RE: [OPE] Question about Hugo Chavez

Date: Thu Feb 14 2008 - 08:06:54 EST

> The question to me was whether his communication style is really "effective" with respect to foreign relations, or not. I personally have some 
> doubts about that, and therefore I think of a good international relations PR unit, i.e. a bunch of professionals who really know what they are 
> doing in that field, as a support. Many painful experiences taught me that that a good communication policy is a policy which really works, i.e. 
> it obtains the desired results (and not something different), and thus proves itself. I'm not an expert (insofar as you can be) but I understand the 
> value of it.
Hi Jurriaan:
There have been many socialists who could not be described as having
a  "strident" communication style: Allende, Ortega, Arafat, Ho Chi Minh,
and even Mao Tse-Tung come to mind.  And what good did it do them?
The practical point here, based on many historical experiences, is that if 
an imperialist power  identifies someone or a group as an obstacle that must
be removed then they will try various methods, including demonizing, 
trashing, and libeling their enemies. Similarly, we know that they are not
beyond manufacturing  "evidence": i.e. knowingly fabricating false and
malicious claims.  And it's not just governments - the media, educational
institutions, religious institutions, celebrities, etc. all very
frequently join in these campaigns of dis-information and demonization.
The bottom line here is that if Chavez were to "moderate" his communication
style *it would not matter one iota*: US imperialism would *still* do everything 
possible to take him out. Indeed, they - very predictably - would use his
less strident speaking style against him saying that he was trying to trick 
people: "a wolf in sheep's' clothing".    
The audience for his recent speech was not the US government or the UN.
He was speaking directly to the Venezuelan people - his talk was on
"Allo Presidente", a weekly program in which he has a national public 
dialogue with the Venezuelan people (i.e. it is a "talk show" where 
people call up and ask questions).  
He is savvy enough to know that _whatever_ he says will be distorted by the 
reactionary media, so he's not speaking to or for them. He speaks,
instead, to his base: the poor and oppressed of Venezuela and the
I heard Chavez speak at Cooper Union a couple of years ago, where he 
famously made a quip about Bush being the devil (something to the 
effect that one can smell sulphur around him).  The so-called
"liberal" media thrashed him for it, but his audience *loved* it.
Lastly, I want to say that "communication style" is a *tactical*
question and socialists from afar should be very hesitant to 
make this sort of  tactical criticism.  
In solidarity, Jerry

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