Tonight I am out of electricity, one of these allegedly regular outages that we must endure in the Venezuelan provinces several times a week so the folks (read: chavista hoi polloi) of Caracas do not have to endure. Since my lap top has enough battery left, then why not write up a little post about the RNV, Radio Nacional de Venezuela, the government radio empire that reaches every single corner of the country. At tax payer expense of course.
When you leave Caracas your choice of radio stations drops very fast. Not that Caracas choice is any good, but in the provinces sometimes the only thing you can listen to is either chavista propaganda through one of the multiple RNV outlets, or neutered stations that prefer simply not to broadcast any real news or talk shows. Not to mention that sometimes the choices of music become quite limited as provincial taste can be, shall we say, provincial.
This would not so dramatic if it were not for the contents of RNV. Today the home page sports even a red twitter bird.
I have not had a major road trip with customers in about a year, for diverse reasons. When I do such trips it is an opportunity to listen to the governmental verbiage on the air because simply 1) the innumerable traffic slowdowns make me bored enough to put up with the jargon and 2) quite often it is the only thing available in the airwaves: the more remote the place, the more likely it is to have only some pro Chavez broadcasting. In other words I had not been listening to RNV since sometime last fall. I was surprised by the change of tone, if such a change were still possible at this point.
The news are only about ministers or chavista officials vaunting their success against crime and speculation. To listen to the news you would be led to believe that indeed crime is on its way to be solved and that the only reason price increases and scarcity are hard to keep in check is because unethical people are on the loose. Of course any problem faced by the country are due to the Empire, the crisis in Greece, Capitalism, etc (though I did not hear the Niño mentioned...) As if Chavez had not been in office for 11 years. That is, RNV sounds as if a fresh new government was tackling the 4th republic problems finally. It is a little bit eerie to listen to that because now, contrary to what happened before, the journalists in charge seem to actually believe the news as they seem to be making them up, news that do not represnet your everyday contact with reality.
Talk shows are getting worse, if possible. One was particular outrageous in that it tried to criticize the racism of the upper classes of Caracas with what was supposed to be humor and irony. Unfortunately the dated clichés and the resentment of the participants could not be hidden and the whole thing became an embarrassment to listen to. One of the participants was supposedly a noted writer who came back from self imposed exile in the US to experience and enjoy the chavista pseudo revolution. No, it was not Eva Golinger, but she was equally promoted as a major chavista writer since she got a recommendation from Brito Garcia who for them is, well, the epitome of writing. I would be embarrassed out of my wits if people were lauding me so much in front of me, but I suppose that it is now the norm through chavismo as long as Chavez gets always top billing. It is to be noted that the woman writes free lance in bolivarian web pages and that she did not publish anything yet, at least as far as I understood. Surely this will be corrected soon as governmental presses have no problem publishing pamphlets such as those of Eva.
One morning early, at 7 AM!, I was listening to some woman reading to us selected pieces of Marx and Engels. For breakfast.... Now in a cultural way this should not have to be objectionable but it was because the woman clearly lacked any grounding to the present days. There was not a sign from her that some of what she was reading to us might be at least in part outdated. Or that she should be slightly more critical of material that seemed so obviously to come from old Cuban books from the 60ies and 70ies (and perhaps even today?). No, not at all. In fact it sounded exactly as an evangelist reciting portions of the Bible to be taken literally, as if they were perfectly valid in today's world, amen of the symbolism already intended when they were written millenia ago.
Clearly RNV has lost any pretense at being a state radio and limits itself now, at tax payer expense, to publish the news that chavista followers need to hear to be reassured and motivated/ideologized. RNV has lost any pretense at trying to convince those who do not believe: you either join or be damned. Thus RNV is just a mere additional pulpit for the sect.
In a way this conversion should not surprise me: it was the natural ending to what had started a few years ago. What was more interesting this week was the paranoia tone that surfaces everywhere, a very evangelical thing by the way when the dangers of evil are relentlessly pointed. The people that manage RNV, that write its shows, seem afraid. Of what? That the Empire will come and get them? Or, rather, afraid that any lack of zeal will be misinterpreted by the beloved leader?