Posts Tagged ‘venezuelans’

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 “compa├▒ero” without the “├▒”, 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.

No Mercosur for you, Hugo!

December 21, 2011

Despite pressures from the Government’s of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, as well as Hugo Chavez showing up at the Mercosur Summit, the much ballyhooed “political compromise” to allow Venezuela’s full membership in Mercosur, thankfully did not materialize. The political solution was simply to change the rules so that not all countries had to approve the country’s admission as a full member, bypassing in that way this requirement, which implies every single country is satisfied that the democratic standards are complied with by the country requesting admission.

But Paraguay would not play ball, not the Paraguayan opposition that refuses to approve Venezuela’s entry because they don’t believe the country satisfies the democratic requirements, but that country’s Government, likely fearful of the reaction by the opposition if they are bypassed.

Shame on Dilma Rouseff for backing this proposal. The Brazilian President was a victim of abusive Governments, but seems to feel naively they can not come back in her lifetime to haunt her. I hope she is right, but allowing abuses to continue in one country will simply allow all countries in the region to relax the defense of human rights and this will eventually lead to a backlash against those that allowed it.

Meanwhile, Hugo comes back to Caracas (or direct to Havana for treatment during Christmas?) having lost the battle that he decided to play with a full court press, including his physical presence in Montevideo, where he blamed power and obscure forces for the delay in Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur.

A victory for Paraguay, a small country battling giants, something Chavez would have hailed two decades ago.

A victory for Venezuelans, who at least know that Chavez will have to watch what he does to keep the pretense of democracy.

A loss for the leaders of those countries trying to make the defense of human rights more “flexible” , all “left wing” leaders who now that they have attained power have forgotten their fights when others abused their rights. But they will try it again, if Hugo’s health gives them a chance.

But for now: No Mercosur for you, Hugo!