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Venezuelan press resists and grows thanks to Whatsapp and technology

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Since March 3, every Sunday Miguel Henrique Otero – president of the Venezuelan daily El Nacional – and Nelson Rivera-director of his cultural supplement for almost twenty – five years-Send from their mobile phones the pdf of the literary paper to almost five thousand people. The newspaper’s servers send it to another 19,500 readers. It is impossible to know how many Venezuelans around the world receive and share those digital pages that were read in print in another life.

In this way, Venezuela’s most important periodic cultural publication (and the oldest active cultural supplement in Latin America, which last year was 75 years old) survives from exile. And it does so with a stamp added to the design of its headboard, which reads: “resistance”.

He has shown us extraordinary potential, readers become active agents of distribution,” Rivera tells me by WhatsApp from San Pedro de Nós, a town of 5,000 inhabitants in the Spanish province of La Coruña. “I was in Spain, when on September 2, 2015, Diosdado Cabello accused me, in his program with El Mazo dando, of being involved in a conspiracy with Miguel Henrique Otero,” he continues. A few days later a group of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence made the wrong house and broke into another one thinking it was theirs. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic: he couldn’t go back to Caracas.

Five months earlier Cabello had initiated legal actions, both commercial and criminal, against the publishing company and its directors, after El Nacional published information from The Wall Street Journal and ABC about the possible involvement of the chavista leader in drug trafficking networks (he would later win the defamation suit against the newspaper and threaten to be its new president.

Although Miami and Bogotá are perhaps the most important cities of Venezuelan political and economic exile, Spain is home to the main cultural centres. In Madrid, the Spanish headquarters of Kalathos Editorial (directed by Artemis Nader and David Malavé) has opened its doors, and this is where Otero himself, the essayist Marina Gasparini Lagrange, the painter Emilia Azcárate, the actress Ana María Simón or the cultural journalist Karina Sainz Borgo (who has internationalized the Venezuelan reality in her first novel, The daughter of the Spaniard); while in Barcelona it is the editor Virginia Riquelme, writers Pedro Plaza Salvati, Alejandro Padrón and editor Ulises Milla.

The film director, Claudia Pinto resides in Valencia, and Malaga does Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, who last week, with The Night -an exploration metaliteraria and policy of the blackouts that took place in Caracas in 2010, won the Biennial prize for Novel Mario Vargas Llosa and stood to the venezuelan literature in the center of the focus of the Latin-american literature today.

Together with researchers Miguel Gomes and Gina Saraceni, López Ortega has selected and proliferated the volume common features. Anthology of 20th century Venezuelan poetry, an impressive 1,150-page book that – like literary paper-is becoming a symbol of resistance. From The Canary Islands he believes that ” this coincidence of the anthology with the specific moment of Venezuela has given the Edition a special symbolism, which obviously was not foreseen, because in an hour as dark and terrible as the one we live in, the book is seen as a mechanism of compensation, at least in the plane of the symbolic.

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