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Government Propaganda used to Hold on Power

An autocratic regime must control the messaging in order to maintain its hold on power.

Achieving this in the age of mass communication, especially when digital technology is

ubiquitous, is no small task. Not only does the regime need to control it's domestic messaging, but also concern itself with competing narratives from abroad, from its international competitors and detractors.


by Harshul Makim

Freedom Voice Reports


The smaller private telecommunications companies in Venezuela have been hard pressed in recent times, especially during the Covid related lock down period, and even prior to it due to Venezuela's economic stagnation. According to a report by Freedom House, "...the state dominates the information and communications technologies (ICT) market...Smaller companies have been able to enter the market, with 22 new providers entering the market between January and May 2021" , but the lion's share of the market is controlled and exploited by the government for its propaganda use.


The most sweeping regulatory measure was taken in May 2019 when the Maduro government decreed, that the aim of the National Corporation of Telecommunications and Postal Services of Venezuela (CSTSPV), ";...would be to manage the state’s telecommunications companies, enabling it to “acquire all or part of the shares in all those companies and services directly or indirectly related to its corporate purpose, whether owned by national or foreign entities, or merge with them, with prior authorization of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Council of Ministers" (Freedom House).


Through this measure the autocratic regime of Venezuela is continuing on the same narrow and dismal path of informational control in order to maintain its slippery hold on power. One could liken information to water, and water does have a way of finding its way in through the most inconspicuous of openings. Sure one can build dams, walls and other barriers to stop it and even succeed for a while, but eventually the battle will be lost as history has shown time and time again.


As of late the social media platform Twitter has been utilized extensively by the Maduro regime for the purpose of mass messaging. Twitter for its part has attempted to control the behavior of nefarious individuals and organizations, but it has proved to be a losing battle. According to reporting by The Atlantic Council in early 2019, "...Twitter announced that it had removed 1,196 accounts located in Venezuela which appear to be engaged in a state-backed influence campaign... accounts associated with Chavistas and the Maduro regime were sanctioned by Twitter at the beginning of 2020, including the official accounts for Maduro’s Ministry for Petroleum, the Minister of the Interior, the Central Bank of Venezuela, and the Bolivarian Army of Venezuela" .


control of internet

Even with proactive measures from social media organizations, there are simply too many ways technologically to bypass digital censorship and the astronomical volume of accounts and content material guarantees bad actors a space on the digital stage. According to TIME, "Authorities used to block sites with simple DNS (Domain Name System) blocking; under orders from the government, Internet service providers stopped connecting users to requested sites" ...


With wider use of VPN's (Virtual Private Networks) and complex encryption, the government's tactics to control the flow of information and content that is received by the population has also become sophisticated.


Conclusion

The unfortunate fact is that currently the Maduro regime is winning the fight in limiting the

access of a significant part of the population to the Internet in Venezuela. A certain percentage of the infrastructure is dilapidated due to lack of investment in upgrading and maintenance. That in itself is keeping Venezuelans from accessing the web and the rest is accomplished by the government that has bestowed upon itself the exclusive right of control over telecommunications of the entire nation. By doing so, the regime can regulate the amount of consumption, the content, the narrative, and which segment of the population is granted access, and for how long to the wider world. History may have shown us time and time again that such control over millions of lives is destined to fail, but when. At this moment in Venezuela's history, the nation must endure the impulses of a tinpot dictator, who fails to realize that his regime is on a path that leads to failure and destruction.

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