Hugo Chavez the Propaganda Campaign Surrounding Hugo Essay

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Hugo Chavez

The Propaganda Campaign Surrounding Hugo Chavez

Chavez - Loved or Loathed (McCarthy, 2013)

Ideology and Purpose of the Chavez Propaganda Campaign

Context in which the Propaganda Occurs

Identification of the Propagandist

Hugo Chavez served as the President of Venezuela since 1998 when won the democratic election in Venezuela in landslide until just recently when he passed away due to cancer. Hugo Chavez was a controversial character who was the subject of propaganda and portrayed in some circles as an authoritarian thug. Many portray Chavez as a human rights defender and champion of the poor while others described him as a human rights violator who was a radical dictator. With all the propaganda and different portrayals of Chavez it is difficult to discern fiction from reality. This analysis will consider the aspects of the propaganda such as the motivations behind such efforts.

Ideology and Purpose of the Chavez Propaganda Campaign

There are many potential purposes and motivations behind the propaganda directed toward Hugo Chavez and his government. One such motivation is that Chavez style of socialism does not necessarily fit within the United States style of democracy, or at least many leaders would maintain this perspective. Although there are many socialist parties in democratic governments in Europe and around the world, in the United States this is something that is commonly demonized in the media. Therefore his position is radical from the perspective of many in the United States. The fact that a socialist became democratically elected in the hemisphere is alarming to many simply out of proximity. The United States has historically maintained an incredible amount of influence in the hemisphere and allowing a socialist government on the continent is undoubtedly a threat to many who adamantly oppose socialism. Therefore Chavez and all he stands for are opposed by leaders on an ideological basis.

There are many other reasons in which Chavez has also become a target for a propaganda campaign. An obvious reason is that Hugo Chavez has been a vocal critic of imperialism, consumptionism, and many other aspects of the United States and its culture. "The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today," Chavez told shocked world leaders at the UN General Assembly in 2006 when Chavez lambasted then U.S. president George W. Bush as "the devil" (AFP, 2013). Although some perceived this speech as "an ingenious form of denouncing bellicose imperialism," the leadership in the United States was not as understanding. Thus Chavez's vocal criticisms of the U.S., especially its leadership, also made him a target for various propaganda campaigns.

Above all other reasons however that the controversial figure has made himself a target of propaganda is that Venezuela holds one of the largest proven oil reserves in the world and exports billions of barrels of oil every year to the U.S. Venezuela's oil revenues account for roughly 94 per cent of export earnings, more than 50 per cent of federal budget revenues, and around 30 per cent of gross domestic product. Apart from petroleum, the country's natural resources include natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, diamonds and other minerals (OPEC, N.d.). A response to a question posed by David Muir from ABC World News by Jorge Ramus basically sums up the threat perceived in Hugo Chavez (Hart, 2012):

RAMOS: There is a lot at stake for the United States here in Venezuela. On a personal level, we have to remember that President Hugo Chavez has insulted both President Barack Obama and George W. Bush. But going beyond the personal level, we have to remember that Venezuela exports billions of barrels of oil to the United States, and Hugo Chavez can disrupt oil prices just with a phone call. And, also, that Chavez is the most important ally of Iran in the region. And even though President Barack Obama once told me that he does not consider Hugo Chavez to be a threat to national security, many Republicans don't agree on this with President Barack Obama, David.

Context in which the Propaganda Occurs

The context in which the propaganda has been engineered can be described as a period of social uprising. From relatively modest origins, the OWS movement spread incredibly quickly and was at least partly fueled by intense media coverage of the events. The movement is also considered an extension of other movements that occurred in different regions of the world and many claim the beginning of OWS was inspired by what is referred to the Arab Spring as well as the social uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The OWS group attracted a diverse following of people from different backgrounds. There was one category of protestors that seemed to be dedicated for ideological reasons associated with various causes while there were also a group of people who represented a homeless population that were attracted to the movement for the food and services that the group offered its members.

The group had to overcome many obstacles in organizing their protests. The police presence and Zuccotti was massive and disproportionate to the organization by many accounts. Furthermore, there were several attempts to evict the organizers from the park. After one of the first attempts at eviction by the police, some members of the group tried to portray the raid as an unintended gift from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD to help further the cause (Knafo, 2012). However, a 22,000 square-feet village of tents and tarps created an incredible attention from the media and those who supported the movement had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations to further the cause. Even with a significant amount of funding for the movement, it was still logistically difficult to maintain the camp. The organizers had to provide food, clothing, as well as medical capabilities for many of the members. Furthermore there were cases of drug use and mental illness, reports of crime and the adverse weather that provided additional challenges.

Much of the movement's momentum was lost over the winter time. The winters in New York can be harsh and this caused much of the movement to disperse. Even though the movement spread all throughout the country as well as some international locations, when the winter came the group lost a lot of its enthusiasm and the members' involvement seemed to wane as well. "Everybody was all pumped up: 'Wait till spring, wait till, wait till spring.' Guess what? We're in fall. No spring, no summer. What did we Occupy?" one loyal member proclaimed "That was probably the most disappointing & #8230; . And now, here we are what, one year, and what's happened? (Leitsinger, 2012)"

The growing inequality in the United States as well as in the rest of the world creates an environment in which many might be sympathetic to a socialist cause. Hugo Chavez is most likely one of the premier Socialist in the world today. Therefore an orchestrated retaliation against this ideology is not surprising in the least. Chavez had the potential to recruit sympathetic followers from all around the world. Therefore there was a strong sentiment among the opposition to censor Chavez and his socialist perspective as much as possible to keep this ideology from spreading to other parts of the continent. This is most likely what was responsible for calling Chavez names such as dictator or tyrant.

Identification of the Propagandist

There isn't a single propagandist that has orchestrated the defamation of Chavez. Instead the propagandist organization can be considered a loose group of people with ideological opposed viewpoints. In the capitalist system this generally represents those who have a strong belief in free market capitalism. Since the mainstream media is now controlled by major corporations, most of these outlets aired an anti-Chavez response to the Bolivarian leader. However, most of the alternative media sources were far more balanced and objective approach to Chavez and his reign as Venezuelan President.

The Structure of the Propaganda Organization

There is no formal structure to the propagandist organization as there was in the reign of Gerbils in Germany. Today propaganda works in a totally different way. In the contemporary media environment, the way that most propaganda is created and furthered is through informal channels. Although there is no central command, the ideology of many groups seems to converge against a common enemy. This decentralized approach to propaganda makes it difficult to identify a leader that furthers the propaganda campaign.

The Target Audience

The target audience is undoubtedly the U.S. population. The mainstream U.S. ideology is founded in free market capitalism and any conflicting voice is subject to quick marginalization by the mainstream media. However, this position isn't necessarily limited to just a U.S. audience. It seems to perpetrate on many different levels. The audience of the intended propaganda seems to be any country that needs to justify their own inequality. For example, Human Rights Watch publically criticized the Hugo Chavez legacy by questioning his human rights record yet their report was flooded with inaccuracies that scholars from many nations quickly…[continue]

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