In the forum “Economic war: A method for the domination of the people,” organized by the National Commission against Contraband, the president of polling agency Hinterlaces, Óscar Schémel, lectured on the socio-psychological aspects of the war the Venezuelan government claims it is facing.
According to Hinterlace’s press note, “Schémel insisted upon the need to protect the image of President Nicolás Maduro, because some sectors of the opposition are bent on discrediting his government by using a campaign which includes psychological and economic wars in order to increase the levels of uncertainty and vulnerability.”
Schémel claimed that Hinterlaces has, for years, carried out studies on the “emotional distress feeling” suffered by the Venezuelan people. Today, said the expert, “there is a rise in the negative indicators, even as the levels of hope and optimism remain stable.”
This is because, explained Schémel, there is now “a strategy of emotional destabilization. (…) They [the opposition] will boost all its psycho-emotional weapons to produce a neurotic vote.”
Since January this year, Schémel and his agency Hinterlaces have fully subscribed the government’s explanation of the current crisis as the consequence of an “economic war.” The pollster has also added to the narrative the claim that a “phsyco-social war” is also being waged against the Venezuelan people.
In its monthly report Monitor País, of January 2015, Hinterlaces warned about “future neurotic responses” by the population, induced by the opposition. “The current campaign,” claimed the report, “executed by an experienced and professional “Mass Clinic” [Clínica de Masas], constitutes a new chapter in a long planned process of accumulation of collective distress [angustia] that aims at rekindling the uncertainty and the feeling of defenselessness [of the people], and also at provoking the overflowing of irrational responses. [All part of an] insurrectional strategy –through a psychological-social war- that the most radical adversaries of the Bolivarian Revolution have declared…”
In June 2015, Monitor País argued that the “economic war” was taking its toll on the population, by increasing the levels of “distress, pessimism, sadness, and preoccupation compared to last March." Hinterlaces argued that the opposition was carrying out a "campaign of destabilization and neurotization agaisnt the Venezuelan society."
Last month, Óscar Schemel explained that “there is now a psycho-social war that is trying to exacerbate discontent, accentuate problems, and generate distress, vulnerability, defenselessness, in order to produce future neurotic responses that would imply a [government] rupture.”