Venezuela posorwelista / Israel Centeno

Post-Orwellian Venezuela

A hyper analyzed reality reverberates and generates all kinds of noise; a racket with few possibilities of harmonious articulation of something true. Illness and death are common topics in our nature, but reading them within the Venezuelan context, determined by caudillismo and the tensions produced by political polarization, imposes an unscrupulous glance. The countersign remitted from the revolution’s political command seems to be, sow the speculative rumor in order to reap victories.

There exist many readings of the comandante-president’s illness. Its possible consequences and the conclusion of the condition that afflicts him, determine the log of political dialectics with the most varied of interpretations; each one seems more creative than the next; disproportionate, distant, ironic, sarcastic; all the rhetorical figures have been invoked, all the winks and the annoyance of an oscillating and recurring language used for addressing the core of the situation. What situation? What illness? What truth are we seeking? Those who follow the topic of Hugo Chávez’s sanctification navigate through all the contradictions contemplated by dialectical materialism —paradox—. They’re assaulted by an embarrassing certainty when they try to answer the anxieties expressed in the questions everyone formulates: we lack the phenomenological elements to ponder a little something: in plain Spanish, a simple pathology exam and a medical report confirmed by a doctor, in order to establish the truth. But for a while now, truth in Venezuela is a misplacement closer to morbid gossip than to facts.

The Government’s information organisms play the role of a great disinformation machine, whose only objective is to dilute and disperse any possibility of constituting an event without any ambiguities. The murder of truth is a propagandist’s first objective; to plant ideas and make the masses act in accordance with the scenarios prefigured by the political —religious?— operators, an end. The Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information thus ends up becoming the Ministry of Popular Power for Disinformation and Propaganda.

The strategic, or dramatic, line seems to be to raise the volume on the suffering, agony and probable death of the comandante president, mixing the different layers of reality manipulated by the Government’s immense propaganda infrastructure, employing the vicious totalitarian habits used by other experiences towards the end of preserving power for the faith of the parishioners and even for those who call themselves heretics; to create Chinese shadows, marvels, melodramas and above all blending until homogenization an awaited product that has been worked and desired by the Chavista status quo. The use and abuse of television, radio, mandatory national broadcasts, communicational guerrillas, civic-military concentrations and the dramatic exposition of the contradictions among the spokesmen of The Party in the social media, all of this has a predictable political-religious end very far removed from the expected informative function.

An autocratic government that has become the owner of all the institutions of the State does not inform, does not speak the truth; no one in its milieu enjoys the liberty of expressing himself spontaneously; moreover, the disappearance and the rumors about the illness, death and possible resurrection of the leader, though they might seem like a paranoid hyperbole by Orwell, are manipulated by the leader from whatever limbo he might find himself in today, now and always. Augmenting the static and the versions to be found regarding an event serves a single purpose: to contaminate, as is the custom, any situation that might be moderately acceptable. And its objective is to displace the national interest toward wherever might be deemed necessary and convenient by the revolution, the new Church, and the vicars of Chávez on earth.

Israel Centeno is a Venezuelan writer, author of the novel Calletania (Madrid: Editorial Periférica).

{ Israel Centeno, El País, 14 January 2013 }

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