Évole vs. Maduro: The Salvados Interview

Nicolás Maduro tried to look like a wise, democratic leader in the Salvados interview from yesterday. Whether he did or not is something we’ll let you decide.

So, the highly-anticipated #MaduroEnSalvados interview was aired in both Spain and Venezuela, and we could watch it in its entirety.

For the record, I’ve never watched a Salvados episode before today. So, if I missed any specific reference or a quirk of Evole’s style, my apologies. I’ll keep it as spoiler-free as possible for those who want to watch it later.

Now I get why Maduro was mad. The show begins with a long wait in the Ayacucho Room of Miraflores. After a credit sequence loaded with anticipation, Évole gets a crash course in Venezuela, courtesy of Spanish journalist Alicia Hernández. Then we go to San Agustín, where we see what’s the daily routine in both the local abasto and the CLAP program.

The first half of the show was about the overall crisis we’re living in and, interestingly, a chat with three men to discuss what’s causing the crisis and how to solve it. One was chavista, another was opposition and the other was “ni-ni”.

The second half was about the protests of recent months and the human rights violations. Maduro eluded all accusations and resorted to a strategy of deflection. He used the same arguments we’re used to hearing: the economic war, the foreign intervention, evil organizations reporting “fake data” (like local NGOs Caritas, Transparency and the Foro Penal Venezolano). Halfway through it all, I stopped taking notes on his words because they became so predictable, a script we already know by heart.

For some, we are a sensationalist trainwreck and, for others, an ideological banner.

He was mostly stoic, but sometimes came on as too defensive.

As for Mr. Évole, he was well prepared in his questions and seemed in control. He didn’t try to dominate the interview, letting Maduro speak, allowing him space to make his points. Personally, I think the biggest moment came when Évole showed Maduro the pack of bills someone in Venezuela needs right now to buy diapers. Better than a thousand words.

Salvados somehow lived up to the huge expectations of the last few days. The truth about the media attention Venezuela is getting in Spain is both pragmatic and simple: for some, we are a sensationalist trainwreck and, for others, an ideological banner. In the end, this is the kind of interview that’s impossible to do here, in today’s hegemony-driven media landscape, but at the same time, I don’t think it’ll satisfy those who wanted a clear explanation of what’s going on. If you have the chance to watch it but you’re still on the fence, watch it. It’s worth it.

And guess what? Looks like it was just the first part.