Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who critics accuse of stifling press freedom, was given a prize by an Argentine journalism school on Tuesday for his contribution to “popular communication.”
Chavez’s government forced the opposition RCTV channel off airwaves in 2007 by refusing to renew its broadcast license. The telecommunications agency then ordered cable companies to drop RCTV International last year for refusing to carry Chavez’s speeches and other mandatory programming. The government also cited licensing issues in forcing 32 radio stations and two small TV stations off the air.
The majority owner of Globovision, Venezuela’s only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel, fled the country rather than be jailed pending a conspiracy trial for keeping two-dozen new vehicles at one of his homes. Guillermo Zuloaga, who also owns several car dealerships, said Chavez ordered bogus charges.
Venezuela still has independent newspapers and web sites, including the newspaper El Nacional, which on Tuesday editorialized against the award.
“That a South American university doesn’t know about this grave situation and dares to honor this military leader with the Rodolfo Walsh Prize says much about the destruction of values that the Kirchners have imposed on the Argentine nation. Walsh was a victim of military repression and his example is now stained absurdly,” the paper wrote.
Hugo was given the award at La Plata University, where
He told a supportive crown of hundreds of students that Venezuela is promoting “a new dynamic of communication and popular information free from the media dictatorship of the bourgeois, and of the empire.”
Just like Pradva in the olden days.
Cristina praises Hugo for his support (in Spanish), saying Argentina wouldn’t be where it is now without his help. I kid you not.