"Chávez eyes" is a design of stylized eyes of Hugo Chávez that has become pervasive throughout Venezuela among the supporters of Chávez, the Venezuelan government and PSUV that is primarily used as political propaganda for the Bolivarian government. The eyes have been seen on "billboards, T-shirts and buildings around the nation".
"Chávez eyes" first originated from Hugo Chávez's final presidential campaign in 2012, with the idea originating from José Miguel España, a member of Chávez's campaign. During an election gathering, thousands of Chávez supporters wore red shirts printed with his eyes in black.
The design was then widely spread by Chávez supporters. Following Chávez's death, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro adopted the emblem after coming to power, placing the eyes on "billboards, walls, and even the facades of public buildings". By 2015, Reuters described the "Chávez eyes" as "[t]he most ubiquitous image in Venezuela of recent years".
During the 2013 Venezuelan presidential elections, Maduro used the "Chávez eyes" design for his campaign. Chávez's image was used more than Maduro's own image, with "Chávez eyes" seen on buildings, T-shirts and posters.
The eyes have also been used by various Venezuelan politicians that support Chavez or claim to continue his work.
In each new housing project built by the Venezuelan government, housing millions of Venezuelans in total, the emblematic eyes are also positioned throughout the complexes.
Following the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, which installed an opposition majority in the National Assembly, the parliamentary body decided to have the Chávez eyes removed from the Federal Legislative Palace. Following the National Assembly's move, the Venezuelan government asked for muralists "to paint against censorship", with murals beginning to flood throughout Caracas.
Use by popular figures
According to a 2014 report titled Faces and Traces of a Leader. Hugo Chavez: Memory of a People by the Venezuelan government's National Center for History, the Chávez eyes are supposed to represent a "watchful and protective gaze" and present a feeling of transparency or trust related to the phrase "Look into my eyes when I'm talking". It was also noted that since Chávez was not physically present in Venezuela anymore, the Chávez eyes to Bolivarian government supporters represented an "omnipresent" Chávez, reminding voters of their "ideological commitment".
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