The day hegemony was unleashed (Updated)

NTN24 was the only news channel making full coverage of the Feb 12th protests... ...and like that, it was gone.

NTN24 was the only news channel doing a full coverage of the Feb. 12th protests… …and like that, it was gone.

February 12th, 2014 will be remembered in our history for many reasons, but one that is passing under the radar is that it was the day when Venezuelans finally witnessed first-hand the full effects of communicational hegemony.

As the remaining national television channels and most local radio stations decided to pretend nothing was happening, most of the coverage (beside SIBCI’s one-sided coverage) came from the Internet, and from international news channels.

Then, right after the incidents in Caracas, broadcasting authority CONATEL made its move and swiftly ordered cable companies to take down Colombian news channel NTN24 from their grids.

With this action, the newly appointed Director-General of CONATEL,William Castillo has already left his mark. Castillo is a hardcore Chavista journalist, a true believer in communicational hegemony, and one of its main figures, both in front and behind the cameras. Hours before, he warned media outlets that covering the protests could be considered “illegal”.

It’s interesting that someone who comes from the creative side of hegemony is now in charge of the repressive side of it. Of course, this synergy started late last year. However, this also signals a new stage for the hegemony itself: When Juan made his post about hegemony days ago, I commented that as the repressive side of the hegemony has been succesful, the creative side has been a failure. Therefore, the creative parts are now becoming more and more useless for the hegemony’s current objectives and will merge instead with the repressive side.

Not that the hegemony’s creative side was doing well anyway: From the recent example of the hegemony’s latest addition TV-FANB to Telesur’s “approach” to reporting, the hegemony is somehow admitting their work is not good enough, and there’s no motivation to do better. Don’t believe me? The brand new president of TVES, game show host/former candidate for mayor Winston Vallenilla, said that he will make the station just as the commercial ones.

In the end, it all comes down to one word: effort. To create something good requires effort, but it is easier to just embrace mediocrity. It’s easier to take the remote control from the viewers and leave them with just static and filler. That is why chavistas are so good at taking channels away, and so bad at filling the void they leave behind.

UPDATE: In the last couple of days, Internet has been also victim of a big crackdown by CONATEL and CANTV, which included blocking images on Twitter. Mr. Castillo’s excuse is what he called “electronic war scheme”.

For more details on this online crackdown, there’s this post by web developer Jose Luis Rivas.

19 thoughts on “The day hegemony was unleashed (Updated)

  1. Thank you, Gustavo, for this post. As someone who has all but lost her capacity to be shocked, I must say, after witnessing in real time how the government unapologetically took NTN24 off the air, I was deeply perturbed. Nicolás Maduro said yesterday that he fully supports NTN24 being taken off the air because it incited violence.

    Of course, he’s duly justified in doing so, since it’s the law:


  2. Totalitarian states build protective shells vs opposition, while they disintegrate from within. That is what history has proved over and over. It’s the economy that they fail to address!


  3. What occurs to me is that the symbol for Globovision was once a symbol for freedom of information is now a symbol for repression.

    These people are like body snatchers!

    They take something and replace it with its evil twin.

    For unthinking people( the majority)this will give off a subliminal message:

    That even the staunchest opponent has now seen the light and agrees totally with the government.

    So there is no need at all to be creative if you can make the creativity of your opponents work for you.


  4. I now agree with you that the “creative” side of the hegemony has failed. Had it been completely successful, a lot, and I mean A LOT of chavistas would be out there, to counter the protests.


  5. Earlier today I was at the protest at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC. It was snowing and sleeting, but there were roughly 100 people across the street from the embassy protesting in support of the students against the violence and tyranny of the Maduro government while there was 15 people in front of the embassies holding signs of Chavez and “I stand with the Bolivarian Revolution. ANSWER Coalition”. It was quickly apparent that of those 15, roughly half were embassy workers while the others were either paid to be there or useful idiots of the lowest quality. Several of them were just standing there lifeless and seemingly half asleep, and at first I thought they might have got them from a local shelter. The Madurista-Chavista side had two megaphones that their leaders used, but other than using that couldn’t muster much of anything and were drowned out by our side anyway. After we sang the national anthem several times from time to time, we challenged them to sing it, or to sing any Venezuelan song. They did or could not.
    At one point the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS (OEA), whose name I can’t recall at the moment, came out and was followed by a videographer, who filmed him being interviewed by another person who came out of the embassy, with him pointing his finger across the street and no doubt calling us fascists. Later, someone from the upstairs windows was taking pictures of the protestors on our side. Apparently those were later put on the embassy website which claimed we were there IN SUPPORT of the regime. Typical shameless lies.

    Hours later, as the protest wound down and it got quieter and more intimate, those of us left asked all sorts of questions to those remaining Chavista supporters. By this time the main ones had gone back into the embassy. It turns out most of those left couldn’t even speak spanish. They wouldn’t answer any questions as to why they were there, or what country they were from, etc. We made it clear what they were supporting, namely the murder of students, media censorship, and corruption. They looked a little sheepish and stayed silent.


  6. Isn’t “Chavist journalist” not only an oxymoron, but by now Orwellian Newspeak? Castillo is an apparatchik, same as Izarra. If they were journalists, that was long ago and far away.

    Btw, Quico owes Ledezma an apology.


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