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Venezuela’s mustachioed superhero is ‘at war with imperialism’



Venezuela's mustachioed superhero is 'at war with imperialism'

They are made in the image of Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela. (file)

Caracas, Venezuela:

Venezuela has its own superhero with a cape. He wears a red construction helmet and his weapon is his Iron Fist. Called a “super-bigot”, he has been made in the image of President Nicolás Maduro.

Super-bigot is Spanish for super-mustache, an allusion to the famous bushy lip growth shared by the cartoon character with Maduro, and from which he derives the power that makes him “indestructible”.

Like Clark Kent turning into Superman, Maduro becomes a super-bigot on national TV and the internet for bravely defending Venezuela against its enemies – a recurring rival is a masked, blonde adversary in the White House.

According to a source in the know, who is not authorized to speak to the media, the super-bigot was hired by Maduro’s entourage in 2021.

The brief was to create a hero “in the war against imperialism,” the source told AFP.

Maduro has referred to himself as a super-bigot in the past, with a video showing him ironically declaring: “I am not superman. I am a super-bigot. Look! A government falls,” Because he moves his mustache from one side to the other.

Ten years after the death of his more popular predecessor, Hugo Chávez, Maduro has eagerly embraced propaganda and a personality cult as a means of endearing himself to the Venezuelan people.

The super-bigot is used to deflect blame for a multitude of the country’s problems: he battles a mechanical mole depriving the country of electricity, a monster blocking the distribution of vaccines, a Frankenstein monster from the CIA. Created by.

The character is everywhere: on baseball caps, T-shirts, graffiti and official murals in Caracas and other cities, and even at Carnival, where children and adults alike dress up in super-bigot costumes.

Shops selling super-bigot dolls do a brisk business.

not hell, just purgatory

“It’s not a personality cult, it’s love of country! It’s not the person, but what he represents. He’s a leader who fights us,” said Balbina Perez, 65, wearing a super-bigot T-shirt. at a Carnival parade in Caracas, told AFP.

Elias Pino Iturieta, a retired historian and personality cult expert, believes that the character of the super-bigot probably did not come about haphazardly, but was “well thought out.”

Pino told AFP, “Chávez was very popular. Maduro is less popular. That’s why we invented this character. You have to find something that makes you feel like you’re not just living in purgatory in hell.”

Maduro needs all the help he can get. Venezuela has been going through a severe economic crisis since 2013.

GDP declined by 80 percent, and hyperinflation eroded purchasing power. Out of three crore people of the country, about seventy lakh people have gone.

For Pino, the super-bigot is a “deviance” trying to stoke public anger and quell discontent and protest.

“It’s a circus trick. Like a trapeze artist who gets your attention. It’s great from a marketing point of view, but pathetic in terms of contempt for the population,” he said.

It is no coincidence that the initials SB are emblazoned on the character’s chest.

They are short for both Super-Bigot and Simón Bolívar – a Latin American independence hero whose name is reflected in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Many Venezuelan leaders, including Chávez, had a habit of using Bolivar’s name when trying to cast themselves in a good light.

“Politics in Venezuela is totally personal,” said Daniel Varnaghi, a political scientist at Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar University.

He said, “Chávez is the reference and he has an almost magical or religious power” that is difficult for any successor to live up to.

Pino said that while the heroic memory of Chávez still lingers, Maduro is fighting to gain more space in the public psyche.

He said, “Chávez is less and Maduro… and more of a super-bigot.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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