Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tyranny of the airwaves

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you may know, Venezuelan Tyrant Hugo Chavez has shut down Radio Caracas Television, calling it "subversive". This is what he does to his critics, and far worse. And those who are protesting this act of tyrannical censorship, this suppression of dissent, have been hit hard:

Venezuelan police fired tear gas and plastic bullets Monday into a crowd of thousands protesting a decision by President Hugo Chavez that forced a television station critical of his leftist government off the air.

Police fired toward the crowd of up to 5,000 protesters from a raised highway, and protesters fled amid clouds of tear gas. They later regrouped in Caracas’ Plaza Brion chanting "freedom!" Some tossed rocks and bottles at police, prompting authorities to scatter demonstrators by firing more gas.

Freedom indeed. But what is freedom in Chavez's Venezuela?

Said RCTV talk show host Miguel Angel Rodriguez, "They will not silence us!" I hope he's right, but I'm afraid they will. Or, at leat, they'll try. This is how Chavez rules Venezuela.

Reuters has more here, as does CNN here, but make sure to check out Daniel's post at Venezuela News and Views here. He's my go-to blogger for all things Venezuelan, and he says this: "The distinction is important, a mangled freedom of expression still exists in Venezuela, but freedom of information is already lost." He predicts "violence ahead," with Chavez's opponents having no other outlet for their opposition. And this is precisely what Chavez wants, "excuses to tighten his grip and 'eliminate' those who oppose him. He already killed them with words this week, it is just a matter of time for him to act on his words."

Democracy, says Daniel, died in Venezuela a few years ago. What is left is the consolidation of Chavez's tyranny.


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Update: The BBC is reporting that Chavez is also going after another TV network, Globovision.

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