Photo feature by Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Once again the streets are filled with electoral campaign materials; though to tell the truth, the streets of Caracas are always filled with all types of publicity, including political ads of course.

But now that the “Right Way” of Capriles and the “Patriotic Heart” of Chavez are plastered all over the streets with their broad smiles and the usual promises. I asked the owner of a car to take me around exploring some areas of the capital with my camera in hand.

I just like seeing what comes out.

Without any specific purpose, only for us to have a good time (the camera and me), we set out hoping not to get our “hearts broken” by the political lust.

I did think that it was a shame, seeing such a waste of paper on all those banners, posters and signs.

Some make their contribution in promoting their preferred “leader.” Writing their own graffiti or ruining that of their opponent’s.

But I think the best contribution is made by those who design the visual propaganda. They are geniuses when it comes to subliminal information (and making people who know how to recognize it laugh).

Voting in Venezuela takes place on October 7th.

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2 thoughts on “Venezuela Electoral Propaganda

  • Thanks Caridad for your enjoyable photo essay. I’m not a fan of campaign posters – too repetitious for my taste but others like ‘Moses’ never tire of repetition so no surprise he likes posters. Repetition, of course is the hallmark of propaganda – the negative aspect of it when selling ideologies -, a kissing cousin to brain washing – getting you to automatically think or act without using brainpower.

    ‘Moses’ believes “an educated, well-informed populace is no more ill-effected by campaign propaganda than they are by marketing campaigns selling holiday destinations. It’s one thing being talked into a vacation spot without engaging the old grey cells but quite another choosing a political representative without thinking.

    The chief characteristic of propaganda is telling one side of a story, which is not ideal, but as long as lies are not being told, it’s acceptable. In this respect, ‘Moses’ has a lot in common with the Cuban government which he loathes.

    But he doesn’t seem to understand the different nuances of propaganda, thinking some on the HT website feel it’s always “something negative”. You think he would know better considering how often he uses it – both repetition and one-sided story-telling.

    When only one side is told it forces others to tell the other side to ‘fill in the blanks’.

    But I did enjoy your photos of what street artists have done to posters of Capriles – adding swastikas to his shirt, giving him a black eye, making him a jug head by painting a pot over his head and peppering a poster with mud – mud-slinging Venezuelan style!

    ‘Moses’ is probably right – I enjoyed it because it reflects how I feel about Capriles. Either the anti-Chavez crowd is more challenged in graffiti-making or else you appreciated the anti-Capriles graffiti too!

    I got a kick out of you writing “that it was a shame, seeing such a waste of paper on all those banners, posters and signs” as I just read about the obscene amount of money that is being spent in the US election – expected to exceed $6 billion, more than the GDP of countries the size of Nicaragua according to Reuters – so you can imagine what it could be used for in Cuba – buying the one million computers for Cuban schoolchildren than ‘Moses’ thinks someone overseas should pay for, with money left over for a whole lot more.

    Reuters headlined, “Forget the struggling economy”. More accurately, forgot the struggling people in the US. Half of the $6 billion goes to staff for the candidates and for candidates’ travel expenses. The other half is spent on advertising, “a bonanza for television and radio networks” according to Reuters – “U.S. media companies. TV networks like CBS, Fox News, ABC, NBC and CNN will be the biggest benefactors”. No wonder they refuse to ask serious questions of candidates – they are the sponsors! Giving money to media – members of the 1% class – is giving money to money – what capitalism is notorious for.

    Reuters also looked into where the $6 billion comes from – mostly private anonymous sources – noting, “Those who fund the candidates are the ones who get listened to” So much for democracy in a country that claims to be the biggest. It’s obviously biggest in something and that something is clearly not democracy.

    As a personal anecdote on the subject, friends who just returned to Toronto from Florida told me that campaign advertising there was non-stop, knocking all other advertising off the air except for car commercials! Most of the ads are attack ads, running down an opponent. Mud-slinging US style! At the cost of billions, not just getting dirty hands!

    Florida’s a swing state so more is spent but I suspect ‘Moses’, sitting in California with his 99 TV channels that he likes to write about, is getting his fill of it. Funny, he hasn’t written about it. I guess that’s not the side of propaganda he likes to write about.

    If anyone thinks the US system makes a whole lot of sense, they must be selling something – the propaganda thing again.

  • I am not sure from her blog if the writer is put off by the electioneering in Venezuela that is taking place or is simply amused. Personally, I enjoy the back and forth these campaign posters project. Many commentors to Havana Times seem to be overly affected by political propaganda. Indeed, they seem to see commercial or political propaganda as something negative. Especially when it comes from a company or reflects a position they disagree with. I take a different tack. I believe an educated, well-informed populace is no more ill-effected by campaign propanda as they are pressured to visit Disneyland for their vacation. It is a far worse thing to assume that people can not decide for themselves (as I fear the Cuban government assumes) and therefore shield them from making their own decisions. Of course, if you choose, you can blame corporate advertising for making people fat or you can say everyone is accountable to make their own decisions.

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