Glenn Reynolds’s new book, An Army of Davids : How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths deals with the blogosphere.
One in the Army of Davids is Daniel Duquenal of Venezuela News and Views blog.
In Venezuela, there’s now An open threat to silence anti-Government Venezuelan blogs and webpages, in the form of an ad:
These expensive two-full pages ad in the Government’s favorite newspaper are nothing but an attempt to intimidate these blogs and their authors, webpages (including Noticiero Digital) and anyone who in the virtuality of the Internet attempts to criticize Chavez, his corrupt Government and those that are profiting from it. They pretend to extend the fascist media muzzle bill to a medium that they do not control or can’t control like they have been able to largely silence other media. Using one of my favorite sentences: What else is new? When you have seen one fascist, you have seen them all.
Aleksander Boyd in VCrisis has the story with a full view of the ad in question, which is specifically addressed to him and to Gustavo Coronel as being part of an Anglo-Venezuelan Connection. The ad also lists Daniel Duquenal, who BTW, was interviewed by Voice of America (In Spanish; look under Hablemos) on the subject of political blogging, explaining how to set up a blog. Interestingly, the Venezuelan ad mentions Daniel‘s name as David, which is very timely, considering Glenn’s title.
El Herald has the story on the ad, too: Encuestadora favorita de Chávez se hace pasar como estadounidense (Chávez’s favorite pollster organization tries to pass as American), which has the story right (in Spanish), since, as Babalu points out,
Alek, whose expose of Chavista fraud pollsters triggered the threat, showing that a key Chavista rice bowl of corruption was probably more important than any of us realized.
Publius Pundit‘s also posting on the story: Venezuela’s bloggers are now under an explicit threat of prosecution from known Chavista agents.
You know it’s bad when Glenn, who rarely posts on Latin America, posts about it. In this case, it’s not just an army of Davids, it’s an army of Danieles.
Update An Interested Observer, commenting in Venezuela News and Views, points out that
Meanwhile, in a country with a free press (a place with a leftist leader, showing once again that there is the left, then there is Chavez), Argentine daily Ambito Financiero reports that the cumbre [summit] between Chavez, Lula and Kirchner planned for today in Argentina was cancelled by the latter two because of their discomfort with Chavez’s plans to turn the occasion to focus on himself, with a big speech at the nearby soccer stadium. (Did I hear correctly that the official Venezuelan excuse was that Chavez wanted to stay in Ven to celebrate flag day? If it was that important, how come nobody realized it when they agreed to the schedule in the first place?)
Also, the local authorities were apparently rather disturbed by the horde (supposedly “almost a thousand”) of Venezuelan advance security turning the city upside-down prior to the trip – another clear signal that the flag day excuse was completely bogus.
Considering how much money Hugo’s spent buying up Argentinian debt, that’s saying something.
Update 2 Elephants in Academia has some Some thoughts on free speech in Venezuela and at Pomona
This egregious assault on free speech should demonstrate to everyone with eyes that every day, Mr. Chavez shows his dictatorial stripes more clearly, and woe betide those who continue to drink his subsidized oil kool-aid and turn a blind eye to his thuggish tactics. But he may have come up against something he can’t cow in the blog-o-sphere, which can be like a weed in the best and worst of ways. In this case, it’s the best way. For each time Chavez pulls out one blog, another will spring up. The roots run deep and the seeds spread far and wide. I hope everyone will share this story and support the bloggers to whom Mora and Daniel have linked and show Mr. Chavez that free speech has no geographic or technological boundaries.
An army of Davids, and of Danieles, too.
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