"Chávez’s Aló Presidente and its Impact on Venezuela’s Journalistic Practice"


As Venezuela’s leader, Hugo Chávez utilized the media intensively and innovatively to boost his radical political project. The broadcast talk-show Aló Presidente became the most important component of his communication strategy, followed by his use of blanket broadcast messages. Chávez’s flagship program subverted liberal tenets, and has to this day served as a template in Latin America for populist communication. This study examined the ways Venezuelan journalists and media professionals have understood Chávez’s hyper-mediatic leadership –with special emphasis on Aló Presidente– and the impact the program and the official blanket messages had on their practice. A wide array of journalists, media practitioners, and commentators were interviewed about their views regarding Chávez’s media strategies and Aló Presidente, and tensions arising between different ideals of normative journalistic practice. Opinions among local journalists about the above-mentioned issues, this study found, are divided within a highly-polarized frame. And normative media ideals of liberal trends were challenged by pro-Chávez journalists, while an important faction of media professionals maintained that such practices are non-democratic.

Bracho-Polanco, E., 2020. Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 49(1), pp.42–51. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16993/iberoamericana.474

Author: Ed Bracho-Polanco University of Westminster