Speeches are a political tool commonly used worldwide, but when they are used in a manner that distinctively promotes one’s agenda and avoids accountability, it becomes weaponized communication. The video of President Maduro depicts an emotionally charged support of Russia over Ukraine. His stance can potentially lead to dangerous and one-sided political actions driven by emotion rather than logic. On February 22,2022 President Maduro address the security council to announce his support for President Putin and Russia. He also made it clear as to his reasoning behind his support. He says, “que Rusia pretenden rodearla apuntar todas las armas de la otan sobre.” This roughly translates to “that Russia intends to surround and aim all their weapons on NATO. NATO is an alliance with 31 members that includes the United States, Spain, France, and Germany to name a few. President Maduro is alluding to the NATO truly being the enemy. https://www.nato.int/nato-welcome/
Whether discussing domestic or foreign policy, the idea of a speech adds to the illusion of being dependable and inclusive. In Venezuela, speeches are a popular preference of communication leaders use to address the public. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this type of communication. However, what happens when the communication is only dependable or inclusive to the person sharing the idea? This type of communication can be referred to as weaponized communication. According to Jennifer Mercieca weaponized communication is “the strategic use of communication as an instrumental tool and as an aggressive means to gain compliance and avoid accountability.” (266) This form of communication is clearly depicted in the video of President Maduro addressing the issue between the Ukraine and Russia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1_p9-fzIGw
In this brief speech President Maduro voices his support for Russia. He uses his platform to draw attention to the issue between the two countries. Then, obviously and without hesitation picks a side for this issue. The president goes against the Ukraine while using emotion sensitive language to weaponize his speech. This type of communication can be dangerous and one-sided. Attesting to the fact that weaponize communication allows for harmful political ideas to be voiced in order to employ citizens to react out of emotion instead of logic.
While the video of President Maduro addressing his stance on the issue may only be a minute and nineteen seconds long. There is a lot to unpack regarding weaponizing communication. To get a better upstanding on how communication can be weaponized, it is important to dissect what is depicted in the video. To fully grasp weaponized communication, one must look for the use of body language, tone, words, and relevance. During his speech the president showed his full face and upper half of his body. This is important to note because later on in the video there are others shown wearing masks. By showing his full face he attempts to establish himself as trustworthy, because people often trust what they can see. He also uses his hands to speak, especially when he wants to emphasize a point. These gestures let the viewers know which points in the speech the speaker is emotionally connected with. He is also standing while delivering this speech. This plays into tone as well as body language. By standing he gives his viewers the impression of a more serious tone. For most of the speech President Maduro is speaking into a mic, while also yelling. This creates an urgency for the listener and allows for no questions to be asked. While there are many words that can be questioned, one phrase used stood out most to me. “The peace of Russia is the peace of the world. And we will defend the world’s peace.” In this phrase, President Maduro attempts to tie Russia’s peace to the peace of the entire world. Then he goes on to say defending Russia’s peace is defending the world’s peace. Is this an adequate comparison? It is important for the viewer to establish whether or not the ideas presented in this speech are relevant to the information being presented. Therefore, one can fully support or deny the action that is being called for within the words.
The video of President Maduro’s speech illustrates the concept of weaponizing communication in relation to the argument about the dangers of this type of communication. Through the analysis of this video one can establish the dangers of open interpretation being led instead of allowing freedom of thought. Two, the focus on emotion instead of logic. In this speech there are many “I feel” statements instead of “I think” statements. The difference between the two is one is purely led on emotions, while the other is logically led by thought. Reevaluating these types of communications are vitally important. This gives the power back to the viewer and allows them to make decisions on actions based on their own understanding of the facts. For arguments sake let’s discuss these further.
One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. One could argue that speeches like these do not match all political speeches. Which is true. However, the argument is not to generalize speeches using political communication. The objective of this speech is to highlight a specific example of weaponized communication and identify its various forms. Emotional speeches have led to good outcomes. True, again. However, the argument focuses on the importance of encouraging free-thinking and discernment from the viewer in order to make informed decisions and actions. What about freedom of speech? There is freedom of speech present. However, freedom of thought is what the argument focuses on. This is the practice of individuals being able to make decisions without their thought process being led.
In the brief video of President Maduro expressing his stance, the concept of weaponizing communication is evident as he decisively uses body language, tone, words, and relevance to establish trust and make a questionable comparison between Russia’s peace and world peace. Eventually shaping the viewer’s perception and response to the message. This speech also shows the dangers of weaponized communication by displaying the risks of lead interpretation and emotional manipulation. It is important for the viewer to emphasize logic to make sure decisions are being made based on a solid understanding of the facts.