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Venezuela — PSUV Wooing Younger Voters
FEA20100617006250 – OSC Feature – Venezuela — OSC Report 16 Jun 10
President Chavez is moving to win support among younger voters — who represent about a third of the electorate — amid worsening economic conditions that may erode the showing of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in September legislative elections among traditionally pro-Chavez voters. Chavez has portrayed several victories by younger challengers over incumbents in the 2 May PSUV primaries as evidence of the party’s commitment to youth, in contrast with what he portrays as dismissive treatment by the opposition. He also is using popular Internet platforms to engage youth directly as the government targets them with new media initiatives.
PSUV Touts Openness to Young People
Chavez and PSUV leaders have hailed victories in party primaries of 44 younger challengers as a sign of the party’s renewal, and as proof of its commitment to giving young people leadership roles, in contrast to what they portray as a moribund opposition.
New PSUV banner on the official news agency’s website features a young woman; earlier versions had shown Chavez (ABN, 14 June).[ 1]
- Chavez and National Assembly President Cilia Flores billed the primaries as giving greater influence and leadership to youth, in contrast to the “contempt” offered by the opposition (VTV, 9 April; Ultimas Noticias.com.ve, 7 May).[ 2] [ 3]
- Vice President Jaua stressed that the party had managed a “generational” power transfer in less than a decade, and PSUV National Youth Coordinator Hector Rodriguez contrasted the PSUV’s giving youth a “central role” with the opposition’s wanting to “take advantage” of them (RNV, 3, 5 May).[ 4] [ 5]
Chavez Using Twitter, Blogs for Youth Outreach
Chavez is using popular Internet platforms to present himself as an engaged and accessible leader who cares about young people, and who is comfortable with new technology.
- For example, Chavez has been using Twitter — a social networking website popular among students — to answer calls for scholarships. He regularly uses slang to heighten the image of accessibility, and his account name, “ChavezCandanga,” translates to “troublemaker,” which heightens its appeal to youth (Twitter, 28 April-15 June). [ 10] [a]
- Playing off his Twitter success, Chavez started a blog with a counter to record his number of followers (www.chavez.org.ve, 10 June).[ 11] The blog reposts his Twitter messages and newspaper columns and reports on his speeches, but thus far has no unique content.
Propaganda Geared Toward Youth
The Chavez government also is recruiting young people to help spread its message online and on the street, and is targeting them with political advertising.
- Chavez launched a new program to establish “media guerillas,” teenagers who would be trained in communications to counter the opposition, and who would learn to use the Internet, social networking sites, murals, and loudspeakers to spread the government’s political message (VTV, 11 April).[ 12]
- State television channel VTV is using satirical cartoons to mock the opposition in an apparent government response to the popular anti-Chavez website El Chiguire Bipolar. Some VTV ads portray opposition leaders as indifferent to youth; other ads stress their egocentrism or their wastefulness of resources like water or electricity (VTV, 1 April-15 June).[ 13] Click here to view a 20-second example.
[a] For more on student use of social networking sites, see the 16 March OSC Report, Venezuela — Twitter Use Grows as Government Struggles To Respond (LAP20100316471001).
[ 1] [Internet Site | | Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias | | 14 June 2010 | | http://www.abn.info.ve | | Caracas Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias in Spanish — Website of the official Venezuelan News Agency also known by acronym ABN; URL: http://www.abn.info.ve]
[ 2] [OSC | | OSC ID: LAP20100410001003 | 10 April 2010 | | FYI — Venezuela: Chavez Launches PSUV Campaign; Names New Information Minister | | (U) | (U) | Caracas Venezolana de Television in Spanish — government-owned television station]
[ 3] [OSC | 7 May 2010 | | Highlights: Venezuela Political Press 7 May 10 | Flores: Young Aspirants Selection Shows PSUV Practices Inclusion | | (U) | ]
[ 4] [Internet Publication | | Radio Nacional de Venezuela Online | Jovenes del PSUV se Destacan por Participacion en Elecciones | 3 May 2010 | | http://www.rnv.gov.ve/noticias/?act=ST&f=2&t=126533 | | [Description of Source: Caracas Radio Nacional de Venezuela Online in Spanish — Official website of government-owned radio station also known by acronym RNV; URL: http://www.rnv.gov.ve]]
[ 5] [Internet Publication | | Radio Nacional de Venezuela Online | Juventud Revolucionaria se la Juega con Chavez y el Pueblo Venezolano | 5 May 2010 | | http://www.rnv.gob.ve/noticias/index.php?act=ST&f=2&t=126745 | | [Description of Source: Caracas Radio Nacional de Venezuela Online in Spanish — Official website of government-owned radio station also known by acronym RNV; URL: http://www.rnv.gov.ve]]
[ 6] [Internet Publication | | TalCualDigital.com | Una primera elección | 23 April 2010 | |
http://www.talcualdigital.com/ediciones/2010/04/23/N1_4N1.asp | | [Description of Source: Caracas TalCualDigital.com in Spanish — Website of tabloid highly critical of the Chavez administration; modest circulation but influential; run by former Planning Minister and well-known journalist Teodoro Petkoff; URL: http://www.talcualdigital.com]]
[ 7] [Internet Publication | | El Nacional Online | | 26 April 2010 | | http://el-nacional.com/www/site/p_contenido.php?q=nodo/134411/Primarias/Mesa-de- la-Unidad-anuncia-los-22-candidatos-a-la-AN-que-fueron-elegidos-por-primarias | | [Description of Source: Caracas El Nacional Online in Spanish — Website of widely read daily, regularly takes an active anti-Chavez stance with a daily run of 90,000 copies. President-Editor Miguel Henrique Otero; URL: http://www.el-nacional.com]]
[ 8] [Internet Publication | | El Nacional Online | 6 de cada 10 ciudadanos pueden votar en comicios parlamentarios | 8 January 2010 | | http://politica.eluniversal.com/2010/01/08/pol_art_6-de-cada-10-ciudada_1718102. shtml | | [Description of Source: Caracas El Universal Online in Spanish — Website of conservative, pro-opposition morning daily with an average daily run of over 80,000 copies Monday through Saturday and 200,000 on Sundays. Founded in 1909. President Dr. Andres Mata Osorio; URL: http://www.eluniversal.com]]
[ 9] [OSC | | OSC ID: LAP20100507073001 | 7 May 2010 | | Highlights: Venezuela Regional Press 7 May 10 / Pollster Luis Vicente Leon Says New Faces Among PSUV Candidates Could Attract Uncommitted Voters | | (U) | (U) | ]
[ 10] [Internet Site | | Twitter | | 28 April-15 June | | http://www.twitter.com/chavezcandanga | | ]
[ 11] [Internet Site | | www.chavez.org.ve | | 10 June 2010 | | www.chavez.org.ve | | ]
[ 12] [OSC | LAP20100412344001 | | 11 April 2010 | | FYI — VENEZUELA’S CHAVEZ WARNS TO RADICALIZE REVOLUTION IF ENEMIES TRY COUP AGAIN | | (U) | (U) | Caracas Venezolana de Television in Spanish — government-owned television station]
[ 13] [OSC | | Venezolana de Television (VTV) | | 1 April-15 June | | | | Caracas Venezolana de Television in Spanish — government-owned television station]
[This item was originally filed as LAP20100616467001]