Photo: Cambio 16

UPDATED, 5-21-2018:

Fellas, we owe you a mea culpa.

See, when we originally published this piece, our goal was to call your attention to something that’s really happening: chavismo is paying a lot of money on a Nicolás Maduro internet campaign, in dollars, with no type of controls or transparency. Political parties are supposed to submit exact figures of how much they spend on campaigns to the electoral arbiter, the CNE, and that data must be available for everyone to check. It’s one of the many measures against corruption that rule our society, but not really.

The PSUV, even before it had that name, has been super-efficient at bending the rules of democracy. This time, for example, Maduro’s campaign is funded by parties backing him and by an organization called “Somos Venezuela”, presided by Delcy Rodríguez herself. Since Somos Venezuela is not an actual party, but a conglomerate of activists, it escapes the rules theoretically enough to be brought into practice by the abuses of authority we’re accustomed to. We’re pretty sure this isn’t new: the publicity of information principle has been there for over a decade, and the CNE has never, ever, shown these figures.

If you’re in Venezuela, you’ve seen it each time you surf the web, Nicolás Maduro with his uncaring smile in ads that promise a future as if this system hasn’t been in power for almost 20 years. If Venezuela’s coffers don’t have enough money to import the food that people need, or pay debt and avoid the seizure of PDVSA actives, can someone please tell us how this campaign is financed, and by whom?

That was our intention, anyway. In practice, we couldn’t really nail the exact figures of how much was spent, according to which rate, according to which fee. Different sites, like Facebook and YouTube, work with different systems. Time and time again the numbers we got were obviously wrong (and some of you guys caught it in the comments) and, after taking the piece down and considering the sums from different angles, we’ve decided to not to publish a revised version of the piece you previously read at this link.

If we don’t have precise sources or data to provide you the accurate bill of what the reds have been paying, the effort is for naught. Approximations don’t work and you deserve precision.

We’ll keep our eyes extra open in the future to avoid incidents like this, knowing that if we miss the mark on a subject, you’ll notice it immediately.

Thank you.



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  1. Ok this can be countered. You just need to get the URL of the ad and get the field gclic. You can then use the adwords complain form to get them to take down the ad for Review.

  2. Maduro’s ad on YouTube recently had 2,468 views. That indicates to me the ad is not successful, and that YouTube won’t make a lot of money off the ad.

    • The HBO thing had 3 million hits, IIRC. By comparison, most YouTube vids out of Venezuela have maybe as many as 10,000 views. Patricia Poleo “Agarrate” has 40,000 – 36 hours up. Compare to your 2,468 sighting … less one, unless you have saltado talanquera … (joke).

  3. Daniel, Excelente articulo. Es verdaderamente sorprendente las cantidades de dinero que se han derrochado para cumplir las fantasias populistas de maduro.

  4. Would you mind going over the math for the FB ad again? The image says “you will spend no more than BF 88,060,000”. I know anecdotally that a 30 second spot for a Superbowl Halftime ad is around $5 million, and that reaches millions of viewers – tens of millions if it’s a national spot. So it challenges my entire belief system that a cruddy facebook ad to reach a paltry 360,000 Venezuelans could cost over $32 million bucks!! For one, I don’t think the regime HAS thirty-two million bucks, and if they do, they certainly wouldn’t give it to Maduro to run and ad for an election that can easily be bought and paid for for much less money.


    • Instead of 32 million bucks, 88 million Bv maximum cost for a 14 day ad on FB (at 750,000 Bv/dollar) is 117 dollars. Even if you take the Bv at 70,000 to the dollar, it’s only about 1200 dollars.
      I’m no fan of ‘the guy’, but the numbers don’t work out. Especially when another commenter points out that the YouTube video only had 2500 or so views.

      • I’m no fan of the guy either, and I’m not “rising in defense”, but if CC is going to publish numbers, for goodness sake’s make them fall within the ballpark, not foul balls outside the outfield posts, or a credibility gap gets built up for all numbers, and that’s not good.

        Mzzz. Hillary spent about $3 bucks a vote in 2016 (granted estimates vary pretty widely, but it was over $700 million on 250 million voting population and was the most expensive campaign in U.S. history). The $166 million for Maduro to about 19 million Venezuelan voters is around $8.70 a vote. And things are a LOT more expensive in the U.S..

  5. When I advertised with Google, I targeted my ads so that I would be the only bidder for the segment I had chosen, therefore by definition I should have always won with the minimum bid. But Google “pooled” my ads with who-knows-what so that the completely opaque “clearing price” they subsequently charged was higher than made economic sense for that product.

  6. If you are going to decide to support Maduro on the basis of google ads you are ignoring the much bigger adds against Maduro posted by the miriad of circumstances that surround Venezuelans daily lives , adds that have the strongest visceral punch , that flood with bitterness and dissapointment almost every minute of your life , which have gone on for years now …..the power and water cuts , the sorry state of public services, the hard punching inflation that prevents you from buying the food you need to feed your children or the drugs that people close to you need to stay alive . Ordinary life in Venezuela is one big ad , that surrounds you , thats everywhere , whose slogans every one repeat to you in the street corners , in the interminable queues , in the lift you take in any building … cant scape the huge constant addes that scream to you ……DONT VOTE FOR MADURO !! ….the ads mentioned in this article have absolutely no effect , they are like the appeasers that a baby needs to feel safe (the baby being maduro and his ‘following’…..) a tiny blanket they grasp while sucking their thumb , at least if they think that does ads are going to increase his now minimal popular support. they know they can trust their capacity for fraudulent manipulation of election results , but otherwise they have to known inside their own heads that those ads are a waste of money !!

  7. I really appreciate the purpose and intent of this article. But damn if I can understand the math here. I will, however, reread it a few times.

    I’m now in the process of doing YT ads, animation, so I’m trying to figure THAT all out.

    But although I said I appreciate this article, it’s pretty much old news. Since Day One of scumbag Hugo, they’ve been spending millions and billions of state B’s to promote their administration(s).

    It’s a fucking joke, and totally illegal. Not even taking into account the use of state resources (public space, vehicles and other hard resources, threats to government employees, media exposure, censorship of opposition media, the list is endless!).

    Like I said, old news, but maybe it’s important to keep reporting on this, although it’s been going on unchecked for 20 years.

    I just don’t know, but I do know that this reporting doesn’t make a difference. And it probably shouldn’t have to anyway. The reporting is enough.

  8. It costs way less than it would cost to invest into repairing the infrastructure of the country so it stops being a s***hole.


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