Above: President Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello reveal a painting by Commander Hugo Chávez, 2013 (Photo: Miguel Gutiérrez / EFE)
The informative or propaganda scenario of the war, in the current turbulent Latin American, has entered a very peculiar phase in the propagation of a phenomenon: it was time to use the events of other countries to make comparative exercises and try to convince many people (who?) about how bad or good each of them is. It is no longer so difficult to argue how well or badly Ecuador is in a certain aspect of its development or social-political-institutional deterioration: citizens are increasingly trained to take data and elements of their neighbors, make comparisons and feel authorized to draw conclusions on how advanced or screwed up you are.
The exercise began a few years ago using Venezuela as a platform or measuring instrument. As in this decade, we consolidated our image as a black or red sheep of the region, every bug with electoral aspirations used us as an example of what could happen to his country or his municipality if citizens voted for the opposing candidate.
Today, the secular sores of all Latin American countries, subject to an economic and political model that no progressive nor openly right-wing government has managed to eradicate, are bleeding rivers, torrentially. No propaganda strategy can even try to point to Venezuela as an example of how bad it can be for anyone if they dare to keep alive the flame ignited by Chavismo, because suddenly “it was discovered” that in all Latin American countries there is police brutality, corruption, hunger, poverty, racism, drug trafficking and a judiciary that can be bought and sold. Even the distracted know that these are not evils exported by Chavismo but bacteria inherent in the functioning of capitalist society. That dirt was more or less silenced or hidden under the carpet, but who told them to sell massively among the poor those devices that capture and disseminate live images, videos, and opinions?
But the propaganda activators have adapted to their defeats and what we see today in the networks and media is the old trick of trying to breathe through the wound, also called “fleeing forward”. The agonized cries of this kind of dirty propaganda sound deflated even for the neo-Nazis: “Chile was very cool, what happened is that we started to let Venezuelans in and there the communists infiltrated and blah blah blah.”
New tactic: if your propagandists no longer have credibility, capture a sector of your former adversaries to do your homework. Do you want to fuck Chavismo? Put the Chavistas or subjects who look like Chavistas to speak ill of Chavismo. An anti-Venezuelan campaign can no longer prosper if it originates and is openly promoted from Colombia: better pay them or offer them a frightful death to a few Venezuelans. You can threaten some; to others, buy them with the shameful bills (dollars), and for others you can show them both at the same time and create the dilemma: jail or lynching if you resist, some dollars if you work for me.
There is Figuera, who was the highest senior officer of the SEBIN (Venezuelan Intelligence) until he succumbed to the psychological pressure of Bolton, and now he is in the United States earning a salary of 3,000 dollars a month. That is very little, yes, but it was that or the dungeons of Guantanamo. Figuera decided that it was preferable to sign where the gringo government told him to sign, to accuse Nicolás Maduro of anything.
From that sad and despicable figure one can suppose or imagine what kind of gadgets were used to break the milligrams of morale left to paper “leftists” such as Bachelet, Almagro, the president of El Salvador and half a dozen “Progressives”, to Marxists and Violetparristas (fans of Violeta de la parra), some as detractors of the Venezuelan process.
THE LEFT GRATIFIES THE TRANSNATIONALS
We continue: if your propagandists no longer have credibility, capture a sector of your former adversaries to do your homework.
For example, to undermine an initiative such as the Orinoco Mining Arc, the spokesmanship of mining transnationals is not an efficient one; it is better and more effective to speak to spokesmen “on the left”, because every socialist has a special sensitivity towards critical issues of so-called “development”: environment, indigenous communities, sovereignty. A few weeks after the plan called Arco Minero (Mining Arc) was decreed, there were already NGOs and characters in front of a creature called inappropriately “Critical Chavismo” destroying the Venezuelan government and its plan with disgusting actions: for example, denouncing the “Arco Minero” for the destruction of forests and rivers, with photographs from the 80s and 90s.
Phenomenal resource: Messrs Arconada, Lander and Evans raising their voices against the destruction of the jungle, with a “Chavistas” sign stuck on their foreheads. A few months later, when Guaidó made his theater of self-proclamation, there were the “Chavistas” Lander, Arconada and Evans offering their collaboration so that his plan of overthrow was or seemed cleaner. They agreed to portray themselves with the stupid interim because they believe that the photo next to Chavez will one day stop paying dividends.
The headlines that threw these gestures of the “left” or “Chavismo” contrary to the Chavista government of Nicolás Maduro were received extremely well by the transnationals of the anti-Venezuelan coup: “EVEN CHAVISMO opposes the Chavista government of Nicolás Maduro and wants to overthrow it.”
This group has failed in its attempt to see that the legitimate government of Venezuela collapses, to become the “different” chavismo, which will survive when Nazi-fascism finally comes to exterminate us (they believe or are sure that their collaborative gesture with Guaidó will save them from the minimum beating they promise to all of us).
But the tactic is still alive, and the methods to perfect it are obvious.
Given that I have been personally summoned (cordially and kindly by some people; and in an insulting way by others) to take a position on the subject, then I will do so from my very personal point of view and my declaration of principles: I have been denouncing the decomposition of the police forces for three decades, when many of those who want to push me to sign up for a so-called campaign were not born or could not clean their asses themselves. I will continue to denounce that, whenever I can and whenever I want, but whenever I do not feel or perceive in the environment the interest of using me to undermine the government of my country, or to fill the pockets of some opportunistic group or pussy-eater.
Now, let us comment, in an enumerative way and point by point, on a specific matter, much more important and delicate than that.
Denouncing the malfunction of some government processes and their institutions is a right, and if we force things a bit we could say that it is also a duty of basic Chavismo, the one that is fighting here and suffering the problems here. That this function is assumed by some of the thousands or millions of women in poor communities who have taken the CLAP phenomenon upon their shoulders (which, more than a government plan, is the phenomenon of popular organization, reactivation of poor communities, most important in this second decade of the century) makes sense and legitimacy; that a handful of occasional visiting sociologists visiting occasionally the barrios or newcomers to the barrios do so, is a truculence that causes more suspicion than laughter.
The campaign activated in recent days has among its characteristics:
- Its starting point and statistical feed is a report funded by the Open Society Foundations, a penetration and destabilization agency with a philanthropic entity facade chaired by tycoon George Soros (the report can be downloaded here ). This report is from 2017, but it is now, suddenly, just like that, when some groups have decided to relive their conclusions.
- Synchronization of the “new” propaganda attack with that of the local, continental and hemispheric ultra-right. The focus of global attention has been installed for weeks, at least circumstantially, around the collapse and degradation of the neo-Nazi leadership in Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia (after Evo). Right where the police forces have lent themselves to the overthrow of popular governments or the maintenance of dictatorships of neoliberal tendencies disguised as solid democracies. These hubs have assumed the mission of diverting that focus from those countries to Venezuela. It was predictable: it is their job, their need and their goal. But that from Chavismo emerge groups that lend themselves to reinforce or revive international campaigns against the Venezuelan government, just when (finally, alleluia! ) Nazi-fascism is having a hard time hiding its decomposition process, it is a dirty, cheating, shameful, disgusting act. The title of the report cited above is: “The Venezuelan police kill more people than in Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Brazil.”
- The analysis of data by countries is attributed to academics from UNAM (Mexico); the Violence Analysis Laboratory of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), among others. The chapter corresponding to Venezuela was written by a researcher from the UCV, which is also something like the president or secretary of the fan club of that Nicmer Evans.
- It ignores the fact that the police forces are not a united and monolithically Chavista or “Madurista” bloc, whose members receive and follow instructions from the Bolivarian government. The far right and the left financed by Soros would like it to be like that: nothing easier and even pleasant than to be able to attribute all excess or crime of all police officers to a government and a president. In the police bodies, elements and structures of power capable of perverting government action at will are embedded and mimicked. The character Óscar Pérez emerged from a security body; from various security forces, elements of support have emerged for the most reactionary sects of Venezuelan fascism (Popular Will, Justice First), including the microscopic groups that participated in coup attempts and transvestite shows of rebellions (San José de Cotiza, Altamira Bridge, on the border with Colombia and fled to Cúcuta, among others).
- Simultaneously with the activation of the local campaign, the contras have dusted off mummies of greater or lesser value so that they comment and put on the forefront exactly the same subject: Iván Simonovis, Rafael Ramírez, the mafia or club Provea, Reuters (propaganda) agency . The latter’s contribution to the campaign has been a pseudo-report whose transversal idea is: “Nicolás Maduro murders the poor, and this ALSO serves to control the anti-Chavista population through terror.”
Mensaje de Iván Simonovis a sus compañeros policías.pic.twitter.com/uYL9LMnA5O
— Radio Caracas Radio (@RCR750) November 16, 2019
- The invocation of old or current bonds of friendship: “Epa old man, how are you doing? Look, give me your signature for this campaign, in which we are denouncing this and this and this”. Also the use of the figure, the memory and the word of Commander Hugo Chávez to try to install as irrefutable fact that Chavez would be fighting the government of Nicolás Maduro if he was alive.
So: campaign any way you want and when you want, but please DON’T DO IT in the name of Chavez.
APPENDIX: OLP, FAES AND WHATEVER
The year 2016 was, for the poor people of Venezuela, one of the most critical of this decade that is coming to an end. The direct and sometimes collateral effect of the activation of a mechanism of force, by the State: Operation Liberation of the People ( OLP), a devastating response to the rise of organized crime in popular sectors of Caracas.
This mechanism began its activities in 2015, and a year later it was already deployed strongly in the sectors where “pranes” (gang leaders) had become a power structure, and even an active ingredient in conspiracies and political destabilization, with a Colombian paramilitary stamp.
As is often the case with these types of shock therapies, the remedy takes a piece of the disease before of you, but it also usually mistreats the healthy parts of the body. Many criminal gangs were removed from the social fabric or severely decimated, but the surrounding social fabric also suffered some kind of unfair repressive abuse. Poor policemen assaulting and massacring poor people like them, but unarmed and without uniforms: the logic is old and has been widely debated in all areas.
We who have delved to look closely at some operational and psychological puddles of police action know what it is, what its origin is and the substrate of this perversion: there are police officials who feel called to defend the “decent” sector of the society, and as that”decency” is usually associated with white people, middle or upper class, who smells like perfume and lives in more or less healthy homes, then the goal of violence is usually the impoverished human being, who does not resemble the transmuted siphoning into “good” citizenship. As the police bodies are the creation of the bourgeois state, there is an unchanging and immovable feature of its original philosophy, which is the defense of the bourgeois and petty bourgeois. The average policeman, here and everywhere in the world, feels that his vital and professional goal is to submit and reduce those with the guilty face of all time: poor, black, poorly dressed, whether or not he has a formal occupation (work, studies). If you live in a shanty, even if you are a victim of crime, you are suspected of being a criminal.
I think that the institution of policing should not only be intervened in and “clean up”, but also be replaced by another that starts from a philosophy of citizen security different from the current one. I do not know if that is possible, but it is a debt of the State to the dispossessed and forever excluded.
In the past decade, some actors of the current campaign attempted that reconstruction process, from UNES and the creation of the Bolivarian National Police. They are responsible for explaining how they failed, or what they were not allowed to do.
What is the difference between this account and the one being spread in the “sudden” campaign to discredit? Basically, that no one is paying me to add wood to the bonfire in which they want to incinerate the government of my country. Nor for my opinions to be used as a flag and fuel for some former minister who now wants to promote himself as the new champion of the peasants and inhabitants of the barrios.
Reinaldo Iturriza has given me the honor of invoking in one of his recent articles the title of my column denouncing the police bodies of the late 90s. In that short text (“Our wars”) Reinaldo votes for the maintenance of the unity of Chavismo, above or in spite of the controversy that this campaign may generate. As it has been cordial, I cordially replied:
“Your invocation to the unity of Chavismo is going to crash very hard against the campaign itself, which says (without saying so) that not bending over is supporting the murderous pacos (pigs). That will be another triumph of the campaign: the sensation or the proof that Chavismo is divided. It has been a masterful move.”
Reinaldo himself has shaped and defended the theory or observation that Chavismo has long since ceased to be a matter of formal parties and movements. That Chavismo took the streets and that it is more a telluric phenomenon than the glue with which partisan or group edifices are held together. And he is right: these skirmishes of ours will then be, barely, material for a more or less marginal anecdote and invisible to the crowds.
Jose Roberto Duque is a Venezuelan writer and journalist, a political analyst. Since 1990 he has ventured into various facets of journalism and literature. He has been a chronicler, columnist and editor in newspapers and magazines (El Nacional, El Universal, Tal Qué, That is the News, Topics Venezuela, Épale Ccs, among others), in blogs and digital pages (Blood Traction, Mision Verdad). He was editor and information editor in several newspapers, on the Ávila TV and on the Venezuelan News Agency.