He walks into the room he always broadcasts from, one more time. He’s greeted by his staff and handed cue cards with some of the main points to cover today. He sits on his chair, takes a sip of water and hears the broadcast director in charge say “five minutes, Mr. President.”

Nicolás Maduro is ready to go live.

Usually when a head of state is about to address the nation, attention is guaranteed. People care, the media is keen, it matters. Not here. Maduro’s ability to generate a sense of expectancy has vanished. He can cry wolf all he wants, he can denounce the opposition as warmongers, or even talk to cows.

We stopped caring.

It does him no good that two-thirds of broadcast media is under his thumb. He gets no milleage out of his battalions of Twitter bots. The whole propaganda apparatus —SIBCI they call it— can’t pierce through. It doesn’t matter how self-censorship has reduced the spectrum of topics the few privately held broadcasters can even touch on. We tuned out long ago.

Maduro’s ability to generate a sense of expectancy has vanished.

He’s tried to keep up with trends, using his Facebook channel to broadcast live. He fancies himself the star of a reality mini-series, with snippets of him driving around Caracas with the Vice-president, the first lady and a flurry of ministers, or playing some good old catch with compadre Diosdado.

It feels fake. People sense that, and dismiss it.

They’ve lost the one thing they can’t compel: our attention. Our eyes are glued on what’s really going on: Whatsapp and Twitter feeds full of the latest of the nationwide protests that have surpassed the 40 day mark. We cannot, will not, ignore the hunger crisis that now plagues city streets, and the new urban tribe its given rise to: urban garbage scavengers. And we will not look away from the unrest and repression of those who dare speak up. Those are the headlines, that is the news.

You cannot distract an enemy who will not engage. And that’s what it is… we disengaged.

The broadcast is over, the president asks for how it went.

“Just over a thousand views throughout the whole transmission on YouTube, Mr. President.”

“A thousand? Good job, gang!”, he says. Because no matter how long he speaks or how controversial the subject, people don’t care. He cries wolf, but no one comes to his aid. He’s been blacked out.

18 COMMENTS

  1. They fail to realize that less is more. If the president speaks in a “cadena” once every year or less, people listen. When the president spends a lot of the time in TV and doesnt know with what stupid bullshit fill that air time, it becomes just background.

    Apart from that… the overdose of Bolivar portraits is already bad, but damn, arent those CGI things awful.

  2. Maduro is like Nero watching Rome burn. Nero benefited from the destruction of some areas and was thus accused of starting the fire. Maduro clearly believes he will benefit from the destruction of Venezuela. It would be so easy to feed people, slow inflation, crack down on crime, but Maduro refuses to do it and punishes the nation. Why would anyone listen to him (other than bribes)?

    Maduro needs to get out now.

    • Maduro could have fed the people. It is too late now. The treasury has been almost emptied to pay the bondholders. $1000 per person X 30 million people is $30 billion. That is roughly $3 per day per person. Oil revenue after lift costs will fall at least 10 billion short of that ridiculously low number. Oil production is still falling. China still takes their cut off of the top.
      Many democracies spend between 20 – 25% of GDP on their national budgets. Venezuelan GDP is still falling. A socialist government that requires importation of almost all consumer goods like Venezuela must need at least 75%. There are very few businesses that add value to anything anymore. The lack of raw materials has destroyed the small amount that manufacturing did add to GDP. The absence of any economic data leaves me guessing. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the facts are worse than my dire estimates.
      I wonder if the regime members have traded the Venezuelan bonds. Buy them cheap and collect the interest when everyone expects a default. Then sell after the interest payment is made. It would almost be legitimate if the bonds weren’t bought with stolen or drug money.
      This may explain the insistence to put bond payments ahead of food imports when default is inevitable anyway.
      The regime knows that once they are out of power, they will be jailed. They will never peacefully leave power.
      The people know that the future will be worse than the present if the regime remains in power and that the longer Maduro reigns the more work it will take to restore Venezuela to its former glory.
      This is a true Gordian knot.
      Time is on the opposition’s side. International pressure is coming to bear on this corrupt regime. They will never enjoy their stolen riches.
      The paranoia gripping the regime must be getting more intense everyday. The question is, who will be the first to betray Maduro to save themselves?
      The MUD should offer immunity to some of the lower ranking officers. That would ratchet up the paranoia. I do not believe that the foot soldiers that are benefiting the least from this unconstitutional hostage taking of Venezuela are willing to die for the fat, corrupt, drug smuggling cadre that have enriched themselves so greatly.
      Eventually there will be no money to pay the military. That will stress their loyalty.

      • “Time is on the opposition’s side. International pressure is coming to bear on this corrupt regime. They will never enjoy their stolen riches.”
        Time is certainly not on anybody’s side but the regime’s, international pressure ????? Where, who, if this is pressure the chavistas can take that doing a handstand, and believe me that the majority of those dirty cunts have-are and will enjoy their riches until the day they die because that’s just the way the world works. Venezuela is a paradise lost for many many many years to come!

      • Agree with playing up their paranoia. Something like offering a pardon for corruption charges for less than 1 or 5 million dollars IF yo come forward with proof of bigger corruption (only valid if you were not involved human rights violations)

    • They hear him because he keeps the status quo that allows the dementia that’s making cash appear outta nowhere thanks to chavista control laws.

      So yeah, it’s for the bribes, nothing else, either they’re stealing, or they’re plainly stupid.

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