Pity HegemonCorp: it must break the hearts of the government’s propaganda mavens to see the work of so many years oeuined by reality like this. Though somewhat opaqued in recent days (like everything else) by Brexit, Venezuela is still making gobs of the kinds of news the Communicational Hegemony was born to suppress.

Recent days has seen impressive coverage the signature validation drive for the Maduro recall referendum and the OAS special session to discuss Secretary-general Luis Almagro request to discuss the Inter-American Democratic Charter in the case of Venezuela.

The New York Times is working to tell the human side of the crisis. Earlier this week, the New York Times provided an excellent report about the hunger crisis that fueled looting riots in the city of Cumana this month. For those looking for a Spanish version of the piece, here’s the link. Nick Casey’s dispatch and Meridith Kohut’s photos are well complemented by a video report by Ben Laffin and Megan Specia. Kudos to all of them.

But the one that really grabbed me was on French television: France 2’s main news bulletin (Journal de 20 heures) presented a great report by special correspondent Anne-Charlotte Hinet. Hinet travelled to Caracas and Maracay in order to witness the collision of food shortages, power blackouts and deplorable public hospitals. France 2 previously covered the economic problems of Venezuela on February and May of this year.


Venezuela : dans un pays en faillite

Roll over, play dead

With the Venezuelan crisis making headlines abroad, the communicational hegemony is struggling to find a counterpoint: Nicolas Maduro himself is trying to blame it all on “an international plot against the people”. But making this narrative play abroad is a tough row to hoe.

In fact, both Gabriel Hetland’s “PSFsplaining” in The Nation and George Ciccariello-Maher up against Quico on Philly NPR recently both opted for a strange kind of “roll over, play dead” rhetorical crouch rather than trying to actually defend this mess.

The hegemony knows that the narrative they built painstakingly over so many years is collapsing fast. Still, it doesn’t know how to do anything other than double down. And the response is coming along with some serious intimidation against journalists and media outlets. Well, not those on SIBCI’s or HegemonCorp’s payroll.

The offices of three newspapers have been attacked this month alone: El Nacional, El Aragueño and Correo del Caroni. At least other five regional media outlets have suffered similar actions between January and May of this year.

The attack against “El Nacional” was claimed in a pamphlet by “ChaMa”, a so-called “colectivo”, or armed Chavista group (the acronym stands for Chavez-Maduro). ChaMa used the same M.O. (hurling a home-made explosive device and excrement) in San Cristobal (targeting the regional TV channel TRT) back in May.

And let’s not forget the terrible attacks against 19 journalists by irregular groups in a single day earlier this month, while they tried to cover a protest for food shortages in Western Caracas. Photographers and camera operators were robbed of their equipment as members of the Bolivarian National Police and the National Guards openly ignored the events. IPYS Venezuela has the full account of this terrible (and deliberate) crrackdown on press coverage.

The paradoxical result of this end-run is that average Venezuelans arguably have less access to news about their own country than people abroad.

We’ll always have Twitter

The one bright spot in this landscape is social media, and especially Twitter, where the official version is never the only one. Fusion’s Manuel Rueda has the full story and puts the recent events in Cumana as the best example:

…a group started the hashtag #cumanazo after several supermarkets in the eastern city of Cumana were looted by desperate crowds who’ve had enough of the breadlines. Some images captured by citizens even seem to show policemen participating in the looting.

The widespread unrest would have make headline news in other countries. But not in Venezuela. Instead the country’s main state run TV channel led its news reporting the following day with a gripping story about a planning session for military spending.

Televen and Globovision, two privately owned television stations mentioned the situation in Cumana, but referred to it as an “irregular” situation—and one that apparently didn’t merit any photographs or video. Instead the coverage featured an interview with Cumana’s socialist governor, who said that 400 people had been arrested and assured people that there was “peace” in the city.

The hegemony is down, but definitely not out.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I was surprised to see that Globovision showed the whole OEA session live.

    Thought there would be a reaction – cadena or Maduro going crazy but as he was in Cuba and it was before 4 pm (Maduro’s normal hour for any activity) they just let it go.

    • Given the wide prevalence of homophones in the English language, this is going to happen. It also shows that spell-check is not sufficient for proofreading, as “roe” is correctly spelled.

      But as a bunch of eggheqds write for CC, perhaps “roe” is appropriate. Or that there is something fishy going on in Venezuela. 🙂

      For further play on words, consider that many blacks pronounce “whore” is as “hoe,” with the result that the lyrics to some rap songs also spell “hoe” when “whore” is intended.

  2. Gustavo, excellent reporting, once again. I don’t think it’s “arguably” that the average Venezuelan has less access to news about his own country than people abroad, at least lately–the non-existent news coverage of the Cumana uprising is a great case in point. One has only to scan the Pueblo’s favorite “Ultimas Noticias” newspaper to see a non-news Govt. propaganda sheet at its best, or, worse yet, the “Correo De Orinoco”, with a recent supplement extolling the anniversary/”achievements” of the great Pueblo Liberator Che Guevara, which rag is run by a North American woman whose father was a U. S. international business executive, and, as such, one would think should know better, but doesn’t….

  3. This is what Venezuela’s disguised Neo-Dictatorship is all about.

    Repression, abuse, threats, violence, no freedom of speech.

    But not entirely. They present themselves as “democratic”, with some elections, some relatively independent newspapers, and they go to international meetings pretending to be a fair and hard-working government “for the people”.

    But it’s just a new kind of dictatorship. 21st century style. Disguised. They’ve been in power for almost 18 years, and say they won’t ever give it up, but it’s a “democracy”.. There are many political prisoners, but “they are criminals”. They use classic dictatorship tactics to Terrorize people, threats of jail time, public beatings, but they claim it’s “socialism”.

    They claim Chavismo is a democratic system focused on helping the common people. Yet they are poorer and more miserable than ever. As the above video depicts. They really couldn’t care less about the people. And the so-called “Chavismo” ideology is nothing but a big lie. The Venezuelan corrupt politicians are as Capitalistic as it gets. They love money and properties, and travel, the good life.

    So they are not “socialists” or even “Chavistas” at all. They are bloody criminals, thieves, Capitalists. And very rich, while the people are suffering the consequences of the massive pilferage. And it’s not just Maduro or Cabello or Aristobulo. Every minister, most public employees, most people in PDVSA or Corpoelec, etc, all crooks. Enchufados. Millions of people really are corrupt by now. It’s a contagious disease. Otherwise they would not be able to survive with such “minimum salaries” 12$. Even with 10 x that you can’t buy breakfast.

    “Socialists”, “Chavistas” Castro-comunistas”?? Lies.. All they are are poorly educated, ambitious capitalistic Thieves with no moral values whatsoever.

    • Capitalist – one who invests capital (money) in productive assets and inputs of production such as raw materials and personnel, hoping to sell the goods or services produced and obtain a profit and return on capital..
      Criminals – those who violate laws.
      Thieves – those who steal or embezzle other people’s money or property.

      Verga. If everyone had gotten that straight a long time ago, they wouldn’t have the mess they have today.

    • You are completely correct about the nature of the regime, with the significant exception of calling them “Capitalists”. As Gringo pointed out, “Capitalists” do not “steal”. They invest and risk capital in order to earn a profit on their investment. The correct label for this regime is “Fascist”. Ironically, this is their most common verbal accusation used to describe their enemies. One of the hallmarks of their propaganda strategy has always been to accuse their enemies of the exact same crimes for which they are most guilty, using the most Orwellian “double speak” possible. We should be very careful not to fall into their linguistic traps, and not allow them the luxury of changing and perverting the meanings of words, at will.

    • “They are bloody criminals, thieves…” and ANTI-capitalists.

      That IS chavismo.

      chavista = “vivo criollo”

      “vivo criollo” = criminal

      Thus:

      chavista = criminal

    • I think you underestimate the delusional state of the chavista core leadership. If all they were interested in was looting, they would have done massive reforms of the economy and abandoned such lunacies as CADIVI long ago.

      How is it then that they do so much looting? Answer: they really don’t know what the numbers are. They know that there was corruption and self-dealing in the Fourth Republic, therefore there’s no real harm in taking a few small backhanders now. Or in accepting shares in enterprises which become massively profitable through state connections. They mean well, so they deserve it.

      There is no actual accounting being done, so they have no grasp on how much their buddies are stealing. The oil money is infinite, therefore the catastrophic fiscal and economic breakdown must be due to sabotage by those rotten escualidos.

      • Actually, it’s because what I’ve come to call the “lambucio and marginal mentality”, or for a slightly easier name, “malandro mentality”, the malandro, the venezuelan criminal from lower social strata, is by far more stupid than criminals in other countries, mostly because its lack of proper education other than “do things the macho way imposing yourself over others”.

        One example of the typical stupidity of the malandros is that they will kill people regardless they have no valuables to steal, which will increase the general hatred of the population against them, and thus greatly raising the chances of the malandro himself getting lynched, beaten up by the police or killed, or in the most pragmatic sense, somebody who’s been killed can’t be mugged again, so there’s less stuff to steal later. Yet, the malandro in his stupidity, thinks that there won’t be any consequences for his actions, because “he is superior”, the malandro thinks himself above the rest of the people, because that’s the general idea he’s been fed, that the ones who work are idiot fags or “pendejos” and those who steal are “machos”.

        Another example of the malandro stupidity is somebody who opens an account on mercadolibre (Buy/sell stuff page, sorta like Amazon and eBay) and proceeds to scam a couple of times, the fastest way to do that was to publish some interesting thing, getting the money and then disappearing without delivering the bought stuff, sure, the stupid got a couple of thousands of bolivars for his scam, but, how much are those bolivars going to last? And how many times can he repeat the same scam with the same ease? Those are very limited times, yet the stupid revels into thinking he’s cheated someone, that he’s avoided the “pendejo work” thing, that he’s above the others.

        Cadivi and all the foreign currency monopoly are the biggest example of the stupid malandro mendality, chavistas that are actively draining the country actually don’t care about Venezuela’s future, all they think is “I’ve to steal as much as I can while I’m here”, they don’t even think on corruption as some “sustainable” stuff, they only see the amount of dollars they can steal to stuff their accounts outside the country.

        Chavismo is the regime of the malandros, who are a bunch of criminals with overgrown superiority complexes.

  4. Regime media policies target three audiences:
    1. their own hard line followers whom they serve a meal of flagrant ready made lies and delusions to keep them happy with their own conceits ……….
    2. the general public whom they try to feed their own lies an delusions and attempt to distract from the truth, here they have largely failed because the regimes failures are so patent and so into every ones daily lives that no one is fooled . Even news that arent published get to be known thru bembaradio and digital media….people always gloat in discussing in the most truculent terms forbidden news .
    3. the outside world , here thru a sometimes slow but highly effective process the govts crimes and abuses and failures stand revealed to the glare of world opinion by the actions of many international institutions and journalists , in part because what they reveal is so dramatic and tragic and paradoxical ( the biggest oil reserves in the world which the govt itself publicized in past years now serve to underscore how utterly fraudulent their and flawed their rule is ….!!

    • Yup! Like Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

      • Lincoln was right, but unfortunately fooling some people all of the time may be all it takes to hold on to power. Some of those not-fooled can be bribed into cooperation, others can be silenced, while the rest can be slandered and demonized.

  5. Ok, so if no believes the aberrant Chavista lies, why don’t they move a finger?

    If the the “pueblo” is so oppressed and miserable will they ever react?

    My suspicion is they have plenty of cash in their pockets, not all, but many. Somehow. Palanqueados.

    Or do the math for me, minimum salaries? You gotta be kidding.

    The pueblo even buys expensive items especially n Caracas or Maracaibo. Where does all the money come from? The lines for food or anything else are full.

    In countries where “el pueblo” or the middle class, or the rich upper class have no money, there are no lines. No colas. It’s called supply and demand. I suspect a vast majority of the people still living in Vzla are either corrupt or enchufados.

    Or do the math.. Where does their cash come from?

    • Lootings , lynchings , protests are ocurring more frequently every day , if people are given a chance of voting agaisnt the govt they jump all hurdles to do so , there is the dampening effect of coercion and extortion of course . But anyone meeting people in public places hears this constant clamour , this flood of loud curses against what the govt represents ……there are of course your hard core fanatics , who believe anything the regime tells them , but every day they are a fast shrinking minority, more often than not keeping silent or being defensive about what is going on about them ……

      People line up to attempt to buy the cheapest foods when there is a chance of buying them but if they are not available there is no line of people waiting to buy those products which have to be paid at bachaquero prices…….this is happening because there is not enough money to pay for them , University polls show that the number of people going to bed with only one or two meals a day is increasing by leaps and bounds ……..I have relatives , professionals once employed in good companies who now depend on family hand outs to survive ……

      What we are witnessing is a slow motion caracazo being played out before our eyes even as the regime tries to hide the incidents andviolently repress the many outbursts of angry protests that are now such a common thing……..

    • Dude, the people go to lines because they CAN’T pay the same stuff the bachaqueros have already hoarded, because much more people than you think earn barely more than minimum wage.

      No one in his sane mind would risk getting stabbed in a 8-hour line just to save 800 bolos for a flour package.

      If people were so rich and so full of money in Venezuela, no one would be wasting time in lines, they would rather pay ten times more to avoid the lines.

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