Hugo Chavez’ Christmas Spam to all Venezuelans

December 27, 2011

Above is the message that most Venezuelans got on Christmas Day from Hugo Chavez (including me, I got it early on the 24th., as you can see above), it says: “Each December, we have victoriously celebrated our unstoppable march towards the Good and Pretty Fatherland…Full of happiness, justice (sic) and social equality. Merry Christmas, partners (comrades?). Hugo Chavez.

People have noted that the message is abusive, it is after all spam, much like Chavez’ forced “cadenas” where everyone is forced to listen or turn the TV off since nothing else is on. There is also the question of who paid for it. Did Chavez force the message on the telecom operators? Is the list freely available to anyone like that? Is this a violation of privacy? A waste of resources?

We will never know. What we do know is that if this had been sent by an opposition politician, Chavez and the government would have raised hell over the issue.

You can also complain about the message, not only about the use of the term “compañero” without the “ñ”, this could have been avoided choosing a better word, like venezolano, ciudadano and the like. The message is also quite partisan, as half the population does not celebrate Chavez “unstoppable march” to wherever he thinks he is taking us .

But what I want to point out and note, is that the message is quite effective. First of all, it has a high impact, as it is received by most Venezuelans, as cell phone penetration is over 100% by now (Operators do not subtract cancelled lines from their numbers). But more importantly, people are impressed that Chavez sent them a message. Of course your average opposition person does not like it, but I talked to a few people, not pro-Chavez, some who once supported him, who actually appreciated the message and told me about it not as a complaint, but more like: How about that message from Chavez!

So, much like many of the moves that Chavez makes, he got his money’s worth (or ours for that matter) sending a message that in the end earned him more goodwill with his supporters or prospective supporters, even if it was wasted on most of us who will never vote for the revolution.

Note added: The SMS was indeed a “cadena” that was sent free at the request of the Government.

23 Responses to “Hugo Chavez’ Christmas Spam to all Venezuelans”

  1. Elena Says:

    Hi Miguel, I am impress with your wirting style and wit. I read few pages and I will be coming back for more. It was especially sad to see the images from the Aula Magna in UCV… heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing your views…

  2. nomi Says:

    You cannot close this year without posting something about this gem:

    The gift that keeps on giving…

  3. REMD Says:

    Miguel, are you going to post about the statement made by Chavez that per capita income has increased to US$ 10.000 during his tenure?


    • moctavio Says:

      Well, the GDP number is coming put this weekend, I will wait until then, I did add a comment to the devaluation post that for this to to happen, GDP would have to up 20-plus % this year. Of course, he is calculating it at Bs. 4.3, which is not a true measure, but even at Bs. 4.3 it makes no sense.

      • Kepler Says:

        I loved when Hugo the Fat said “el per cápita ha aumentado pese a que antes eramos como 23 millones y ahora casi 30 millones”…such a wally

  4. CharlesC Says:

    On Feb.4, 2012 Venezuela and Cuba will begin a process and sign declartions to become one country. (We joked about this for a long time…)Process is to be
    completed by 2018.
    Senor Devil, what are your thoughts on this?

  5. andrew Says:

    Dear Devil – reads here: Venezuela is in the horrible 2012 list from famous site as potential country facing war in 2012 together with Burundi and the likes.


    Venezuela’s homicide rates are among the highest in the hemisphere — twice those of Colombia and three times those of Mexico — despite largely escaping the world’s attention. Rates were rising even before Hugo Chávez assumed power. But under his 12 years they have skyrocketed, from 4,550 in 1998 to 17,600 last year. The victims are predominantly poor young men — killed for as little as a mobile phone, caught in gunfire between gangs, or even subject to extrajudicial killings by security forces.

    Criminal violence has not yet permeated the country’s politics. But signs ahead of presidential elections next year are ominous. The regime itself has armed local civilian militias to, in its own words, “defend the revolution.” Thus far it has failed to tackle corruption within the security forces, or their complicity in crime. Arms are easily available — reportedly more than 12 million weapons circulate in a country with a population of only 29 million. Impunity is a major driver of violence, with judicial independence eroded through sustained attacks by the government. According to some estimates, fewer than one in 10 police investigations ever leads to arrest.

    It’s not yet clear who will face off against Chávez for the presidency, nor do we know the extent of political space in which candidates will be able to contest for office. But with the president’s ailing health adding considerable uncertainty, bitter enmity between him and some opposition leaders, and Venezuelan society polarized, militarized and lacking credible institutional conflict-resolution mechanisms, next year could prove testing indeed.

  6. Dillis Says:

    I received a text message just before the Asamblea Nacional elections last year from PSUV so this isn’t the first time.

  7. Ira Says:

    I don’t know–I kind of disagree with your assessment, Miguel, about this message being all that powerful in Chavez’s favor:

    It reminds one of a “Let them eat cake” mentality, and for people on the fence regarding Hugo…folks who look at their wallets and bank accounts and know that they’re not marching ANYWHERE…I think it can have a profoundly negative effect that the glorious leader never intended.

  8. Roy Says:

    At least I can delete the message. Chavez? Not so easy…

  9. ramon Says:

    I think it was also of a way of him telling the public that he can get to you wherever you are and that he controls everything.

  10. bruni Says:

    Here in Canada, during election times, some of the candidates actually call you and a registered message is played. i always joke that I was “talking” with the candidate.

    I suggest that the MUD candidates try to do the same and see what the obstacles are.

    • syd Says:

      I find the practice intrusive, whether in Vzla or Canada, or wherever. It is particularly galling that Cdn candidates are allowed to market their schtick, even to people who have registered their “do-not-call” wishes with the Cdn Radio & Television Commission (CRTC).

      • Carolina Says:

        But at least with a phone call to the land line, one has the option to hang up or not to pick up. A text message is way up too personal.

        • Carolina Says:

          Abuse aside, the canadian phone calls are paid by the candidates. Those text messages were paid by the government, therefore, tax payers money. people in Venezuela fail consistently to realize this. the government uses their money in propaganda and they applaude it (like oso’s mother in law).
          My assumption is that, since the majority of people evade taxes, it doesn’t hurt them.

  11. Oso Negro Says:

    Very effective. My pro-chavez mother-in-law was quite tickled and impressed. Doh!

  12. Let’s call it something like cadena celular, Technically is no big deal to do this, but would be very interesting to know if there was something in the cell phone operators contracts that made them do it or was it a message from government saying ” do it, or …”.

    If everyone asks their operator why they received this message, we might know because they should respond.

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