By Daniel Jiménez Chavarría – International Relations Student
Nicolas Maduro is the most polemical, colorful, and charismatic figure that the last decade has left us, in his speech we can still hear the magical realism echoes that once Chávez used to approach the popular electors and the UN. Both leaders (Nicolas Maduro and Hugo Chávez) have had used this Latin American born movement, in what seems to be a polemic and satiric discourse, there is an unmistakable wonderfulness characterizing their speeches loaded with attacks to the United States imperialism. This trend even got to the UN assembly with the famous speech of “El Diablo” (Stout, 2006), and also more recently from Maduro with “La Lupa de Chavez”. In addition, we cannot forget the unforgettable declaration of Maduro saying that Chavez took the form of a bird and spoke to him. Therefore, for this Moxie we will to portray when and how that start dust of magical realism has been spread all over the followers and the region, and analyze how useful this “popular” but mostly idiosyncratic usage of the movement has had caused a significant impact on their populist electors.
Thus, in this historical analysis we see how the catholic church figure is used to set a magical transformation of a politician into “The Devil himself” and how the sulfur smell is still in the UN tabernacle (Stout, 2006). In addition, the good-bad character is magically portrayed when Chávez mentions the new sunrise of the planet, referring to the MERCOSUR alliance that was settled a rising power against the hegemony of the United States (Partido PSUV, 2016). Therefore, we see how by that time the Venezuelan President was using these magical references to capture popular vote by setting himself, as the saint savior against the perdition of the northern power.
Now, more recently Nicolas Maduro also referred to the electric crisis faced in 2019 as “The Electric War” against the US, accusing this country to be the responsible to send electromagnetic impulses to cluster the electrical supply for 5 days (González, 2019). González also mentioned in 2019 to be impossible to have immediate effect and that there’s an incapability to produce such a huge electromagnetically force, therefore, Maduro made it seemed like a magical electric attack suddenly organized from the US against Venezuela.
On the other hand (but not that recently), Maduro made a mystical move to acquire more votes for the socialist party, by stating that Chávez came back from the dead in the form of a bird, broke down into the church he was praying at and told him that the battle was about to begin and to go to victory (Neuman, 2013). Thus, this religious, paranormal and ghostly speech to keep the image of a very beloved and charismatic character of the revolution is not more than the best use of magical realism, and the incorporation of popular elements of the movement such a religion surrealistic interpretation of reality.
Moreover, one could consider these events to be isolated and distant to counterargue the use of the magical speech though the resolution, however, Nicolás Maduro used the image of an “eternal” Chávez again to leverage his speech for the UN Assembly on 2020, stating that today more than ever they must believe in Hugo’s words of using a giant magnifying glass to revise the world (RT en vivo, 2020). Furthermore, Maduro also uses a characteristic element of surrealism and poverty in his speech at the General Assembly. He aims to the “supremacist” govern of the United States to warn them that the world is watching and that the twenty first century has millions of eyes that see through the mediatic matrix. Besides, he portrays the neoliberalism as the responsible of the unheard, poor and orphan mobs (nations) that are unprotected due to the pandemic crisis. Then, at this point, we could also think that the populism is also in somehow intrinsic in the speech of these analyzed politicians, and that magical realism has nothing to do with these exaggerations, to which one must consider that it also might be a mixture of both.
In conclusion, the supernatural echoes of the former President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, are indeed an important element of the political speech of Nicolás Maduro. Also, despite the consideration of been a mix of populist speech with magical realism, it’s clear that characteristic components of this literature movement have served these politicians to target the idiosyncrasy of the popular voters, and are still to this day a distinctive discourse that touches sensible fibers of the Latin Americans. Then is fair to say that the historic analysis of the Venezuelan governmental speech has been flooded with extraordinary and supernatural although true words.
MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (www.ulacit.ac.cr), producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente Delfino.cr, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas. Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.
González, M. M. (2019). La guerra eléctrica de Maduro, mentiras y verdades. Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos. file:///C:/Users/GMHCC/Downloads/Dialnet-LaGuerraElectricaDeMaduroMentirasYVerdades-7264315.pdf
Neuman, W. (2013). Even in Death, Chávez Is a Powerful Presence. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/world/americas/even-in-death-chavezdominates-venezuelas-presidential-race.html?auth=login-google
Partido PSUV. (2016, September 19). Discurso histórico del Comandante Hugo Chávez en la ONU. https://youtu.be/eGXr8MyQM5w
RT en vivo. (2020, September 23). Discurso del presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, en la 75ª Asamblea General de la ONU 2020. https://youtu.be/lpDKSgQW0O8
Stout, D. (2006). Chávez Calls Bush ‘the Devil’ in U.N. Speech. The New York Times.