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Attacking press freedom in Venezuela

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

28.07.05 | Today's incident with Tulio Alvarez in Venezuela had the misfortune for the government to coincide with a few events that taken all together seem to indicate that the patience of the government with freedom of the press is reaching its end.

Tulio Alvarez

His job lately has been to criticize, with founded reason that millions in Venezuela today share with him, from Sumate on, that the Venezuelan electoral system is deeply flawed. Among many of his activities he calls for abstention in any coming election, he warns international possible observers that if they wish to come they better be prepared if they do not want to lose all credibility as happened to the Carter Center, etc...

Of course, the very best way for the CNE to respond to Alvarez would be to accept a few of the truths he and millions claim, such as extended audits, revision of the electoral rolls, manual vote counting, even if it takes place after the electronic counting, etc... But of course, it is better to try to put Tulio Alvarez in jail so as to shut him up.


Today Izarra, the communication minister, resigned so as to dedicate himself exclusively to the new baby of Chavez propaganda, Telesur (in English here). Apparently somebody finally realized in the government that pretending to create an "independent" news service and combining the head of that service with the minister of a government did somehow question the credibility and impartiality of the new outlet. Imagine that!

However, apparently nobody has realized that the fact that the propaganda minister of the major shareholder who made sure to own more than 50% of the stock of Telesur, has quite a credibility gap, just by jumping so fast into the job. But chavismo is far from pretending impartiality anymore, knowing full well that nobody is fooled by what Telesur is all about.

And the first test is already there when US officials claim proof of Venezuela and Cuba involvement in the recent Bolivian troubles. Geee, I might even start watching Telesur for a good laugh!

At any rate, Chavez is making sure that Telesur is tightly controlled from the very first broadcast. It could have quelled any misgivings by naming a new figure, even a non Venezuelan, but no.

Isaias Rodriguez and El Universal

But if any new news outlet will from now on be controlled by chavismo, it still does not solve the problem of those who have been opposing Chavez. Today we got a clear indication of what is in store for them.

Apparently the Attorney General cum Official Opposition Prosecutor has decided to sue/investigate El Universal for an editorial it did not like (accusation in English here, editorial in English here so the reader may judge).

The regular reader of this blog will realize that it has been a long, very long time that Isaias Rodriguez has been finger pointed for his close ties to Chavez (he was his first vice president). The reader also will recall the numerous irregularities, failures and general incompetence associated with Isaias Rodriguez office. Not to mention that Tal Cual among other papers has challenged on its front page Rodriguez.

So, why suddenly be offended by a rather lame editorial of El Universal? Could it be because EL Universal is so thorough in reporting the REAL numbers of the Venezuelan economy? Could it be that El Universal asks too often where the monies of the republic went?

El Universal editor meanwhile is unmoved and goes as far as saying that all that was alluded to in the editorial is already in the public domain (translation: nothing in that editorial can be used for that case and if Rodriguez dares to press charges, they probably will be delighted to go to court and expose him further).

Of course the thing to do for Isaias would be, for example, to offer the results of the Danilo Anderson case. Or perhaps expose some of the corrupt judges and public pseudo-servants. Or simply speed up the cases brought against chavistas to the same standards applied to the cases brought against the opposition. Isaias Rodriguez is a pathetic figure, that has long sunken into a ridicule that it will not be able to shed by closing up El Universal or this blog. People, even in the chavista side, know perfectly well why Isaias Rodriguez has been placed where he has been placed. And it is not to administer impartial justice. There! I said it! You can slam me with the new penal code Isaias!

No, instead Isaias Rodriguez even goes further in ridicule and decalres that the campaign against him is orchestrated by the CIA. Well, maybe, but no one would deny that the CIA can be extremely grateful for the help that Isaias Rodriguez has been providing along the way.........


Well, the implications are quite obvious: chavismo has reached such a point of moral decomposition that it only can try to hide its putrefact stench by closing our nostrils. Not realizing of course that this is the best way to demonstrate that its critics were right all along: there is something rotten in the bolibanana republic. (Hat tip to William S.)

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