Title: Welcome to the Venezuelan internet. Luis Carlos and Naky will be your guides.
Author: Laura Vidal
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:42:42 -0400
Podcast Download URL: https://globalvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/N-y-LC-400x300.jpg
Meet Venezuela's internet power couple.
Naky (left), Luis Carlos (right) and their dog, Pepe's, nose (bottom).
Photography taken from Luis Carlos’ Facebook profile, used with permission.
After years of censorship, constant power cuts, dwindling presence of
non-state media, and vicious political polarization, the internet in Venezuela
has become a very complicated place. It is even a battle ground within the
political conflict. Trying to find and make sense of information online has
become really, really hard.
But we are not alone in our struggle. In this murky and uncertain milieu,
thousands of Venezuelans inside the country and abroad have found a special
person, a guide who knows how to read in the dark. His name is Luis Carlos
He is a journalist, a geek, a foodie and a collaborator here at Global Voices
.. His name made headlines last week when he was detained by government
authorities in Caracas. Yet most of us know him not as story subject, but as a
person who is making the media, constantly, and on his own terms.
Luis Carlos and I go way back. We met at university, had a couple of classes
together and became very good friends. He made me read Kapuscinski for the
first time, showed me how it inspired him to write about journalism for peace,
and pushed me to start my own blog. We even opened a blog together with another
friend of ours, a space to comment on everything we found hilariously cheesy
around us. He also invited me to join Global Voices.
A few years later, Luis Carlos met a real-life wonder woman named Naky Soto,
who would become his main collaborator in work and in life. Naky is a
communications professional who talks of little else but defending people’s
rights and performing citizenship.
The rest is easy to guess. They fell in love, got married, and started a life
Over the past ten years, Naky and Luis Carlos’ work on various internet
platforms has become a touchstone for many Venezuelans as the country has
fallen into crisis and the community of Venezuelans outside the country grew
rapidly. During this time, censorship intensified (in all forms), and
online networks became our most reliable source of information.
Naky and Luis Carlos became some of the most recognized and trusted readers of
the situation. They were fast to learn about new communication tools and
processes, and even faster to sniff out political motivations and controversy
on the national stage. Together, they found ways to explain all of this using a
combination of serious analysis, references to pop culture and their signature
For one of their first projects, “Political Hangouts,” they used Google
Hangouts to explain what was going on in Venezuela. People would get online and
participate, commenting and asking questions.
Soon after, Naky began posting daily summaries on Facebook, where you could
learn what was going on, and understand why it mattered. She also became a
prolific photographer, posting photos of unique insects (#Bichos) and
plants that refused to give away their place to the city's concrete in her
photo series #Tercas (stubborn).
Last fall, one follower picked up on her #tercas hashtag with a powerful
Por las personas que luchan “tercamente” por lograr un país de respeto,
responsabilidad y libertad coloco fotos de plantas creciendo en sitios
inusuales. La primera: la vida no conoce ni respeta candados, prisiones ni
— Alejandro Alvarez I (@aalvarezi) September 6, 2018
For all of those who fight “stubbornly” to achieve a respectful, responsible
and free country, I'm putting here some pictures of plants growing in
unlikely places. The first: life does not know or respect locks, prison or
Naky and Luis Carlos’ conversations in Hangouts, on Telegram and on Twitter
have become popular at universities and in public spaces around the country and
the region. They are not just in it for the followers, but the numbers are
impressive. Alongside tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and views on
YouTube, they have nearly half a million followers on Twitter (@LuisCarlos
and @Naky) between the two of them.
How to use the internet
From Luis Carlos and Naky, we've learned how best to read all kinds of media,
how to deal with bad internet service, how and why it is important to register,
document, and denounce abuses. They have taught us how to be careful with the
information we have and share, what media sources were trustworthy, how to be
patient with family members spamming our WhatsApp groups with fake news.
When popular services go down, Luis Carlos often helps people seek alternative
WhatsApp está sufriendo fallas.
Momento publicitario para decirles que Telegram sigue activo y allí somos un
gentío pasándola bien.https://t.co/c9i3Vq4HZj
— Luis Carlos Díaz (@LuisCarlos) December 31, 2017
WhatsApp is down. This is a good moment for an ad: Telegram is still
accessible and we're a bunch of people having a great time over there.
He recently created a short video about hackers. The framing message was:
“befriend a hacker, love your hacker, learn how they operate because, at the
end, we'll all become one”.
[image 24] ¿Sabes qué son los #hackers y por qué los necesitamos?
Lo cuento en #TodosLosDíaz, sobre todo en un momento en el que la
política está siendo hackeada y nos hacemos falta.#Patreon[image 28] –
— Luis Carlos Díaz (@LuisCarlos) February 15, 2019
Do you know what hackers are and why we need them? I'm explaining it in
#TodosLosDíaz (Every Day), specially now that [the country's] politics have
been hacked and we need ourselves [around]
Most recently, they have launched a Patreon project where subscribers and
supporters can find analytical videos and episodes of “En serio” (in Spanish,
“seriously”), their latest collaboration, where they help viewers make sense of
the latest wave of political events taking place in the country, which can be
remarkably difficult to comprehend.
Screenshot of the episode “Political Happiness”, part of the series #EnSerio
(Seriously), taken from Luis Carlos’ Patreon channel.
Venezuela has changed so rapidly, so violently, and so weirdly, that the
only way to make sense of it all was to connect with a network of people,
inside the country and out. Over the years, these two people have shown so many
of us that learning does not need to be limited to certain spaces, and that it
can happen in collaboration, connecting people, in constant evolution,
surpassing obstacles, and lighting pathways for those who are struggling to
find their way.
Through their work, thousands of us — friends and followers and collaborators —
found ourselves in a network. We’ve found ways to learn from them, and from
each other. As we look ahead, it’s clear. Our network is exactly what we need
to keep going.
Written by Laura Vidal · comments (0) 
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