By Anderson Velásquez
Venezuela has been the victim of a siege, blockade and harassment operation for some years, which has been intensifying to the extent that the plans of the United States fail. They have used various political, economic, financial, psychological tools, methods that have been applied in countries like Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, Cuba and the former Yugoslavia, trying to dismember the Venezuelan nation and sell the perception that it is ungovernable.
The deployment of the propaganda campaign against Venezuela, the flow of false and real information, has been a prolonged action for more than six years that is unprecedented, as is the resistance of the Venezuelan people.
Therefore, it is important to know a little about one of the elements used by the enemy today: psychological operations.
Psychological operations have been present since the beginning of history, we can even find examples in the Bible when “the trumpets” caused the wall of Jericho to fall, or in the renowned Trojan horse narrated by Homer in the Iliad. Sun Tzu speaks in the Art of War “that the real war is the one that is fought over the minds of men, and through terror, the enemy measures whether or not it has to expend men, weapons and money”.
In the Second World War, psychological operations took an unimaginable leap due to the evolution of Nazi propaganda, the propaganda of the allies and the development of Soviet propaganda. After the war, psychological operations have served to administer violence, specializing in the manipulation of feelings and the mental structure of individuals who participate in a determined political struggle.
Nowadays, psychological operations have become a very effective instrument, whether for the purpose of cohesion, division, persuasion, dissuasion or conquest. Psychological operations have evolved through world events and scientific-technological discoveries, and that advance is due to:
- Evolution of the social sciences that have allowed us to know the psychic and social structure of man.
- Development of technology, especially in relation to mass media, advertising, digital marketing and mass control methods.
- The transformation of the mass into public opinion, as the main objective of work and conditioning.
- Terror as a method of political action.
OFFENSIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
“Psychological operations are actions, activities and programs duly planned to influence and condition the psychic structure of human groups in order to obtain behaviors, feelings and opinions consistent with the psychological objectives proposed by the force that applies them.”
In the offensive aspect of psychological operations can be defined as the planned use of various means that can modify the opinions, feelings and behavior of the adversary (civil authorities, BANB, security bodies, population, etc.), predisposing them favorably to the achievement of the objectives. Its specific purpose is:
- Destroy the enemy’s will to fight.
- Win sympathy and allies in the enemy ranks.
- Support and facilitate the development of Military Operations, at all times.
DEFENSIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
The defensive aspect of psychological operations can be defined as the coordinated planning and execution of varied media, designed to inform the public opinion of the country itself or of friendly and neutral countries, in order to influence their opinions, feelings and behaviors , in a favorable manner to the fulfillment of the general policy of the State. Its purpose is:
- Counteract the adverse psychological warfare.
- Attract the sympathy of neutral countries.
- Strengthen the determination and will to fight of all the people.
Psychological action is fundamental for national defense against conventional warfare. It must be permanent in times of peace, should try to strengthen and raise the national moral, and in particular, the morality of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), as well as win for the national cause the internal and external sympathies that are necessary and recover all those elements that are influenced by the adversary.
EXAMPLES OF SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS IN VENEZUELA
These are some headlines published by the international right-wing media in the last 10 days:
- The storm is approaching. The Venezuelan military face the last chance to leave Maduro (NUEVO HERALD)
- The opposition to Maduro is deployed in the neighborhoods to spread its plan among the military (NUEVO HERALD)
- Venezuelan military attache in the US breaks with Maduro: ‘Guaidó is the legitimate president’ (NUEVO HERALD)
- European leaders join forces to recognize Guaidó as president of Venezuela (EL PAIS)
- US calls on countries of the world to choose a side on Venezuela (REUTERS)
- The United States urges support for Juan Guaidó at the UN. Russia increasingly alone (NEW HERALD)
- Guaidó calls for demonstrations for Wednesday and Saturday against Maduro (AFP)
- Grupo de Lima will meet in Canada to seek support measures for Venezuelan Guaidó (REUTERS)
- Pope says he fears bloodshed in Venezuela, does not take sides for now (REUTERS)
- Venezuela starts week with more calls to take the streets against and pro Maduro (REUTERS)
- US announces sanctions against Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA. Authorities announced the blockade of 7,000 million dollars of assets of the state company (EL TIEMPO)
- Humanitarian aid and European ultimatum: Guaidó puts Maduro against the wall (AFP)
- European countries increase pressure on a defiant Maduro (AP)
- The meeting of the Lima Group begins with messages from Trudeau and Juan Guaidó (EFE)
- Trump: Maduro wanted to meet with me; I said ‘no’. The military option is still on the table (EFE)
RUMORS / FAKE NEWS: GENERATING ZOZOBRA AND TERROR IN THE POPULATION
- Rumors of kidnapping of children and forced recruitment in Venezuela.
- False complaints of government persecution of the opposition leadership.
- Rumors of social outbursts, looting and civil unrest.
- False reports of desertion of members of the public force during right wing demonstrations.
- Rumors of the entry of Colombian troops with humanitarian aid.
It is important to note that psychological operations are the transverse axis of the war against Venezuela. Of course, they are accompanied by real actions of harassment and political, economic and military aggression. This makes it necessary for the Venezuelan State to raise the media battlefield to a strategic level, to take advantage in some scenarios and thus neutralize the promotion of hatred and incitement to a confrontation between Venezuelans.
The war without restrictions against Venezuela is under way and we have to understand it in order to fight and achieve victory.
Translated by JRE/EF