What is Bono's game?

Bono is criticised for backing a computer game that promotes the invasion of Venezuela to remove a 'power-hungry tyrant'.



Bono is backing a computer game which promotes the invasion and destruction of Venezuela in order to check "a power hungry tyrant" who has "seized control of Venezuela and her oil supply". Bono, famous for his campaigns to reduce poverty and treat Aids in Africa, has failed to respond to concerns raised by the Venezuelan Solidarity Network about his funding of this project.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (pictured above), created by LA-based Pandemic/Bioware Studios, simulates a mercenary invasion of Venezuela in the year 2007. Pandemic is a subcontractor for the US Army- and CIA-funded Institute for Creative Technologies, which uses Hollywood techniques to mount war simulations in California's high desert for military training. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames simulates destruction in downtown Caracas and promises to leave no part of Venezuela untouched.

Elevation Partners is an investment firm that Bono helped create in order to exploit marketing opportunities between U2 and its fans, including projects from Pandemic/Bioware Studios. Pandemic says that, as a partner in Elevation Partners, Bono "has visibility into all projects at Pandemic and Bioware".

Pandemic's target market is young men of military recruitment age and this is not Pandemic's first military adventure. The videogame Full Spectrum Warrior was created through the Institute for Creative Technologies in California. The institute subcontracted work to Pandemic Studios.

The irony is that Venezuela celebrates its independence on 5 July – just one day after the US celebrates its own. The most enduring aspect of an independent country is its sovereignty and the recognition of that sovereignty under international laws. Yet, amid relentless US threats against Venezuela, a US-based company, Pandemic, which collaborates with the US Army to promote war, plans to market a videogame advocating a violation of Venezuela's sovereignty.

Although Bono remains silent on the matter and Pandemic insists that Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is "a work of fictional entertainment" and "Venezuela was chosen for the setting of Mercenaries 2 [because it] is a fascinating and colourful country full of wonderful architecture, geography and culture", members of the Venezuela Solidarity Network are appalled by the game's openly racist, interventionist attitude. Chuck Kaufman of the Alliance for Global Justice, says, "If it's 'just a game' and it's all about selecting fascinating and colorful locales, why didn't Pandemic select Dublin or Washington, DC? Because people would be outraged, that's why. Pandemic is simply capitalizing on negative and inaccurate US press stories about Venezuela and its leader, Hugo Chavez, in order to make a quick buck. It's another piece of anti-Venezuelan propaganda that serves only the US military, pure and simple."

Gunnar Gundersen of the Oregon Bolivarian Circle says, "We have family and friends in Venezuela and many of us have walked and stayed in the places featured in the war game. To us, these are not just clever abstract pictures. They are scenes of a place we consider our second home. Please try to imagine how Venezuelans must feel viewing a bulky, blonde, military man laying waste to their country, a country that is finally rising above a 500-year history of oppression by foreign powers."

The Venezuelan Solidarity Network calls for Bono, who has appealed to the world on many occasions for peace and poverty reduction, to apply those same values to block the manufacture and distribution of this computer game.

Venezuelan Solidarity Network