President Nicolas Maduro blamed Spiderman and other ‘idolized super heroes’ of US television cartoons for the growing youth crime in Venezuela, which has become one of the most violent countries in Latinamerica.
Maduro made his claim in the Bolivian daily La Opinión telling the newspaper he saw a distinct correlation between youth violence and superhero idolization, with killings from start to end, a connection he said contributed to a distortion of reality and a factory of anti-values.
This kid, at 14 years old, carries a 9mm with a mind filled by thousands of hours of shows where people are killed, the Venezuelan leader told La Opinion.
I start to think how many thousands of hours of violence that kid will have consumed, in the end, stimulated by consumerism and violence when he grabs a 9 mm and goes to kill, Maduro added.
The Venezuelan president said he made the connection this week after watching the film Spiderman 3 with his wife and it was stunning.
“That's the trouble, from the beginning until the end there are more and more dead. And that's one of the series small children love most... because it's attractive, it's from comics that are attractive, the figure, the colors and movements... so much so that we finished watching it at four in the morning”.
Venezuela has become one of the most violent countries in Latinamerica which according to government statistics recorded more than 16.000 murders last year and 3.400 in the first quarter of this year. Mutinies and killings in state prisons are very common the last of which reported at least 16 dead. So serious is the issue that there is a specific ban on releasing pictures of killings in jails and bodies piles in the morgue.
The Spiderman statement from Maduro comes as no surprise given his use of popular culture to make political points.
He became famous when during the last presidential campaign he wore a hat with a plastic bird: apparently it was the representation of a little singing bird that had approached him and happily over-flying exchanged twits with him several times before leaving, which he attributed to the spirit of late president and mentor Hugo Chavez.
Only recently he ordered state television to broadcast “Malcolm X” after he met a man he said physically resembled the African American activist. Maduro also ordered the broadcast of The Terminal while Edward Snowden was stranded in Moscow's airport before Russia granted the former National Security Agency contractor asylum.