Welcome to Aló Presidente!, a television chatshow like no other. Sunday's edition, No 295, was the longest yet, a marathon of politics and showmanship, and for many proof that Venezuela has become a country governed largely through television. There are cabinet meetings, national assembly debates and committee hearings in the offices of state in central Caracas, but the most emphatic exercise of power resides in the weekly show hosted by the president. This is where Mr Chávez engages with the masses, announces policies, muses on his political philosophy, and signals the next step in his self-described socialist revolution.
"Chávez governs from Aló Presidente. It is on this show that ministers find out if they have been fired or hired; it is here where mayors and governors are reprimanded for anything they have done wrong," said Arturo Serrano, a political scientist at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas. (Rory Carroll "Government by TV: Chávez sets 8-hour record". The Guardian 25 September, 2007)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Wednesday quotation, Part VII: Chávez's government by television.