And to those that claim there is still freedom of the press in Venezuela, Petkoff’s tells us what the reality is, referring to Chavez’ attack on the Editor of Ultimas Noticias, a position Petkoff held until the Government forced the owners of that paper to fire him:
The Muzzle by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual
The most impressive thing about the scolding that I,the Supreme gave Diaz Rangel, Director of newspaper Ultimas Noticias and of the inconsiderate references to the Capriles family, has been the silence of some prominent figures of officialdom-that in other times would charge with lance in their hands against the dragons of censorship-not to mention the silence of the offended person himself. It is particularly surprising the silence of Jose Vicente Rangel, a columnist of the same paper, and a close friend of the Director. We waited until Monday to see if in his column in the paper directed by his friend, Rangel would feel obligated to say something. It was useless. He was silent. Perhaps he does not want to ruin things with his pathetic complaint, so that he may be called again to the Government.
But much like this man that likes to show off, there are others that prefer not to risk their source of funds. Their silence is explained mostly on the basis of fear. That is the part that foreign correspondents that come to Venezuela or the “revolutionary tourists” like for example Jack Lang or Naomi Campbell don’t see. There is freedom of expression, certainly, but those of us that exercise it do not fear I, the Supreme, nor his temper tantrums. Paradoxically, freedom of expression seems to be over for the supporters of the Government. From those, Chacumbele, expects unconditionality, that is, silence. Chavez said it himself when he whispered it to Diaz Rangel: “I do not care” about the opinion of my adversaries, implying clearly that he does mind that of “his people”, as long as they don’t criticize him. If they do it, they know that the same destiny of Diaz Rangel awaits them, up to now, the pampered reporter of the regimen. The remainder of the intellectuals and politicians of officialdom have a very clear picture: if that was done to a heavyweight like Diaz Rangel, what can people in lower divisions expect? That is why their tongue remains stuck where the sun does not shine.
We extend a hand of solidarity to our friend Diaz Rangel and the owners of Ultimas Noticias, but we can’t fail to mention that we no longer recognize Diaz Rangel. The man we used to call the “Czar” in our political party MAS, for his frontal and uncompromising character, who his pupils respected for his severity in the face of the improvisation of others, the same one that wrote books against abuse of power and that now responds timidly, explaining only the origin of the headline of Ultimas Noticias that caused his disgrace, omitting all allusions to the ridiculous lesson in “ethics” that I, the Supreme attempted to give him, of that guy, we wonder where he went, whatever happened to him. Even more, after the unacceptable and rude aggression that was made by that other guy who is just taking care of himself, attempting to show himself as being more Chavista than Chavez, Diosdado Cabello, who accused Diaz Rangel of being nothing more than somebody that infiltrated Chavismo on behalf of the IVth. Republic.
There was no response to that either. Fear is the worst instrument of repression.