Festive Left Friday Blogging: Guess who’s ten years old this week…

It’s Chavecito’s TV show–Aló Presidente!

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The show is the ultimate in audience participation and direct democracy. It’s also downright gonzo at times–and can go on for several hours at a stretch. When Chavecito’s in town, anyone can take up any issue with him, right there at his desk. (It used to be a phone-in show, but then it got so popular that the lines got jammed.) In between issue-taking-up and general kibitzing, it’s also often an opportunity for Chavecito to raise awareness of history, put current events in context, announce new social projects, and occasionally, give the fascist leadership of the oppos a hard time (and more than a little public humiliation, like the time he fired several of the top brass at PDVSA for corruption, incompetence and general mismanagement–and attempting to illegally privatize the state-run company).

Appropriately, he celebrated the anniversary in his home state of Barinas, where he addressed a gathering of locals, university students and the military:

“Do you want to see a student march? Do you want to see it? I’m capable of bringing together a million students in the street.”

He’s not shitting. They get up and spontaneously start chanting, cheering and waving banners for him. And, given that the majority of Venezuelans are Bolivarians, it stands to reason that a majority of students also are. And no wonder: in the last ten years, untold opportunities have opened up for them, thanks to Chavecito and all those crazy, loopy projects he announced for the first time on that crazy, loopy show of his.

Happy anniversary, Chavecito–and may you and your crazy, loopy show have many more!

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