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Venezuelan president launches radio program “In contact with Maduro”




Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro launched a weekly radio program titled “En contacto con Maduro” (“In contact with Maduro” in English) on Tuesday, March 11, reported the digital newspaper Infobae. With his new program, Maduro emulates the late former President Hugo Chávez, whose own program, “Aló Presidente” (“Hello Mr. President”), communicated his policies and activities every Sunday.

President Nicolás Maduro during the launch of his radio program on March 11, 2014. Source: Maduro's Twitter account.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro launched a weekly radio program titled “En contacto con Maduro” (“In contact with Maduro” in English) on Tuesday, March 11, reported the digital newspaper Infobae. With his new program, Maduro emulates the late former President Hugo Chávez, whose own program, “Aló Presidente” (“Hello Mr. President”), communicated his policies and activities every Sunday.

The program will be transmitted from Miraflores Palace every Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time, “or whenever necessary,” Maduro said, occasionally accompanied by a simultaneous television broadcast. It will also be made available through his Facebook and Twitter accounts, since the intention is to combine social media with the radio program.

“We are starting a communication cycle with our people at another level by combining all forms of communication,” the president said during his first transmission, adding that the program serves “to be in contact with all of us, in contact to make a nation, to make a life, to process proposals, ideas, complaints, criticism, good news and regular news.”

In his first program, Maduro invited journalists Desiré Santos Amaral and Roberto Malaver and criticized the country’s opposition press for lying about reality in Venezuela. The president also told several anecdotes, including the first impression he had of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, whom he saw “appear like a miracle” in the 1990s, saying that since then he formed a connection with the former president and his ideals.

These personal stories also included his humble origins in a low-income neighborhood in Caracas and his musical tastes, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The president also accused the right-wing opposition of distorting the facts related to the country's new electronic card, which was announced on March 8 and will help ration scarce products. “They are stupid. If it was up to the bourgeoisie there would be a famine,” he said of the opposition.

Maduro also read messages from Twitter, primarily those showing support for him and criticizing both the opposition and the protests which have taken place in Venezuela for the past month.

When he was asked by journalists present in the studio why it was necessary to have a radio program, since he spoke to the people almost every day through television, the president responded by saying it was because of the “interactive character” of the program and because it was available to anyone who did not live in Venezuela.

The radio program is similar in style to Hugo Chávez’s “Aló Presidente,” which was transmitted every Sunday from 1999 until Jan. 29, 2012, a few weeks before Chávez went into surgery for cancer treatment.

According to the AP, Chávez also used his program “to sing, tell familiar anecdotes, make jokes, give guidelines to his supporters and attack those opposed to him.” At the time, Chávez’s program was also criticized for being unnecessary since the president maintained an active presence almost daily on radio and television.

Prior to this radio program, Maduro had launched a weekly program titled “Diálogo Bolivariano” (“Bolivarian dialogue”) following Chávez’s death on March 5, 2013, though this was gradually abandoned, according to he Agency France Press.



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