Following in Chávez’s steps, Venezuela’s interim president takes to TV and Twitter

By Isabela Fraga

Venezuela’s interim president, Nicolás Maduro, launched the television program Diálogo Bolivariano (Bolivarian Dialogue) on Thursday, March 14, emulating the late Hugo Chávez’s famous Aló Presidente program, reported El Universal. Chávez’s chosen successor for the up-coming April 14 elections in the country, Maduro said that he established the new program to fulfill “the wishes of our president commander [Chávez].”

According to Maduro, a diverse range of representatives from Venezuelan society will participate in the show, including construction workers, peasants, women, military members and business owners, reported Univisión. The acting president said he would also receive Venezuelans from “the right” that wanted to criticize the government “if they do so respectfully.”

The program was first broadcast during a ceremony granting homes to 61 families in Catia La Mar, Vargas, explained El Nacional. There was no news, however, about when the second episode would be filmed. Maduro suggested the possibility of using the program to host a debate with opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles but emphasized that the main objective of the broadcast would be to have a dialogue with the public.

Maduro, closely following in the steps of his predecessor in his quest for popularity, announced his entrance to social media with a Twitter account, reported El Mundo. The handle @NicolasMaduro already had over 244,000 followers at his writing.

According to an infographic from the website Ultimas Noticias, Aló Presidente was first broadcast in May 1999 and had 378 episodes, totaling 1,656 hours. On Sunday, March 17, Venezuela Television broadcast a three-hour collection of Aló Presidente clips titled “Aló Comandante.”

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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