Public service announcements, Venezuela-style

As I was watching the Cameroon-Croatia World Cup match on local TV Wednesday night, I was forced to endure this commercial from Barrio Alerta, a name used by the so-called “Simón Bolívar Cultural Foundation,” located in the populous 23 de Enero neighborhood in Western Caracas. It was … illuminating.

The catch? This ad was shown as part of the daily fifteen minutes of airtime that every radio and television station in the country must give to the state free of charge to present “…cultural, educational, informative or preventive messages of public service”, according to Article 10 of the current Broadcasting Law (Ley RESORTEME).

So, where’s the public service in the video?

But wait, there’s more of these: from the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, the evidence that “Imperialism exists” is allegedly overwhelming.

There are two other ads I saw, but I couldn’t find them online yet. One was about the Syrian civil war, and another about the nuclear blast of Hiroshima. I AM NOT KIDDING.

Information Minister Delcy Rodriguez has already given two enthusiastic thumbs up to this campaign.

Barrio Alerta is infamous for its ads against the opposition. If you have the stomach for it, you can see some of their greatest hits on YouTube. They even have a lame attempt at a funny character named Professor Magnifying Glass (Profesor Lupa), that’s simply painful to watch. He’s played by some guy named Eduardo Rothe, who was also involved with science on the radio. Basically, he’s the Chavista response to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which just goes to show how screwed we really are …

Barrio Alerta is so tough that they even ignored orders from the CNE to stop posting ads during last year’s presidential campaign. But I have a question for them: if U.S. imperialism does exist, and it’s constantly plotting against Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro recently told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, why is PDVSA so intent on actually increasing their sales to them?

17 thoughts on “Public service announcements, Venezuela-style

  1. Two things.

    1) Imperialism does exist. They have no argument from me on that front, but…
    2) I wonder if Maduro understands that the vast majority of Libyans NEVER complain about NATO’s intervention against Qadhafi. The majority blame civilian death tolls on Qadhafi, not NATO. Syria is a different animal though.

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    • syria is differnt? how? you seem to imply that the us initiated that civil war.The last thing the us wanted was instability in syria. they already had more than they could handle in iraq.They were very content to ignore assad until assad’s repression forced us policy. The us has been dragging their feet in the hopes that assad could pacify the country before international pressure forces action. Assad has been too incompetent to suppress the rebels even with the meager resources they have.

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      • Fred, no. What I meant is that Syria is very different from Libya and that there is no consensus on whether a military intervention carried out by either NATO or the U.S. is desirable by Syrians.

        The protests in both Syria and Libya were not engineered by the U.S. The citizens of both countries have a laundry list of legitimate grievances against their presidential monarchs, which include – but are not limited to – living in a police state and neoliberal policies that lowered their standards of living.

        Also, let’s be clear: Obama has not dragged his feet in Syria. American inaction is by design, not lack of leadership. Obama has prioritized a nuclear deal with Iran over intervening/getting rid of Assad. A nuclear deal would have never materialized if the U.S. were attacking Iranian assets and personnel in Syria.

        Lastly, the collapse of the Syrian state would only embolden terrorist groups like ISIS, just another reason why Obama is a-okay with Assad in power.

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        • What is “neoliberal” about a dictator looting a country for the benefit of relatives and cronies?

          What is “neoliberal” about a dictator squandering a country’s wealth on state-owned boondoggles?

          If those are characteristics of neoliberalism, then chavismo is extremely neoliberal.

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          • Rich Rostrom, you do know that Syria and Libya were both ostensibly “socialist” countries who opened up their economies to foreign capital, oversaw the privatization of key industrial sectors (usually to cronies or those close to the regime) and began the curtailment of state subsidies that led to a significant increase of inequality.

            I agree that Qadhafi and Assad lined their pockets, squandered their nations’ wealth, and bestowed great privileges and benefits to the capitalist that formed under them. That still doesn’t negate the fact that the state in both countries were deregulating and retreating from their economies. Undoubtedly, by the mid-2000s, Syria and Libya were both neoliberal police states.

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    • That’s like saying corruption exists and only showing corruption “scandals” (wich are newborn pandas compared to the beasts created since 98) from the “puntofijismo” era.

      Imperialism is not limited to America. And that’s where i have issues with 99.9% of people who claim to be anti-imperialists.

      Cuba has a certain ideological imperialism in latinamerica too,there’s still FARC,there was the Tupamaros and Sendero Luminosos. All of these guerrillas are Cuba’s little babies, and that island still works as a brain washing factory.

      Russia has also a history of imperialism,a failed one.And apparently they have unfinished business,so well see if Ukraine is just the beggining.Apparently we’re going back to the Cold War.

      China is building an economic empire.

      Hell,you could accuse Venezuela of being imperialists since we own all of those little Caribbean islands with our oil money, and also we funded and founded Mercosur.

      If you’re anti-war,anti-imperialist or anti-anything, you should also stop picking sides.

      War is a good example, i know many anti-war shitheads who would love to go to Syria and lend a hand to Al-Assad for example. Words mean nothing anymore.

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      • metodex, agreed. The anti-war left and the faux anti-imperialists use the language of anti-imperialism as an ideological instrument to bash U.S. foreign policy. They do not hold it as a principled position because they did, they would denounce Iranian efforts to dominate the Gulf and West Asia and Russian efforts to recuperate the former Soviet states under its tutelage. Instead they praise scumbags like Qadhafi who masqueraded as an anti-imperialist even though he treated Africa the same way the U.S. treated Latin America historically.

        What makes the U.S. an easy punching-bag is that they’re the only country, at the moment, with global reach.

        In my opinion, states are inherently imperialist. To be a real anti-imperialist, you have to be anti-state.

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  2. Ah, thanks from bringing these up (don’t forget the Allende one) I couldn’t find their provenance myself. I’ve been hearing them a lot over the past couple of weeks whenever I listen to La Mega. What drew my attention was that they don’t air with the customary RESORTEME disclaimer like the other Sibci micro-ads (used to?) do.

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    • When I watched it on TV last week, it did. And one more thing: the videos of the campaign available on YouTube are on both SIBCI and VTV’s official channels, not Barrio Alerta’s.

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  3. This makes sense. Since there is no evidence of imperio outside of shortages, the public should be reminded. ;)

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  4. Don’t forget that Maduro also sent a diplomatic team of hacks to Washington to negotiate the appointment of ambassadors. Because we may be at loggerheads with everything the U.S. says and does, but dammit, we must keep trying to be their friend!

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  5. There’s where you see the conflict between the political and the economic strategy.
    Politically, US is an enemy. Economically… well, as Ramirez is saying, they’re looking to sell more.
    Another obvious incongruence brought to you by these maniacs in charge.

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  6. Socialists simply love those themes were public opinion is deadly divided. I think the whole point about these ads is the rampant way of looking at “elsewhere” when your own country is just on the verge of social collapse.

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  7. Professional revolutionaries really like getting excited about denouncing and attacking all those evil forces that exist in their imaginary world , as usual, it makes them feel heroic and goody goody indignant which for them is great fun. .

    Suspect however that very few ordinary people, even inside their camp pay anything but the most cursory and passing attention to these rants , they can fake sharing in these blown up shows of glorious indignation but deep down they know that they count for very little in what actually influences their own lives.

    The polls appear to show that very few people attribute the countrys deepening crisis to the covert plots of fiendish meanies , they know where the source of their problems lie , there is no fooling people with these inventions unless they belong to the fanatic fringe that has already made their mind up to believe whatever fantasies the regime puts out as the cause of their miseries.

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