May the 3rd was a day of madness. More deaths. Protests and repression at a level of violence to make even us blanche. Nicolás Maduro on aggro mode, sitting next to a deathly Tibisay Lucena, broadcasting hate speech to the nation as he vowed to relaunch a republic he’s single-handedly destroyed. An impossibly mistimed global Whatsapp outage that, in these circumstances, spread actual panic through a population that has no other way to communicate. The bizarre, Orwellian sight of a fat communist dictator literally dancing as the country burned.

And then, the saga over Leopoldo López’s whereabouts, born of disinfo spreading like fire in an information vacuum, keeping the country in a state of nervous collapse for hours while the government got its shit together enough for Diosdado Cabello to publish a bizarre, kidnapping-style proof of life video.

It’s all too much for the frayed nerves of a nation already traumatized by the last month, and the seventeen years that preceded them.

This, for now, looks to be the new normal. Days of madness and violence in a pitiless information vacuum that acts as a petri dish for disinformation, rumor and fake news. It’s a sort of psychological war set out side-by-side with the real violence on the streets, designed to disorient and confuse, to astound and defeat voices calling for change.

Venezuela keeps plumbing new depths. As Raúl Stolk wrote, each one feels impossible to get used to…and then you do. This new normal, though…it gave me vertigo.

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