November 3, 2008

Annals of Counterproductive Propaganda

Quico says: It has come to this. Apparently, the latest good gone AWOL from Venezuelan store shelves is...wait for! Scarcity hasn't been this ironic since the Great Newcastle Coal Drought of 1872.

When you do find it, I'm told, it's in tiny increments, sold in plain paper bags from behind the counter, in hushed tones and at exorbitant black market prices. Like cocaine, only black.

It's funny how different shortages hit different people in different ways. Personally, I couldn't get worked up about the milk shortage earlier this year: I have no kids, take my coffee black, and I don't really bake. But...but coffee?! How can society even function without it?

Which is why, when I saw this Ministry of Information press release headlined "Un cafecito con el pueblo", I figured I was in for a bit of propaganda push back, where Minci would demand we believe what they have to say about coffee availability rather than believing the imperialist, coup-plotting media or, y'know, our lyin' eyes.

But not even. Turns out it was just a straight up and down Chávez-Man-of-the-People fluff piece about el comandante turning up unannounced at a Caracas city center cafeteria and sharing a cup of joe with the star struck regulars as they "chatted about their experiences and aspiration within the socialist society that is currently being built." out of touch are these people!? Couldn't they have talked him into doing "una empanadita con el pueblo"? Did they have to construct their little dithyramb around the one product you have to sweat blood to find in Venezuela these days? Honestly, what possible advantage do they think they get from rubbing it in?