The Political Communication of Hugo Chávez: The Evolution of Aló Presidente

Constantini, Sunthai (2014) The Political Communication of Hugo Chávez: The Evolution of Aló Presidente. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Full text available)

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Abstract

Aló Presidente was a weekly television programme anchored and produced by Hugo Chávez during his presidency in Venezuela. The show, a version of a phone-in, was broadcast live on national television at 11am on Sundays and lasted on average six hours. It followed the presidential agenda to a new location every week, where Hugo Chávez would inaugurate factories, read Latin American poetry, interview Fidel Castro, and sing llanero songs. This thesis investigates the role that Aló Presidente played in the making of the “Bolivarian Revolution”, Hugo Chávez’s political project. Through a critical reading of the transcripts of the show, it explores the 378 episodes, or 1656 hours, that aired between 1999 and 2012. Aló Presidente was the cornerstone of Chávez’s political communication, replacing press conferences and interviews. Chávez was known for his continuous presence on radio and television and his daily presidential addresses. However, only on the Sunday show could the audience phone the president and share their ideas, emotions and everyday life concerns. This thesis reviews the narratives that underlined the relationship between the audience/electorate and the host/president on Aló Presidente. It is argued that Aló Presidente played a fundamental role in articulating the identity of a public that shared the values and ideas of Chávez’s hegemonic project. Moreover, it is argued that the show Aló Presidente and the ideological process called the “Bolivarian Revolution” can be read as two co-related arms of a same project, and that they informed and defined each other throughout Chávez’s presidency. In this context, this thesis assesses the evolution of the programme in light of the political events taking place in Venezuela during that time. Aló Presidente is thus seen as a repository, or “black box”, of the discourses that articulated the Bolivarian identity and constructed the legitimacy of Hugo Chávez as the leader of a populist movement in Venezuela. Finally, the core of this thesis is that the co-relation between the show and the hegemonic project evolved over time to strengthen the authoritarian tendencies of Hugo Chávez’s regime. Following the activities of Aló Presidente over 13 years, the investigation charts that evolution in three different stages: 1) participation, 2) education, and 3) obedience, arguing that what started as a seemingly participatory space, progressively became a platform that presented Hugo Chávez’s figure as the ideologue of a populist movement, and ultimately secured his position as the indisputable leader and sole authority of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Revolution”.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Political Communication. Aló Presidente. Venezuela. Hugo Chávez. Bolivarian Revolution. Discourse Analysis. Television.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4731 Journalism
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Centre for Journalism
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2015 13:00 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2015 15:47 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48023 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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