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Venezuela's Petro-DiplomacyHugo Chavez's Foreign Policy$

Ralph S. Clem

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035307

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035307.001.0001

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Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy
Source:
Venezuela's Petro-Diplomacy
Author(s):

John Magdaleno G.

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813035307.003.0004

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses public opinion about Hugo Chávez's Venezuelan foreign policy. Venezuela's foreign policy has been asserted by many to constitute a positive effort by the Venezuelan government to market its image internationally. The chapter looks at the impact of this strategy on target audiences. Public opinion of Venezuela's foreign policy highlighted growing challenge for the Chávez government. A stronger government effort to earn a more favorable perception among key international actors, requiring the use of even more resources, was carried out. The chapter takes into account the influence of factors such as the attempted international reach of the “Bolivarian revolution”; the growing influence of the Venezuelan state in Latin America; domestic challenges such as security, inflation, food shortages; and a rise in social protests on internal costs of foreign policy in Venezuela.

Keywords:   public opinion, Venezuela, foreign policy, Bolivarian revolution, internal costs, domestic challenges

Many observers have noted the assertive nature of Venezuela's foreign policy, the efforts by the Venezuelan government to market its image internationally, and the impact of this strategy on target audiences. An equally important consideration, however, is the progressive, albeit gradual, shift in opinion in Venezuela of Hugo Chávez's foreign policy. How do Venezuelans view the evolution of this policy? How has it affected overall public opinion of the president? Finally, how can we evaluate a foreign policy that has had increasing costs abroad and well as domestically?

To answer these questions, in the following discussion I examine the empirical evidence provided by a sample of public opinion surveys with national or urban national coverage dating back to 2002. The discussion is highly descriptive, a common characteristic of exploratory analyses of quantitative surveys, but it also suggests hypotheses and possible interpretations of the results presented, as well as a number of observations on future prospects for Chávez's foreign policy.

Perceptions of Venezuelan Foreign Policy

A February 2002 survey by DatAnalysis, a leading Venezuelan polling firm, compared Venezuelans' perceptions of the course of Chávez's foreign policy with the direction they would like to see this policy take (see Figure 3.1).1 The results are clear; while 53 percent of those surveyed said that the Chávez government should “foment relations with all the countries in the world” without regard for ideology, 63 percent perceived that “relations with non (p.50)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.1. Perceptions of the Direction of President Chávez's Foreign Policy

1. Study conducted among men and women 18 and older in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in Venezuela's 25 main urban areas. The sample size was 1,000, with a maximum allowable error of +3.04 at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using nonprobability dynamic quotas (controlling for gender, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-to-face, on February 22–26, 2002.

(p.51) democratic countries or state-controlled economies such as Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia” were in fact the ones being fomented.

It is worth noticing that 40 percent of those surveyed answered that they preferred a foreign policy concentrated on strengthening “relations with democratic and market economy countries such as the United States, countries in Europe and some countries in Latin America,” but only 13 percent perceived that this was the principal foreign policy direction at the time. We can say, therefore, that as of February 2002 Venezuelan foreign policy was heading in a direction away from the preferences of the majority of those interviewed.

A similar study in September 2005, also by DatAnalysis, included an additional question that attempted to measure which scenario interviewees considered more probable (see Figure 3.2).2 A majority (56.5 percent) of those interviewed preferred a future foreign policy directed at strengthening relations “with all the countries in the world without a particular view prevailing,” but only 34 percent considered that scenario probable. Twenty-eight

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.2. Which international relations model would you prefer for the year 2015, and which do you think is most probable?

1. Study conducted among men and women 18 and older in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in 50 localities across the country. The sample size was 1,300, with a maximum allowable error of +2.7% at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using non-probability dynamic quotas (controlling for gender, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-toface, on September 16–25, 2005.

(p.52) percent believed that it was probable that in the year 2015 Venezuelan foreign policy would foment “relations with countries with state-controlled economies,” although only 13 percent indicated this as their preference. Another 13 percent believed it was probable that the Venezuelan government would foment “relations with countries with market economies,” versus 15 percent who mentioned this as their preference (the smallest gap observed to date).

If we contrast the September 2005 results with perceptions in February 2002 about the real direction of Venezuelan foreign policy, some variations become evident (see Figure 3.3). Thirty-four percent of respondents said that the current government “foments relations with countries with state-controlled economies”; 28 percent said that the government “foments relations with all the countries in the world without a particular view prevailing”; 15 percent indicated that the government “foments relation with countries with market economies”; and 7 percent selected a new option: “Implementation of strong restrictions on the process of globalization and regional integration.” While the wording in this survey is not identical to that used in the February

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.3. What do you think is the government's current international relations model? (Values expressed as percentages)

(p.53) 2002 poll, there is a relevant variation of nearly 30 percentage points for the first type of answer.

Two hypotheses can be formulated from this analysis. First, the September 2005 poll came one year after the presidential revocation referendum of August 2004—which was followed in October by regional and local elections— and just two months before parliamentary elections. Most opposition parties were urging people not to vote, to protest what they considered fraud in the revocation referendum. In a study conducted by DatAnalysis shortly after the referendum, 39 percent of those surveyed stated that the consultation had been fraudulent, and 4 out of 10 respondents expressed political apathy. If the types of answers in September 2005 were identical to those in the 2002 study and Figure 3.3 reflects a typing or transcription error, then it may be possible that the postelectoral climate that followed the announcement of the referendum results influenced the interviewees' perceptions of Venezuelan foreign policy. A second hypothesis is that the results were closely related to the increasing influence of the official media, especially after the restrictions that began in 2004 on private media who followed an editorial line against the government. Under this hypothesis, the 30 percent gap between February 2002 and September 2005 with regard to Venezuela's foreign relations with non-democratic countries with state-controlled economies may have been related to the government's success in marketing a different vision of its foreign policy to the majority of the population.

The two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, and may both explain the variation recorded. If “Venezuela's assertive global projection” is to be understood as the result of the efficacy of government communication, in Venezuela and abroad, then this could be true only if two essential variables are taken into account: first, the increase in Venezuelan oil income from higher world oil prices, which allowed the government to finance information campaigns abroad, court government-friendly “opinion makers,” and hire lobbying firms in countries such as the United States; and second, the progressive construction of a “communications and propaganda machine” at the service of the Venezuelan state to legitimize the official version of events, market the Chávez government, and filter or block access to official media by political or social actors critical of the government.

The survey results are tentative evidence that, in the last quarter of 2005, the government was able to exert a greater influence on Venezuelan public opinion, particularly on Venezuelans' perceptions of foreign policy. An important (p.54) gap remained between desired and perceived foreign policy, but the discrepancy had lessened since February 2002.

Perceptions of Cuba and the United States

The Chávez government has a history of using the United States, and particularly former president George W. Bush, as a straw man, but do most Venezuelans share this negative view? Chávez has made no secret of his anti-Americanism,3 or of his relationship with Fidel Castro, whom he has publicly vindicated in speeches, official visits, trade agreements, and by means of an oil supply agreement at preferential prices. It is worth knowing how Venezuelans value these relations. The time series in Figure 3.4 clearly shows consistently high levels of rejection to this question.4 Nevertheless, support

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.4. What is your position with regard to Venezuela taking Fidel Castro's Cuban regime as an example?

1. The question was part of DatAnalisis's Omnibus Survey, with the same sample design as the one described in Figure 3.2. The Omnibus Survey had a sample size of 1,000 up to July 2003, and 1,300 thereafter, with the exceptions noted in Figure 3.4.

(p.55) for the Cuban model varied significantly over the sampling period. Negative responses dropped significantly, from 93 percent to 63 percent, between November 2002 and May 2005, and increased between July 2005 and September 2007. One explanation could be the successful efforts by the Chávez government to influence Venezuelan public opinion during these two periods.

In late 2004, after victories in the revocation referendum and regional elections, Chávez embarked on a strategy of political persuasion that emphasized gradual legitimization of the Cuban model. The strategy was simple: to promote the benefits of Misión Barrio Adentro (Mission Inside the Neighborhood), the government's flagship social program for the poorest segments of the population. Misión Barrio Adentro is a primary health care network staffed by Cuban doctors at small, government-provided clinics in poor areas of the country. On national television and radio, Chávez praised Cuba's contributions to the “Bolivarian revolution” and the poorest Venezuelans. For example, on the June 12, 2005, broadcast of Aló, Presidente, his regular Sunday television show, Chávez focused on three main themes: advances in the Bolivarian revolution's health programs, the brotherhood between Cuba and Venezuela, and the legitimization of socialism based on reaffirmation of the capitalist-socialist dichotomy, expressed as the confrontation between neoliberalism and “twenty-first century socialism.” These three topics can be synthesized into one—the legitimization of socialism through health care.

Content analysis of the words Chávez used in that program, and especially a frequency count of key words, shows the hammering home of the healthcare-Cuba-socialism chain. Chávez used the words “Cuba,” “Cuban” or “Cubans” 185 times, the third-highest frequency of any of the words he used that day (after “Venezuela” or “Venezuelans”—244 times—and “I”— 224 times). Other high-frequency words included “people” and “peoples” (123 times), “revolution” or “revolutionary” (54 times), “Bolívar” (45 times), “socialism” (43 times), “capitalism” (13 times), “poor” or “poverty” (19 times), and “middle class” (14 times).5 Chávez repeated positive messages regarding Cuba and Fidel Castro on many programs from 2003 through 2005.

The question follows, therefore, why the surveys found increased rejection of the Cuban model after July 2005, especially in light of the president's public relations effort and a favorable public opinion climate after three successful elections between 2004 and 2005. A tentative explanation is that this rejection was associated with the progressive introduction of radical ideological (p.56)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.5. What is your position with regard to the government of Cuba, presided over by Fidel Castro?

1. This study followed the same sample design as Figure 3.2.

content into Chávez's discourse. Starting around this time, the president made frequent references to Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky in his public comments, and insisted on collective modes of labor organization. Many Venezuelans may have interpreted these references as a sign of radicalization, and felt unhappy at the prospect.

DatAnalysis conducted two additional public opinion surveys with national urban coverage in April and May 2005, in which subjects were asked their opinion of Fidel Castro's government (see Figure 3.5).6 Even when rejection of the Cuban model as an example for Venezuela was at its lowest levels (although it still accounted for the majority of the population), rejection of Fidel Castro's government exceeded 50 percent. Even among Chávez supporters, only slightly more than one-third had a favorable opinion of the Cuban government.

In the same survey, interviewees were asked whether the United States should be used as an example for Venezuela (see Figure 3.6). Clearly, overwhelming rejection of the Castro regime did not translate automatically into approval of the United States. In April 2005, rejection of the U.S. model was 40 percent, rising to 45 percent in May. Using the latter date as a reference, the most significant difference between opinion segments is that the United (p.57)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.6. What is your position with regard to Venezuela taking the United States government as an example?

1. This study followed the same sample design as Figure 3.2.

States seemed like an attractive model for about half of interviewees who defined themselves as opposing the Chávez government.

Between March and May 2005, DatAnalysis surveys also asked Venezuelans their opinion of the government of President George W. Bush (see Figure 3.7). Between April and May 2005, rejection of the Bush government oscillated between 35 percent and 43 percent, depending on the measurement at hand, with support ranging between 12 percent and 24 percent. Responses that were “neither in favor nor against” remained more consistent, between 31 percent and 36 percent. Therefore, just as rejection of the Cuban model did not necessarily mean support for a U.S. model for Venezuela, rejection of Fidel Castro's government did not automatically translate into approval for George W. Bush's government. Based on the empirical evidence presented, we can conclude that neither government was attractive to Venezuelans, even though more rejected the Castro government than did the U.S. government.

A clue to these opinions about Cuba and the United States can be found in Figure 3.8. Thirty-nine percent of interviewees preferred the U.S. model as a guide for Venezuela in May 2005 (12 percentage points less than in April 2005), compared to 15 percent who preferred the Cuban model (a difference (p.58)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.7. What is your position with regard to the government of the United States, presided over by George W. Bush?

1. Base: 1,300.

of only one percentage point, signaling a more stable opinion). Twenty-six percent answered “neither of the two”; when added to those who answered “don't know” or “no answer,” this means that 59 percent of interviewees preferred neither model.

It is worth emphasizing that the loss of support for the U.S. model between April and May 2005 did not translate into more support for the Cuban model. It did mean, however, an increase in the opinion that neither model was a guide for Venezuela. This finding is highly relevant in the current sociopolitical context, suggesting a number of interpretations.

Despite the political polarization dating back to 1999—a polarization that carries over to opinions of Cuba and the United States, given the constant (p.59)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.8. If you had to choose between the Cuban regime and the American regime as a guide for Venezuela, which one would you choose?

references by political actors to these opposing models—the majority of Venezuelans were looking for a “third option.” This suggests a level of “wear and tear” for these two models among the majority of interviewees, especially the U.S. model, even though it remained comparatively more attractive than the Cuban model. This decline can be associated with Chávez's influence over public opinion, and with the stereotypes, prejudices, and social representations cited so frequently in his speeches. Finally, lower levels of support for the U.S. model indicates a failure by U.S. political and economic actors to legitimize themselves and their model among Venezuelans.

Loss of support for the U.S. model did not entail approval for an eventual confrontation with the United States, however, as threatened so often in Chávez's speeches (see Figure 3.9). Approximately 80 percent of Venezuelans disagreed with Chávez's warnings of an eventual armed confrontation with the United States. Most striking is the high level of rejection of this proposal (p.60)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.9. President Chávez says we are prepared for a war with the United States. How strongly do you agree with this statement?

1. This study followed the same sample design as Figure 3.2.

among government supporters (71 percent), in addition to the percentages recorded for those who identified themselves as “non-aligned” and “opposition” (86 percent and 87 percent, respectively).7

Foreign Spending and the FARC

Another important element of Chávez's foreign policy is his largesse when courting sympathetic governments. A September 2006 DatAnalysis survey asked Venezuelans how they felt about this policy (see Figure 3.10). About 70 percent of the respondents disagreed with their government's spending in other countries. This opinion was dominant among all socioeconomic strata and the three main opinion segments, including those friendly to Chávez and the Venezuelan government. (p.61)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.10. How strongly do you agree with…?

Another DatAnalysis study, between July and August 2007, asked interviewees about their level of agreement or disagreement with specific measures taken by the Venezuelan government to favor other countries (see Figure 3.11).8 The two phrases related to financing infrastructure or making donations to other countries accounted for more than 60 percent of disagreement among interviewees (61 percent and 64 percent, respectively), in addition to statements about the purchase of weapons and warnings of an eventual armed conflict with the United States (63 percent and 75 percent). The highest level of rejection was for the use of public funds to support “the reconstruction of homes and military bases in some municipalities in Bolivia,” except among respondents friendly to the government.9

Another study, between February and March 2006, also explored Venezuelans' opinions about the “worst uses” of Venezuelan resources abroad (see Figure 3.12).10 The first three options accounted for 61 percent of responses, (p.62)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.11. How strongly do you agree with the following statements about Venezuelan international relations?

1. This study was conducted among 1,293 interviewees and had the same methodological characteristics as previous DatAnalisis measurements used here (national urban coverage). Data collection was performed between July 28 and August 7, 2007. The maximum error allowed was +2.73% at the 95% confidence level.

2. Among those identifying themselves as “chavistas” or “pro-government” in the study, 40 percent disagreed with Venezuelan financing of “reconstruction of homes and military bases in some municipalities in Bolivia,” and 47 percent agreed. The remaining percentages belonged to the “Neither agree nor disagree,” “Don't know” or “No answer” categories.

indicating the high level of rejection of these contributions in Venezuelan public opinion.

More recently, the Datos polling firm measured Venezuelan public opinion about government spending abroad vis-à-vis domestic spending (see Figure 3.13).11 The discrepancies are striking: while respondents positively evaluated those areas, such as education, health, nutrition, and housing, which they perceived as having a significant level of spending (approval levels ranging between 62 percent and 67 percent), they were much less enthusiastic about high levels of spending on initiatives related to foreign policy (“trips abroad” (p.63)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.12. The Worst Uses of Oil Revenue (pick two)

1. Study conducted among 1,000 interviewees. The coverage included towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants and rural areas. Data collection took place between February 18 and March 5, 2006. The maximum associated error allowed was +3%.

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.13. Level of Spending versus Evaluation of Spending

1. Datos's quarterly “National Pulse” poll surveyed 2,000 interviewees distributed nationally in urban and rural localities during February and March 2007.

2. Base: 2,000. Scale level of spending: Very high, High, Some, Low, Nothing. Scale evaluation of spending: Very good, Good, OK, Bad, Very bad. Only the top two are represented in the graph.

(p.64)
Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.14. The Majority of the Population Agrees with the Classification of the FARC and ELN as Terrorists

1. Study performed during the first quarter of 2008 with 2,000 interviewees, with the same methodological design as Datos's “National Pulse” poll.

and “aid to other countries” were evaluated at 32 percent and 39 percent, respectively).

The evidence suggests that significant numbers of Venezuelans do not agree with the “assertive global projection of Venezuelan foreign policy” by the Chávez government. The reason appears to be simple, and is backed by qualitative studies: it is very difficult for Venezuelans to reconcile a foreign policy that relies so highly on spending in other countries with the poverty in their own country.12

Also unpopular among many Venezuelans are their president's statements and actions related to the FARC (see Figure 3.14).13 Sixty-three percent of interviewees disagreed with a change in the status of the FARC and ELN (currently on the list of “terrorist” organizations”). Only 14 percent agreed with the proposal, with the percentage rising to 43 percent among strong government supporters (although 28 percent “disagreed,” and 19 percent “neither agreed nor disagreed,” meaning that 47 percent did not explicitly (p.65)

Public Opinion and Venezuelan Foreign Policy

Figure 3.15. Positive public reaction to President Chávez's role in freeing the FARC hostages.

agree). Most other interviewees, including those who “somewhat” supported the government, also disagreed.

Perhaps the only positive impact of Venezuela's recent foreign policy, the same Datos poll suggests, has been Chávez's role in the release of hostages in Colombia (see Figure 3.15). Agreement for Chávez's hand in these negotiations reached 57 percent and accounted for the majority among almost all segments of the population, except for those identified as “strongly supporting the opposition,” of whom 32 percent agreed and 57 percent disagreed.

Thoughts on the Future of Venezuelan Foreign Policy

The evidence suggests that public opinion of foreign policy represents a growing challenge for the Chávez government. Perhaps the most immediate consequence will be a stronger government effort to earn a more favorable perception among key international actors, requiring the use of even more resources. Other factors suggest the same scenario: the attempted international (p.66) reach of the “Bolivarian revolution”; the growing influence of the Venezuelan state in Latin America, thanks to petro-dollars; domestic challenges such as security, inflation, food shortages, a rise in social protests, and a stronger opposition; and threats to the government's image, including continued exposure of potentially incriminating information on computers owned by FARC leader Raúl Reyes and the trial in Miami of the Venezuelan accused of smuggling a suitcase containing $800 million bolívars to Argentina to support Cristina Kirchner's presidential campaign. These factors increase the pressure on the Venezuelan government to legitimate itself in the eyes of international public opinion and key actors in the inter-American community, if it plans to maintain an active foreign policy. Any such effort will increase the internal costs of foreign policy in Venezuela itself, in terms of resources and public opinion.

Notes

(1.) The study was conducted among men and women over eighteen years of age in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in Venezuela's twenty-five main urban areas. The sample size was 1,000, with a maximum allowable error of +3.04% at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using non-probability dynamic quotas (controlling for sex, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-to-face, on February 22–26, 2002.

(2.) The study was conducted among men and women over eighteen years of age in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in fifty localities across the country. The sample size was 1,300, with a maximum allowable error of +2.7% at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using non-probability dynamic quotas (controlling for sex, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-to-face, on September 16–25, 2005.

(3.) By “anti-Americanism,” we mean not only an aversion to Bush, but also an aversion to sociocultural factors; Chávez has manifested his rejection of the “American way of life” on numerous occasions, especially in his weekly TV show, Aló, Presidente.

(4.) The question was part of DatAnalysis's Omnibus Survey, with the same sample design as the one described in note 2. The Omnibus Survey had a sample size of 1,000 up to July 2003, and 1,300 thereafter, with the exceptions noted in Figure 4.

(5.) This content analysis was part of a larger work performed for a Venezuelan private firm from April 2004 to April 2006. All the Aló, Presidente programs, as well as a significant portion of Chávez's appearances on national radio and television during this period, were analyzed by the political scientist Ricardo Sucre Heredia and by the author.

(6.) Both studies had the same methodological characteristics, specifically, the same sampling design indicated in note 4.

(p.67) (7.) This study used the same sampling structure and methodological characteristics as those described in note 4.

(8.) This study was conducted among 1,293 interviewees and had the same methodological characteristics as previous DatAnalysis measures used here (national urban coverage). Data collection was performed between July 28, 2007 and August 7, 2007. The maximum error allowed was +2.73% at the 95% confidence level.

(9.) Among those identifying themselves as “chavistas” or “pro-government” in the study, 40 percent disagreed with Venezuelan financing of “reconstruction of homes and military bases in some municipalities in Bolivia,” and 47 percent agreed. The remaining percentages belonged to the “neither agree nor disagree,” “don't know,” and “no answer” categories.

(10.) The study was conducted among 1,000 interviewees. The coverage included towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants and rural areas. Data collection took place between February 18, 2006 and March 5, 2006. The maximum associated error allowed was +3%.

(11.) Datos's quarterly “National Pulse” poll surveyed 2,000 interviewees distributed nationally in urban and rural localities during February and March 2007.

(12.) According to DatAnalysis and Datos, 81 percent of Venezuelans belong to stratas D and E, the most depressed socioeconomic classes.

(13.) The study was performed during the first quarter of 2008 with 2,000 interviewees and had the same methodological design as Datos's “National Pulse” poll.

Notes:

(1.) The study was conducted among men and women over eighteen years of age in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in Venezuela's twenty-five main urban areas. The sample size was 1,000, with a maximum allowable error of +3.04% at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using non-probability dynamic quotas (controlling for sex, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-to-face, on February 22–26, 2002.

(2.) The study was conducted among men and women over eighteen years of age in socioeconomic levels A/B, C, D, and E in fifty localities across the country. The sample size was 1,300, with a maximum allowable error of +2.7% at the 95% confidence level. The sample was collected using non-probability dynamic quotas (controlling for sex, age, and socioeconomic level). Interviews were conducted at home, face-to-face, on September 16–25, 2005.

(3.) By “anti-Americanism,” we mean not only an aversion to Bush, but also an aversion to sociocultural factors; Chávez has manifested his rejection of the “American way of life” on numerous occasions, especially in his weekly TV show, Aló, Presidente.

(4.) The question was part of DatAnalysis's Omnibus Survey, with the same sample design as the one described in note 2. The Omnibus Survey had a sample size of 1,000 up to July 2003, and 1,300 thereafter, with the exceptions noted in Figure 4.

(5.) This content analysis was part of a larger work performed for a Venezuelan private firm from April 2004 to April 2006. All the Aló, Presidente programs, as well as a significant portion of Chávez's appearances on national radio and television during this period, were analyzed by the political scientist Ricardo Sucre Heredia and by the author.

(6.) Both studies had the same methodological characteristics, specifically, the same sampling design indicated in note 4.

(p.67) (7.) This study used the same sampling structure and methodological characteristics as those described in note 4.

(8.) This study was conducted among 1,293 interviewees and had the same methodological characteristics as previous DatAnalysis measures used here (national urban coverage). Data collection was performed between July 28, 2007 and August 7, 2007. The maximum error allowed was +2.73% at the 95% confidence level.

(9.) Among those identifying themselves as “chavistas” or “pro-government” in the study, 40 percent disagreed with Venezuelan financing of “reconstruction of homes and military bases in some municipalities in Bolivia,” and 47 percent agreed. The remaining percentages belonged to the “neither agree nor disagree,” “don't know,” and “no answer” categories.

(10.) The study was conducted among 1,000 interviewees. The coverage included towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants and rural areas. Data collection took place between February 18, 2006 and March 5, 2006. The maximum associated error allowed was +3%.

(11.) Datos's quarterly “National Pulse” poll surveyed 2,000 interviewees distributed nationally in urban and rural localities during February and March 2007.

(12.) According to DatAnalysis and Datos, 81 percent of Venezuelans belong to stratas D and E, the most depressed socioeconomic classes.

(13.) The study was performed during the first quarter of 2008 with 2,000 interviewees and had the same methodological design as Datos's “National Pulse” poll.