As I have learned during my studies of public relations anniversaries are great communication opportunities – positive ones as well as negative ones. In communication anniversaries are often used as a means to bring up and place topics in the media again. The media on the other hand has a predilection for anniversaries for news value reasons.
When browsing the internet this morning I was happy to discover an unusual high amount of features treating Venezuela – even in German media, which is even more unusual as German media seems way too concerned about the situation in Ukraine to focus on any other foreign topic. The thematic anchor has been the first death anniversary of “El Commandante” Hugo Chavez in most of today’s features. The majority of articles highlights the problems Venezuela is facing at the moment and include original quotes from protesters.
I especially liked this sentence from Die Welt, though: “Viele Linke sind irritiert, können oder wollen nicht glauben, was sich in Venezuela abspielt.” (“Many left [foreign activists] are irritated, cannot or do not want to believe what is happening in Venezuela right now.”) This is exactly what I experience way too often when reading online comments. My opinion about their hypocratic behavior has been summarized very well by Michael Moynihan.
The only thing that nags at me is the way some articles place all the guilt on Maduro – I almost feel sorry for him. I mean, come on. All these problems did not come out of nowhere. I have seen them come up and deteriorate over the past couple of years. And no matter how unqualified Maduro might be, even if he had wanted to he could not have ruined Venezuela like this in a single year. He is just not as smart as Chavez was to cover up the ruin for a little longer and keep people satisfied. I get the feeling Maduro is just made the scapegoat for all of Chavez’ doings so the image of the icon the latter has become will remain undamaged. “If Chavez was still alive…” Well, but he isn’t.
That said all in all it is pretty ironic, though: It looks like Chavez, of all people, is the one to reactivate international media to cover Venezuela again. Not in the way he would have liked, for sure, but in my opinion the opposition could not be happier about this little favour from the grave.