With the clock ticking down the final days before next week’s Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Venezuelan officials are pulling out all the stops to reach their goal of collecting 10 million signatures on a petition calling on President Obama to repeal his executive order labeling their country a threat to U.S. national security.
March 9, the day Obama announced the sanctions, has since become Venezuela's newest holiday, "National Anti-Imperialism Day" (thanks, Obama!)
The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has spent the past three weeks busily collecting somewhere between 4 - 6 million signatures, including the fingerprints of morally outraged kindergartners. To help the signature-drive, the government has employed a carrot-and-stick approach, reportedly rewarding some signatories with handouts of chicken and milk, while giving government employees a simple ultimatum: give us your John Hancock, or we'll give you a pink slip.
But with time running out, the socialist government now has to scramble double time to collect enough autographs before that awkward moment on April 10 when Maduro hopes to present Obama with 10 million signatures (or perhaps 6,645,097 signatures, but honestly who's counting?)
Using a tediously long hashtag (#ObamaDerogaElDecretoYa) and door-to-door solicitors, the government is canvassing the Internet and pounding the pavement in a feverish effort to reach its signature goal in a country of 30 million people. And it's not just Venezuelan signatures they're after; anyone in the world — even those living in the United States or folks wandering aimlessly through some "Unknown Region" — can sign a change.org petition calling on Obama to repeal his executive order. (Only 1,320 more signatures needed to reach 25,000!)
Indeed Venezuela has received solid international support from other Latin American countries and supporters in parts of Europe and the United States.
But the government really pulled out all the stops with a new music video called ¡Viva Venezuela!, a Chavista remix of an iconic Venezuelan song from the 1980s. The nationalistic song, performed by the country's symphony orchestra, features aspiring singer Daniela Cabello, the daughter of Venezuela's firebrand president of the National Assembly, as well as a B-list collection of other Venezuelan singers loyal to the president.
If this video doesn't make you want to sign the petition against Obama, nothing will.