • We were on the subject from Guatchi Man about people believing that they have “the answer” that their belief is the correct one.. Bill Bass went further into it about people’s belief systems being so unwavering that every bit of information they take in is contorted positively in favor of that belief system. My comment was merely to point out that when you consider all of us here (with the exception of the chavista trolls) being free of the brainwashing of Chavismo we can clearly see that their movement has become cult-like. Many no longer even question Chavismo’s legitimacy, the movement has reached a status of infallibility among the hard-core believers. NOW by mere virtue of being able to identify & aknowledge that, it’s safe to say we belong to a particular group of people that is at least capable of thinking critically. Therefore I would think that all of us who see Chavista’s indoctrination so clearly should naturally be prompted to evaluate OTHER things we believe to be infallible, like our beliefs in god. So this comment was merely an add-on to what Bill Bass was saying, but my ultimate point was to be that most people’s religious fervor can not be toppled by merely a clever “opposition” argument from a non-theist but would require an internal epiphany on the part of the believer and the same goes with political beliefs especially when the indoctrination is as strong as Chavismo.

            NOW – my comment about Capriles was merely this: because I a non-theist see the Catholic church as a group of people who hold an irrational belief, like a cult (sorry if that’s offensive), I only mentioned that the above concept always comes to mind whenever I see a very Catholic status update from Capriles, because of the irony of a member of religious cult, fighting to reveal truths to members of a political cult. I know calling the catholic church a cult is pretty insulting to many but I’m just making a point. Maybe that’s a bizarre way to connect two dots that doesn’t make sense for anyone else and that’s probably where I should have just ended the comment and avoided all this confusion. There was no attack on Capriles and I certainly don’t discount him based on his Catholicism anymore or less than I would my own Catholic mother. In fact it was someone else around here who seemed ready to feed him to the wolves just a few weeks ago.

            I’ll just slide back into the shadows now..

  5. One can only wonder what this regime will do next, saying every time ‘It’s crazy they couldn’t do worse” but they go and outdo themselves every time!!? It’s bloody insulting if you ask me, thinking the people will buy it up, but sadly they seem to, as these kind of things just continue…

  6. Maybe this could be a good thing; other than blatantly brain washing in intention, one could even agree with our chavist countrymen that the cadenas are also mind numbingly boring. Maybe this could serve as a way to get people away from the boob tube, for a while.

  7. I think this is the wrong take. Orwell seems more about mind control through control of perception. Chavismo seems more about control through connection, like the mafia, or an abusive spouse. It’s about entering people’s homes and making them feel chavismo is with you, all the time. It’s about making people feel thankful for what they get from chavismo, happy for being close to chavismo, and fearful if they go against the omniscient, all powerful chavismo. It’s not that people believe; it’s that they see no alternative.

      • I’m not sure. I think that even if the method is the same, the reason for it is different. Both have a Truth to control for perception, but the focus I see in Orwell is about making the truth be the truth, whereas I see chavismo more about making the truth be almost about having an emotional connection with the storyteller, regardless of whether the people are buying the truth.

        For example, note how many of their candidates are TV personalities. I see that very consistent with their taking over the airwaves. They are trying to get the chavismo leaders be TV personalities because they know people get emotionally connected to famous people almost as if they know them. Se les perdonan mas cosas. Se les escucha mas.

        This is from Gramsci: one must make people stop listening to experts and educated people as if their opinions were superior in thinking to theirs. To do so, one must make the illogical the new logic. I think chavismo is still going along those lines and these cadenas are just one more way of making it happen. Being smart and knowledgeable is no longer rewarded by society by being spotlighted on TV; being chavista through and through is the thing to be to get on the air.

        The same applies to billboards. In Orwell it was more about making people feel watched. In chavismo it seems more about making people feel accompanied.

        You may be right. After all, I’m only talking about my perception, which clearly is not target…

      • I agree it is Orwellian, but I see a strong distinction. The Orwellian description seems to think more highly of its people by at least trying to appeal to the intellect, whereas chavismo seems to think that being inherently consistent is unnecessary; they keep it much more at the emotional level. For example, Orwellian world cared about changing the history archive in great detail so that a researcher would end up with the same story that they sell. In chavismo, they don’t seem to think it’s important to even make sense, let alone make it consistent.

  8. I´m not sure but I think that the official newspaper in 1984 was named “Pravda” which means “The Truth” in russian, so much like ” The Diary of Truth”, pretty close huh?

  9. But what I want to know is what are they gonna do after everybody start turning their radios/tvs off, because even chavistas rajados are not in the mood of sleeping pills at noon, you know. If they had it with Chavez who lost his call in life (he really was a comedian at heart) imagine what tolerance they will have to Maduro talking about penes and atletos. Zzz….


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here