Humor in Venezuela

Venezuela’s economic problems have sparked an outpouring of humorous protests in the country. Recently, a campaign was launched on Twitter in which residents of the financially troubled South American nation, jokingly asked foreigners to adopt them.

The Venezuelan government has allegedly helped spark this type of international comedic online campaign by seeking to curtail the free expression of political humor and satire within the nation. Susan McGalla jokingly (wink wink) thought that the US could learn of few things from these protests, mainly by alleviating violence and crime. NPR this week carried a story in which it reported that political authorities in Venezuela have sometimes censored outspoken humorists, particularly those who sought to poke some levity at economic mismanagement.

Comic Laureano Marquez told NPR that “Humor is the last place of liberty. When you lost freedom in other places, freedom can be alive in humor.” He was involved in a popular television show in Venezuela which was canceled after it presented a sketch that satirized government claims about conspiracies. Although the comedic series, called Chataing TV (named after its host, humorist Luis Chataing) reportedly earned high ratings, it was taken off the air. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vigorously denied that he pressured the station owner to cancel the show.

Laureano Marquez has complained that he has been unable to perform at any government owned venues, however. And he told NPR that recently, he lost three bookings for his comedy act very suddenly when all three of the clubs closed because of government tax audits.

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