Supermoustache! Sounds Like a Job for Venezuela's Socialist Superhero

By Tom Phillips

"His superpower is staying in power," said AS/COA's Guillermo Zubillaga to The Guardian about the Venezuelan propaganda campaign cartoon who resembles Nicolás Maduro.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – it’s a Venezuelan propaganda campaign designed to burnish Nicolás Maduro’s strongman credentials with the help of a caped crusader called SuperBigote – or SuperMoustache.

The musclebound cartoon superhero – who bears an unmistakable resemblance to Venezuela’s authoritarian president – has been met with acclaim or derision, depending on which side of the country’s bitter political schism viewers stand…

Guillermo Zubillaga, a Venezuela specialist at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, said there was logic to the seemingly frivolous cartoon.

He believed spin doctors hoped SuperMoustache would emphasize the invincibility of a politician who, against all odds, overcame a relentless US-backed campaign to topple him.

“His superpower is staying in power,” said Zubillaga, pointing to critical support from China and Russia, whose deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, last week refused to rule out sending troops to Venezuela if tensions with the US continued to rise.

“The message they are trying to convey is that they are in total control.”…

Zubillaga suspected propaganda officials saw SuperMoustache as a distraction from the far less amusing topic of Venezuela’s collapse. “It’s so ludicrous it gets people talking. It distracts you from the real reality of the 6 million people abroad, the malnutrition numbers, the fact that there are 250 political prisoners.

“I think it’s effective. I wouldn’t dismiss it,” he added. “You repeat it so much … that people start to believe it.”…

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