Public service announcements, Venezuela-style
As I was watching the Cameroon-Croatia World Cup match on local TV Wednesday night, I was forced to endure this commercial from Barrio Alerta, a name used by the so-called “Simón Bolívar Cultural Foundation,” located in the populous 23 de Enero neighborhood in Western Caracas. It was … illuminating.
The catch? This ad was shown as part of the daily fifteen minutes of airtime that every radio and television station in the country must give to the state free of charge to present “…cultural, educational, informative or preventive messages of public service”, according to Article 10 of the current Broadcasting Law (Ley RESORTEME).
So, where’s the public service in the video?
There are two other ads I saw, but I couldn’t find them online yet. One was about the Syrian civil war, and another about the nuclear blast of Hiroshima. I AM NOT KIDDING.
Information Minister Delcy Rodriguez has already given two enthusiastic thumbs up to this campaign.
Barrio Alerta is infamous for its ads against the opposition. If you have the stomach for it, you can see some of their greatest hits on YouTube. They even have a lame attempt at a funny character named Professor Magnifying Glass (Profesor Lupa), that’s simply painful to watch. He’s played by some guy named Eduardo Rothe, who was also involved with science on the radio. Basically, he’s the Chavista response to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which just goes to show how screwed we really are …
Barrio Alerta is so tough that they even ignored orders from the CNE to stop posting ads during last year’s presidential campaign. But I have a question for them: if U.S. imperialism does exist, and it’s constantly plotting against Venezuela as Nicolas Maduro recently told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, why is PDVSA so intent on actually increasing their sales to them?