|Presented by||Hugo Chávez|
|Country of origin||Venezuela|
|Original network||Venezolana de Televisión|
|Original release||May 23, 1999 –|
January 29, 2012
Aló Presidente (English: Hello Mr. President) was a largely unscripted talk show that was hosted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It was broadcast on Venezuelan state television and radio stations every Sunday at 11:00 AM. The program did not have a fixed ending time, but usually ended by 5:00 PM, or as the program dynamics permitted. The show promoted the "Bolivarian Revolution" and blamed Venezuelan economic problems on its northern neighbor, the United States. Many Venezuelans tuned in because Chávez was known for unveiling new financial assistance packages every weekend. Beginning in 1999, Chávez spent an average of 40 hours a week on television promoting his "Bolivarian Revolution" policies.
It featured Chávez addressing topics of the day and touring locations where government social welfare programs were active. The first broadcast was made on May 23, 1999 (about three months after Chávez took office) on radio. A total of 378 shows aired.
The format of the show changed over time. At first, it was mainly a call-in show in which Venezuelans expressed grievances and talked to Chávez. Over time, fewer and fewer "regular people" called in and instead Chávez talked about his favorite topics. More artistic performances were added as the years went on.
Government ministers were required to attend the program. They could be questioned by the president about anything, and sometimes policy — even military policy — was made on the show. During the March 2, 2008 airing, Chávez ordered a top general to send ten battalions of troops to the border with Colombia in response to a bombing by Colombian forces inside Ecuador which killed Raúl Reyes, a top member of FARC. (The battalions were not deployed; see also 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis.)
Aló Presidente spawned similar programs by leaders in other Latin American countries, most notably Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador, led by Presidents Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Mauricio Funes respectively.
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