Super Mustache is pure muscle, athletic, so much so that he can walk with his boxers over his suit like all superheroes. He has an iron left hand, wears a red cap with the Venezuelan flag and can take down the bad guys in seconds. State television broadcast this week the first episode of a propaganda comic inspired by the figure of Nicolás Maduro, specifically his mustache.
In this two-minute preview, widely disseminated by journalists and influencers of Chavismo, two characters represented as chickens, with clear features that identify them with opponents such as Julio Borges and Henry Ramos Allup, plot with an alleged villain who dispatches from the White House to overthrow “To the simple bus driver.” The henchmen recount everything they tried until they come up with the idea of causing a general blackout in the country. The episode returns to the thesis of the great blackout suffered in Venezuela in March 2019, in which a large part of the country was without electricity for three days, and in some locations up to 10, a watershed in the acute Venezuelan crisis.
The supposed comic book villain presses a red button on his desk and the country goes dark. The government uses this cartoonish argument to ensure that the blackouts, and almost anything that does not work in Venezuela, are caused by external agents seeking to destabilize the regime. Precisely, the technical breakdown of 2019 was described by Maduro as “an electromagnetic cyber attack.”
The one at that time was not the first electricity crisis that the country was going through due to the disinvestment in infrastructures, mismanagement and the enormous cobweb of corruption that covers this sector, today uncovered in courts in the United States, Spain and Andorra that are continuing trials against Former officials and businessmen for money laundering of bribes in public contracts. After 2019, the blackouts have not disappeared. A large part of Venezuelans have already become accustomed to current fluctuations and long hours without service.
Super Mustache appears to the cry for help of a bedridden patient in an operating room in the middle of the blackout. The hero without a mask summons a group of people and tells them that together they will face what is happening. Then a worker’s helmet is deployed and he shoots out with his iron fist – a la Stalin or Marvel – to destroy a drone sent from the United States to generate a supposed electromagnetic effect with which to hack the Guri, the main hydroelectric power station in the country.
As in all propaganda fiction, after the feat of Super Mustache the light returns and everyone celebrates it. The superhero lands with his iron fist and the “indestructible” that Maduro has turned into his personal slogan is heard, stolen from the song of the same name by the salsa master Ray Barreto, who has danced more than once on a national network with his wife. The defeated villain closes the episode by expressing his furious hatred of Super Mustache, to announce an eternal vendetta like that of the coyote and the roadrunner.
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This comic book propaganda appears a week after the regional and local elections in which Chavismo swept charges, but in which it also suffered a setback in participation. The Venezuelan Government has imposed the narrative of victory in the elections, despite the fact that once again the legitimacy to which they aspire after annulling the elections in the Barinas governorate hangs by a thread, a red bastion won by an opponent from a brother of Chávez.
In 2013, Maduro had to take command of the revolution after the death of Hugo Chávez. But in the eight years that he has been in power, he has separated from that shadow leadership and has fought the personalist path of Chávez, who had his Ken doll with a red beret. Maduro’s image is today on billboards in the streets, in the CLAP (social food distribution program) boxes. He celebrates his birthday on television and his wife gives him live surprises such as the late Juan Gabriel or, more recently, last week when he turned 59, the Mexican Pablo Montero, who after singing to the president lost his hiring schedule in rejection of the rapprochement he had with one of the most diplomatically close political leaders.
It is not known who the creators of the animated comic are, if it is a production financed by public money, how many episodes it will have or the time and channels of its transmission. The two-minute clip has been a fertilizer for memes and the center of much of the conversation on social networks in Venezuela. Its broadcast on VTV stands out on a grid of national channels – and also on the radio – from where the humor and political satire programs disappeared due to government control and censorship.
It is not the first time that Maduro appears in a comic strip. In 2013, the producer of El Chigüire Popular – a political humor website – included it for the first time in an episode of the second season of Isla Presidencial, a famous animated series transmitted by YouTube that brought together the presidents of the region, which they had to survive trapped on an island. Maduro’s character made his debut in Miraflores and arrived with a bird on his shoulder to the island where Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Evo Morales and Juan Manuel Santos were. In the episode they recreated a scene that he himself recounted on television months after Chávez’s death, in which he said he heard the commander speaking to him in the song of a little bird. The day after the broadcast, he reactively gave his criticism of the animation in a political act: “Did they see Isla Presidencial? Very badly achieved, it is not my face or mustaches or voice. Also, they make me very rough, I’m not that rough like that. And very fat, “he said jokingly. Until now, Maduro has not referred to Super Mustache, so its broadcast on state television could indicate that he agrees with the features and personality of his cartoon.
One of those alluded to in the comic did respond to its dissemination. In his Twitter account, the parliamentarian in exile Julio Borges published a photo where children are seen rummaging through the garbage with the message: “Here is the truth: the Super Destroyer of Venezuela. Maduro is misery and corruption ”.
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