Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Goodbye Cesar Miguel Rondon

I have learned a few days ago that Cesar Miguel Rondon TV talk show, the 10:30 PM Televen show 30 Minutos will go off the air at the end of the month. This was the best talk show in Venezuela, at least in my opinion. The one on one interviews were perhaps the most perceptive and intellectual in Venezuelan TV, cool, composed. No matter how disgusting the guest might have been, Mr. Rondon never lost his civility. Then again, a slight move of his eyebrows would reveal exactly his stupefaction at the gross declarations that he just elicited. Subtle skepticism was his trademark.

Why is Mr. Rondon leaving? Well, we will not know exactly, at least for the time being. Everybody, including the Rondon producer, pretends that it is all normal (after all why should Rondon or Colomina make a fuss against the people with whom they worked well for so many years and who are under great political pressure that they cannot resist, Rondon and Colomina are classy enough people to know where to direct the real criticism).

After the departure of Marta Colomina from her early slot in Televen, it was bound to happen. Since the August 2004 referendum Televen has shown that it did not want anymore to oppose Chavez. Its target was the middle class sectors, leaving the poplar segment to RCTV and Venevision. But the battered middle class has been shifting fast to cable TV, not wanting to be subjected anymore to cadenas, mandatory propaganda or politics. Business is business, and Televen could not resist the financial offer of governmental advertisement. To our astonished eyes already in September we saw the first pro Chavez adds. But that willingness was not enough, the pressures to get rid of the Chavez critics who had some of the high rated shows on TV at Televen continued and Televen knew what to do if the manna was to keep flowing. Not to mention unconfirmed rumors that ownership composition had changed. Now Televen is to become not really a pro Chavez channel, but a dumber media, like Venevision became once Cisneros visited Chavez with Carter. The only question is how long RCTV and Globovision will remain showing real news. The "gag law" was really aimed at them anyway. Globovision is succeeding in remaining as critical as before, while taming its style and of course one wonders how long will Chavez tolerate Alo Ciudadano Smart people always find ways to transmit the news of his administration mischief and sure enough the "gag" law will not be enough to ensure the docile press that dictators like.

But this is another story. Today I only want to express my real admiration and thanks for Cesar Miguel Rondon, for having been able to explain to me, through all these years, without exaltation, the "barbaridad del dia" (the gross political event of the day). I understand that he will remain in Union Radio but unfortunately San Felipe is not reached by Union Radio. Internet perhaps? At least now I will not have to wait until 11 PM to go to bed…

To close this letter, there is an even better homage to Mr. Rondon, and it comes of all places from Aporrea. An anonymous note coming from the direction of Aporrea says that (My translation, I cannot bring out the full flavor of the revolutionary ill written prose)
...where he worked, maintaining an information line not only opposed to the revolutionary Government, [but also] opposed to the majority of the people who decided to be protagonist, behind their President leader, of radical changes and them [Rondon, Colomina and other] transformed themselves in maimers (?) of the truth, liars by default and roach like manipulators hurting deeply serious and responsible journalism.

I will not discuss the obvious insanity in these words, the hatred and barbarity hidden in them. Not to mention the implied fascist idea that the only valid news are those that are approved by a majority. However I can say that when someone attacks you in such way it means that your intellectual probity, the acumen of your words have reached bull's-eye and that these people hate you because they are actually guilty of all that they accuse you of doing. Precious!

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