The media's shame

Graph courtesy of Quico
Graph courtesy of Quico

One of the good things about the current wave of protests is that they have underscored just how challenging it is going to be to get information on the opposition’s message out into the general public. After last week’s events went largely ignored by the local TV and radio media, people started commenting on Twitter about how a large number of their acquaintances simply had no idea what was going on. And that was before Twitter itself became the victim of censorship!

Now, let me be clear: most important information is out there, it’s just that it’s harder to get. I don’t think communicational hegemony has reached a point where we simply can’t know what’s going on.

This poses risks, but also potential benefits. No longer will we just settle on trusting that Globovisión will carry whatever little thing we do. We will now have to explore the use of other outlets – Twitter,, Facebook, loudspeakers in the barrios, even blogs.

The new media landscape will force protestors to plan out a media strategy. That won’t be easy, but it will make the movement better. Sadly, it’s the deck we’ve been dealt, and the one we have to play with.

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  1. The work that needs to be done is more the work that the extreme left was doing 50 to 30 years ago.

    Here I put the machine-translated article of a Soviet (now Russian) kind of “National Geographic”

    The translation is crappy but it gives some hints from the second half of the article.
    That was in 1983.
    Now it’s more about information networks, propaganda.
    One thing that needs to be taken care of is infiltration. The extreme left has been experts on this since when Vladimir Ilianov was a baby.

  2. We’ve seen it in Ukraine, Syria, Egypt and many other places. New media has been filling the gap between what goes on in the streets and what the media reports. The real question we should address is if new media can actually be able to reach people deep in the “barrios” or in small towns or cacerios outside of the big cities. Most people outside of the big cities (and outside of the middle class) have no access to blogs, Twitter, non-government regulated news streams (i.e. NTN24 or even and furthermore might not even know of the existence of such options. Once we achieve to reach those who aren’t usually active or aware of new media options than we might be able to defeat the communicational hegemony.

    • Has anyone ever investigated the possibility of doing uncensored radio broadcasts from one of the surrounding countries?

      For instance, TWR has this huge medium wave transmitter on Bonaire that reaches a large part of Latin America, and according to their schedule, it’s not even switched on for most of the day. That’s just an example, maybe there are other stations that could be hired or persuaded to help.

      Yes, you’ll need money and people to do something like that but you will be able to reach the people without internet.

  3. Has anyone here reached out to the opposition? I think now more than ever a plan is needed with some very simple demands that people can relate to.

    Why is Capriles silent? Is he worried about his own self interests.

  4. Por allí va la cosa Quico. Las redes electrónicas y sociales (en el sentido humano) sí están funcionando. La convocatoria de ayer es una demostración de ello. Ahora hay que hacer que estos mensajes “suban cerro”. Eso tiene hoy en día sus grandes riesgos, pues implica meterse en las zonas populares. Los colectivos paramilitares no lo permitirán. Si el muro del silencio cae de ese lado de la sociedad (del lado de los pobres), el miedo irá cediendo y la arrechera se irá expresando (y no me digan que entre los pobres no hay arrechera).

    • Hay un grupo de chicos volanteando en la calle. Todos los días diseñan un volante nuevo actualizado con los acontecimientos del día, sacan copia y se van a la calle. Para lo que no tienen redes electrónicas y sociales es una excelente opción de hacerles llegar la información.

      • El volanteo es uno de los mejores métodos. Aun así, creo que tienen que enfocar no solo la difusión de información sobre eventos actuales, sino tratar temas de fondo. Lamentablemente, no estoy seguro de que muchos de ellos sepan hacerlo.
        Me refiero a pasar información sobre el grado de nepotismo, sobre los beneficios de los militares y su corrupción, sobre los casos de corrupción en torno a PDVSA, etc, sobre el hecho de que en países vecinos no hay gente en cola por leche o pollo, sobre el hecho de que hay algo llamado “tasa de homicidios” y esta es la que verdaderamente muestra que el gobierno no le importa, sobre el hecho de que en Chile y otros países un maestro puede ganar suficiente para alquilar un apartamentito siquiera,

          • I still think it needs more context.
            Think about this: think about someone who has never been abroad and who doesn’t know Colombians can actually buy toilette paper and chicken and milk without queuing up.
            Also think about the structural things, the things these students should say about Venezuela at large, Venezuela on the long run.

          • Think also about this. The link I sent (admittedly , a very very crappy machine translation from Russian to English) is about how the commies were penetrating in the slums of Caracas in 1983. I knew them even if I was a child because I would go to the Soviet Embassy to get Russian books (not that I were commie).
            I saw, on the side, their workings (they thought I was an early commie, I was not). They were not talking and writing about one event at one moment. They had a vision. It was a faulty vision and it was something really almost like the Jehova Witnesses, but it was some kind of vision. And they were going after permanent topics, like income distribution and health.
            I remember how in 1990 I still saw a young commie get into a bus in Southern Valencia going towards the North and the guy was talking about the marvels of the Soviet Union. I was amazed at the chutzpah: it was at a time when the USSR was falling apart. But he had his little credo and his message.
            We could do better than that guy. But even that guy did get into something once their time was “ready”.

            Students should go beyond their own topics and go into more general and permanent issues. And propose things.
            It won’t be easy but that’s one of the things they should do, with out help.

          • Ponerle toda la responsabilidad a los estudiantes no es la idea. Cada sección de la sociedad interesada puede realizar los volantes con los temas que a ellos les interesa y concierne. Los únicos que estamos jodidos somos los del ámbito ambiental, volantear es un big no no

          • EN FUCKING SERIO!?!??



          • Yes, STFU. It’s time we should plan things better. And the things I am saying here are things I am saying for well over 5 years. And it is also because I usually don’t speak in English and most of the people I know in Venezuela don’t communicate in English via Twitter or over the Internet. And it’s because I went to study in a place that is still dominated by Chavismo.

            Now go and bite your bone.

          • Lo perfecto es enemigo de lo bueno.

            It’s a huge improvement. They’ll get better at it, maybe they’ll get more ideas/thinkers/designers to help.

            Maybe you should write up or design a counter proposal, then someone can use it or improve on it.

          • I actually have been doing it, sending the information to Venezuela, in Spanish, to students I know.
            And then writing here to people at the EU and to the media here as well. Se hace lo que se puede.

          • Black and white is fine. First of all: colours are very expensive. Secondly: really black and white is more powerful, it also shows it’s not like they are advertising for McDonald’s, this is not commercial and they have no money. The text, writing a consistent text, well written and with biting parts against the Boligarchs is the key.

  5. There is extremely strong opposition to the Chavista Regime, in Lima, Peru. While this is not the Humalista/Chavista Government that feels this way, Peru’s opposition understands that President Humala wants to bring this monster to Peru. So Peru 21 and El Commercial, not controlled by the government, report the truth. Get reliable info to them.

    Peru can be the gateway for truth to get out to the rest of South America. There is only so long that South America can keep its head in the sand.

    • Stuart, I agree…mainly because I think it is mostly the Latins who can help the Latins because of common language, common culture, Latin Pride and xenophobia.There is the issue of trust or lack of that can interfere with how people receive messages.

      I very much liked your comment over at Miguel’s the other day, where you mentioned the importance of possible future Latin American allies.

      The problem is is that LA is incredibly corrupt…but we can hope for at least a few countries to participate in getting out the message and giving solidarity….Costa Rica, Peru, maybe Colombia at some point.Once a ball starts rolling… tends to stay in motion.It’s a matter of reversing the direction.

        • Stuart Freeman, find leaders that steal just a little?! How about changing the system to eliminate the opportunity and the incentive? Right now, it’s quite the contrary.

          • Extorres,

            We have to be practical.It’s not realistic to expect that there will never be any corruption at all.The only hope is to reduce it.

          • Firepigette, I know enough about ying and yang to know one cannot eliminate corruption; I said eliminate the opportunity and the incentive. Those are both practical and realistic goals that would *in all likelihood* reduce corruption.


    Secretary General of APRA(Ex-President Garcia’s Party), Jorge del Castillo requested that the Government (Peru) should care about the status of Lopez, who, he said, was arrested for political reasons.
    “I hope that the government(Peruvian gov) adopts a position defending democracy and orders guarantees for the safety of the Venezuelan leader. There has to be an international crusade,” he said.

    An International crusade led by LA countries will be the defining moment for all of South America, not just Venezuela. As Firepigette says, LA countries must begin, “reversing the direction.” And then maybe, these dark hours that Venezuelan’s are going through, will light positive fires in the rest of Soutn America.

  7. It would be AWESOME, if someone took the new lego’s movie soundtrack and overdubbed pictures of what is happening right now in Venezeula. It is really fitting!

  8. Its now more common for tv channels in Venezuela and abroad to transmit news and images which they dared not before . very noticiable CNN which has become very aggresive in broadcasting the news with a more open slant than it did previously . news about Venezuela has sprouted in other international channels ( Colombia Argentina , Chile) and usually with an anti govt slant. Even globovision hurt by some recent defections is showing more images which show anti guvernamental demonstrations and opinions than before ( a belated effort to show they are independent).
    The you have news which tell a story beyond the story , Metrobus is stopping bus service to places where they claim where their buses are being savagely attacked and those include places traditionally not viewed as middle class , there is no pass towards Antimano because the protest have closed down the Fco Fajardo.
    Maduro issuing a twitter yesterday before day brake announcing that money would be available to build food and medical supplies for the next four months. The drawn haggard faces of the gov leaders as they listen to Maduro speak and look at each other questioningly .

    • It is. Nobody said it would be easy. I have been saying: it will get harder and harder. And they need to use principles of striking, distributing and disappearing, a little bit like a flash mob but without the fun and with much less time.
      Id est: Venezuelans (not only students) must be sure to organise themselves to appear at a certain place, several with hidden cameras, all knowing the area and at an exact time – watches synchronized – distribute flyers very fast and disappear. If they are attacked, they should have several plans to take pictures from different angles and send them to the rest of Venezuela, to foreign journalists etc.

      And it won’t be easy, but that’s the way to go.

    • Nobody said volanteo was a piece of cake. Perhaps places like Nuevo Circo Bus Terminal or nearby Río Tuy Terminal (In downtown Caracas) can be an effective venue. Also Plaza Venezuela, where people are queuing for the buses to Los Teques or San Antonio.

      The terminals at the other end in outer cities like Charallave, Cua, Ocumare, Guarenas, Guatire, Los Teques, etc could also be used.

      There’s also informal terminals around La California, where people queue for buses to take them home in Petare and other regions.

      High foot traffic places like the Catia Boulevard or the Sabana Grande Boulevard, could also serve as alternatives.

      Back when the Constitutional Reform campaign was in motion, I joined some college friends and we gave away fliers all over Baruta Town, near Plaza Bolívar de Baruta. It’s a transport hub with lots of queues for people going home to more remote ares in the municipality, or going back to Caracas.

  9. Question, which are the best sources for current events in Venezuela in your experience? Who is providing timely, trustworthy twitter feeds? Any suggestions? Noticias24 seems to only be publishing government propaganda.

    • My VZ media diet these days

      1. Twitter
      2. Twitter
      3. Twitter
      4. Twitter
      5. Twitter
      6. Twitter
      7. Twitter
      8. Twitter
      9. Twitter
      10. Twitter
      11. Twitter
      12. Twitter
      13. Twitter
      14. NTN24
      15. Twitter
      16. Twitter
      17. Twitter
      18. Twitter
      19. El Universal
      20. Twitter
      21. Twitter
      22. El Nacional
      23. Twitter
      24. Twitter
      25. Correo del Caroni

    • My routine is El Mundo, Ultimas Noticias, El Universal and maybe a regional paper if I want to know more about a specific event outside Caracas.

    • Colombian media isn’t doing a bad job, but they are of course reporting on Venezuela much less and you have to wade through all our crap. Caracol Radio and their twitter feed is updated with tha hashtag #crisisenvenezuela. I was even relaying info into Venezuela from them, as well as

  10. Can I make a suggestion from outside the country for one small way of getting around the regime’s communications hegemony?

    Put some of the dramatic pictures of Lopez’s arrest on t-shirts and distribute them as widely as possible. It’s a way of informing people of what’s been happening as you go about your daily routines.

  11. Flyers, pamphlets, “pirate” radio stations and other “low-tech” information dissemination methods should definitely be in play way more than they have been in the past. Dangerous work to be sure but necessary.

    And it’s not too early to remind everyone ad nauseam that the REP and electronic voting machines are already primed to ensure the regime’s (and Cuba’s) continued supremacy come election time, meaning changes to the process also need to be addressed.

    (I say this knowing that there’s some here who still pooh-pooh the notion that the REP and electronic system are enough to sway an election, but I’d take a bet that “el pueblo en la calle” don’t hold that opinion and that should be reason enough to demand a return to ‘old fashioned’ elections).

  12. Sometimes it baffles me that MUD seems so lost on communication strategy. This is the hour when dinosaur experience would come in handy.

    I mean there’s old politicians (like Petkoff, Pompeyo, Américo Martín, and other old adecos, urredistas, copeyanos, masistas) who went clandestine before Caldera I’s pacification, against Leoni, Betancourt and/or MPJ. They had no access to Globovisión, and MPJ actively censored the media (radio, tv and press). These guys should know what kind of worked back then, and what didn’t.

    The other day I was reading about Luis Herrera Campins, during MPJ, and it all seemed so relevant, the prosecution, inter-party rivalries, participating or not, issues to press. What did these guys at AD and COPEI study?

  13. The slow strangulation of Venezuela’s media was all for this day. This regime understood way back that it could not hold on to power in an environment of free expression. It was preparing for this day.

  14. Soy curiosidad por saber lo que el blog Plataforma es utilización ?
    Estoy experimentando tiene algún small Ediciones con mi último página y lo
    haría gustaría encontrar algo más seguro seguro.

    ?Tiene algún Sugerencias ?


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