Shutting Down More Dissent In Venezuela

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 17, 2009

Globovision, the last remaining Venezuelan television station that dares to demonstrate opposition to the government and programs of Hugo Chavez, is under attack:

Broadcast regulators are investigating the all-news channel for inciting “panic and anxiety” during a minor earthquake when it criticized the government for slow response.

“We’ve been subject to dozens of investigations, but this one is undoubtedly the most absurd,” said station director Alberto Federico Ravell, a bespectacled, tough-talking man who relishes poking fun at the president.

Chavez has called Ravell “a crazy man with a cannon.”

“There is a crazy man with a cannon in Venezuela, but it’s not me,” Ravell quipped in response.

There is little neutral ground left in polarized Venezuela, and the media reflect this—either championing the government or touting the opposition.

What Chavez intends to do with the TV station remains unclear. But he seems to be building to a confrontation, demanding sanctions against Globovision again on Thursday in a speech in which he labeled TV executives “white-collar terrorists.”

Earlier this week, he threatened severe measures against any media inciting unrest: “You are playing with fire, manipulating, inciting hatred and much more. All of you: television networks, radio stations, newspapers.”

There are plenty of bloggers on the port side who continue to maintain–with a straight face, presumably–that Hugo Chavez is not a dictator, or who try to downplay the lack of freedom in Venezuela. This post is dedicated to them.

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