Archive for April 25th, 2007

A minute and a life

April 25, 2007

You hear what you think are firecrackers in the barrio next door. You wife looks out the window. She says they are shots and the cops are coming. You go to the window and see the cops carrying the dead body out. Another senseless death. This guy is not even likely to be mentioned by the papers tomorrow. This is the daily reality whether you are known or not.

Protests in Venezuela in Chile’s El Mercurio

April 25, 2007

And this is one of
the articles from Latin American newspapers that irked the Lt. Colonel. El
Mercurio is Chile’s
premier newspaper and it was the subject of the same pressures and
self-censorship during the days of that other Dictator Augusto Pinochet, so they
know exactly what the mechanisms and strategies of these types of Governments
are.

Protests
in
Venezuela in Chile’s El
Mercurio

Hugo
Chávez has left aside even the appearances of a democratic regime. In the same
days in which he has praetorized the Armed Forces, imposing on them the
slogan  “socialism or death”, and he
announces a mandatory program of Marxist indoctrination in all companies, he
gets ready to give freedom of expression another blow, when he confirms that he
will shut down Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) on May 27th: he did
not renew the concession because he considers it a coupster media station. Each
night, his brigades cover the walls of the station with graffiti that says
things like “fascist station”. The police and the courts, controlled by Chavez,
do nothing.

The
shutdown of RCTV has been criticized by the Catholic Church and by voices and
international organizations (like the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel
Insulza, the Chilean Senate, SIP), as well as many members of the
telecommunications media. An injunction has also been presented in the
Interamerican Human Rights Court. But beyond its testimonial value, there is
little these protests can do against a Government that controls all the
institutions of the State and silences the media: the Venezuelan Minister of
Information has responded by denouncing a supposed “confabulation” by the group
of dailies of the Americas-including “El Mercurio” to initiate a campaign of
“lies” against the Chavista Government. In reality that group of papers has
acted invariably in the defense of human rights-to cite some examples, in April
1992, against censorship in Peru,
in November 1994, with respect to the “reform” in Mexico,
in June 1997, of “La Nacion” in Argentina
and will continue to do it.

Even
with all this, last Saturday, a small ray of hope was seen for basic liberties
in Venezuela,
when thousands of people took to the streets to protest the closing of RCTV.
Convoked by opposition leaders and the workers of the TV station the march
traveled across the center of the city. It is believed that tension will
increase as the date of the closing approaches. “If they shut down one, they
will shut them all down” said a protester. The Government declared an “alert” n
the face of possible plans of “radical” opposition groups that would look to
assassinate reporters to create a climate of violence and blame the Executive”
None of this happened but there seems to be in it a new threat to dissident
reporters. In any case, the Chavista warning to the media is explicit: if you
“don’t behave, you will enjoy the same fate as RCTV”.

According
to polls more than 80Y% of the population rejects this closing and the
Directors of the broadcasting station announce that, in one way or another,
they will continue working after May 28th: “We will continue to
denounce Chavez. This is not going to die on May 27th. Their fight
deserves the backing of all democrats in the Continent.

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