Troops Fire Upon Protesters in Venezuela
Venezuela moves against second opposition TV channel
Amid protests, Venezuela’s TV station goes off the air
Despite protests by democracy activists, Venezuela’s oldest television network went off the air at midnight Sunday, victim of a fresh push by President Hugo Chavez to tighten his grip over the nation’s media
As my podcast guests explained, now everything depends on the leader and what he wants done:
“The decision was mine” to close RCTV, Chavez said Saturday
As my guests stated in Saturday’s podcast, RCTV’s license renewal was denied by Chavez’s decree, not by due process of law.
You can listen to the podcast here
Daniel Duquenal, one of my podcast guests has an excellent essay on the closing: Antes que anochezca: waiting for the night in Venezuela
But more importantly, and a consolation of sorts for me, is the intensity of the international response to the closing of RCTV. Anyone who is anybody in the world has either condemned Chavez or at least remained silent, and definitely refused to support Chavez. Only a few, a surprisingly very few, have come out to support Chavez and they have no credit anyway. You can see it everywhere, from the desperate and ridiculous accusations of Minister Lara today to comment sections at Publius Pundit from pro Chavez Anglos losing their grip on things. Indeed, one from that side should be pissed off: 6 months of intense propaganda and you get editorials such as the one from Le Monde. Millions of dollars in paid services gone to waste, thousands of hours of “grass root” working for naught. The world is unto Chavez, and them, and they know it.
Yes, it is a small consolation but it is an important one. Chavez has lost any respectability he might still have had, and there is nothing he can do to recover it. When, say, Mugabe or Fujimori did this sort of things, they stopped been received where it mattered. Their regime started to unravel as they started losing the respect of their people even if those for a variety of reasons kept voting for them at first. And we know all that Chavez pins for international stages. Many will be denied him now.
You must read the whole essay.
Miguel Octavio, also my guest on Saturday’s podcast, posts on Hugo Chavez’ fake democracy. He also translated Venezuelan daily’s El Nacional editorial, Power without limits, front-page editorial in El Nacional.
Miguel also reports that last night a representative of the “Board for Social Responsibility” of the Ministry of Communications threatened the media with shutting them down for up to three days by broadcasting the Inter-american Press Society (SIP) press conference.
Last night: Caracas police halt TV shutdown protest
Police broke up an opposition protest using a water cannon and tear gas after hundreds took to the streets on Sunday condemning a decision by President Hugo Chavez to force Venezuela’s most widely watched channel off the air.
Soaked protesters scattered while the stream of water swept the street, then sang the national anthem as they returned to face a column of riot police outside the state telecommunications commission.
Via Instapundit, Boing-boing has videos of the Venezuelan media crackdown: TV anchors sign off, mouths shut, including this one,
The BBC has a video of the protests.
But that wasn’t all: Hugo Chavez Silences the Opposition- Sends Tanks In!
Rule of law, private property rights, and freedom of press are all now absent under the Chavez regime.
The Jungle Hut has photos and eyewitness accounts of the protests.
Aleksander Boyd is back posting,
However sincere the resolutions and letters condemning the act, on Monday morning, when RCTV’s right to broadcast is illegally terminated, Chavez will still be the ultimate icon of the world’s resented imbeciles and those concerned about the loss of another democratic right in Venezuela will carry on with the business of il dolce far niente at taxpayers’ expense. Toothless multilateral bodies have, as Chavez, lost all legitimacy. Its condemnations mean jackshit in the real world. The future looks bleak in Venezuela, that much is certain and has, at last, been properly understood by democrats around the globe, whom are seen in the side of reason, in the side of rule of law.
And where are the American cable news channels?
While the BBC, Forbes, the NYT, the Guardian (also here), Reuters ( Venezuela TV station says troops seized equipment) and countless others are covering the story, I have yet to see any reporting at all at CNN, or NBC. Fox News just carried a brief news item.
History is being made and they all are celebrity-watching.
Also don’t miss
Mora’s excellent report and round-up at Publius Pundit.
National Guard troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday into a crowd of protesters angry over a decision by President Hugo Chavez that forced a critical television station off the air.
This time it was rubber bullets; in 2004 gunmen fired on Thor Halvessen’s mother during a peaceful demonstration.
Univision’s showing live coverage of the ongoing demonstrations. I’ll try to get video to post.
Maria Alejandra Diaz, the social responsibility director at the Communications Ministry, cited recent legislation in Venezuela that enabled the government to shut down media groups for 72 hours if their coverage incited people to engage in violent protests. Ms. Díaz asked news organizations to refrain from reporting on the association’s statement, since it could allow viewers, readers or listeners to think Mr. Chavez’s government was “tyrannical.”
Because that would show it for what it is.
Gateway Pundit has more round-up and commentary.
Hours after President Hugo Chavez shut down Venezuela’s main opposition broadcaster, his government demanded an investigation of news network Globovision on Monday for allegedly inciting an assassination attempt on the leftist leader.
Saturday’s podcast with Thor Halvorssen, President and CEO of the Human Rights Foundation, award-winning bloggers Daniel Duquenal of Venezuela News and Views and Miguel Octavio of The Devil’s Excrement, and oil industry expert Gustavo Coronel.