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Venezuela: The Launch of the Simón Bolívar Satellite

Categories: Latin America, Venezuela, Science, Technology

After three years in the making, the government of Venezuela placed a geostationary satellite into orbit. Launched from China, the satellite will be used for telecommunications projects for the country and for Latin America. The Simón Bolivar satellite, named for the national liberator [1], will be in operation for 15 years and will serve for connectivity, telephone and television transmissions around the southern continent that have depended on the infrastructure of the United States.

For hours, Venezuelan bloggers watched the transmission on the state television channel, while the rocket was launched. They also watched President Hugo Chávez take advantage of the event to campaign politically for his candidates running for local mayors and governors in the November 23 elections. The satellite, as are all political events, is a symbol for discussion.

Yosmary de Rausseo [es] [2] republished the official information, the launch videos, and accompanied the note with the following message, “Long live the Bolivarian Revolution and the advanced policies of Hugo Chávez.”

On his blog, Horacio of UnoConTodo [es] is reminded that the country still has a lot of social debts that have not been resolved and that it a “satellite for an elite [3]” He also shows a photograph of a 5-year-old child searching for food in the garbage.

Guillermo Amador also writes about the changes that will tkae place in the country as a result of the satellite, and that soon there will be local names like Space Shuttle Arepa [4] 3000, in reference to the music video of the band Los Amigos Invisibles [5]. Guillermo hopes that the satellite will be “run by the most prepared, and not by the most loyal and “committed [es] [6]” in the government so that it does not go to waste.

Romulo Rodriguez, an astronomy blogger [es] [7], approved of the launch and wrote that Venezuelan technicians were trained to control the satellite. He sees it as a positive thing that television signals will reach more people, even if they are state-run channels.

To end, humorist Laureano Márques, responded to the way that president Chávez used a scientific event [8] for politics when he referred to his ideology and his candidates.

El Presidente afirmó: “¿Qué tiene que ver un satélite con el socialismo? Una empresa capitalista lanza un satélite para hacer dinero. Este es un acto de liberación e independencia (…) para construir el socialismo dentro de Venezuela y para cooperar con otros pueblos”, cosa que me parece extraordinaria.

Lástima que los chinos no piensen igual y hayan cobrado a Venezuela 241 millones de dólares, a los que se suman 165 millones por la construcción de las dos sedes terrestres de control.

Electores, el próximo 23 de noviembre, cuando estén solos con sus conciencias, recuerden que ahora, desde lo alto del espacio, el Libertador os contempla.

The President stated, “What does a satellite have to do with socialism? A capitalistic company launches a satellite to make money. This is an act of liberation and independence (…) to construct socialism within Venezuela and to work together with other countries,” something that I think is great.

It is a shame that the Chinese do not think the same when they charged Venezuela 241 millions of dollars, which is added to the 165 million of dollars in the construction of the two ground control sites.

Voters, on November 23 (election day), when you are alone with your conscience, remember that now, from high up in space, the Liberator is watching you.