Internet under threat
The regime has already being complaining loudly about Twitter Terrorism. Certainly it sees what Twitter could achieve in Iran, a new annoying threat in addition to its general failure at winning the Internet battle where opposition pages are by far the most read. And I am sure that the Juanes Twitter cum Blackberry PIN joke was not welcome.
Internet is not itself under threat but there is plenty of evidence that the regime is trying to set up a unique state controlled Internet gate to Venezuela, a system that exists only in very few countries like China, Cuba, Iran.... True, it has not happened yet, and the Nazional Assembly tries to convince us that they are not discussing such an important change. But to the Nazional Assembly "the lady does protest too much" cries we must add that during the latest enabling law of Chavez a draft was leaked to that purpose. Nobody knows for sure what the draft did not become a decree-law in the end, but El Nacional (subscription only) supposes that he draft was already too controversial at the time (and Twitter was not an issue yet, I may add). The speed and vehemence at which some people reacted makes you think that indeed such a plan exists.
And of course, there is the recent visit of Ramiro Valdes, grand censor-inquisitor of Cuba that did not come here to change light bulbs as announced but certainly, among other things, to steel the resolve of the regime in blocking Internet and making yours truly go the Yoani Sanchez way at some point.
RCTV makes a statement
One thing fascinating about the second closing of RCTVi is how this one has used all the tools of patience to unmask Diosdado Cabello abuse of power and unconstitutional ways. In a communique (in Spanish so far but an English version must be under work) RCTVi clearly explains that all the rules applied were illegal and unconstitutional because, among other things, they applied retroactively, a NoNo in international Human Rights. We also read that it was enough for Diosdado Cabello to threaten the Cable systems for these ones to pull off RCTVi signal EVEN THOUGH no order had been emitted from CONATEL! That is, under indirect threat, the cable systems allow the government to say that they did not close RCTV, that it was the cable companies that removed the felon from their grid. When you learn of the cowardice of some people, from Venevision to Direct TV, you wonder if there is any hope for this country.
UPDATE: a translation by Alek Boyd
Leopoldo Castillo and Alo Ciudadano under threat
We learned also today of a novel way to screw journalists that displease the regime. According to CONATEL, the media regulating organization fully Chavez controlled, any program, and its directors, that go on air must be registered as "independent producers", from Castillo to that infamous character at La Hojilla on state TV.
Well, Leopoldo Castillo, the chair of the most watched talk show of Venezuela, Alo Ciudadano, has been away for a few weeks, supposedly on vacation, a vacation that was certainly extended due to Globovision internal problems. He returned today and gave us this pearl: the CONATEL is neither renewing or refusing his license because there is a "proceeding" against his show. Of course this is an indirect way to force his show closing as Globovision normally should only carry duly registered producers and Castillo should be off the air.
The strategy of the regime here is very simple: denial of justice, no trial. This is how, in the soon three years since RCTV was closed and its transmission equipment were taken over, the government has not had to indemnify RCTV because the high court of Venezuela is not making any ruling. Amen of the appeals of RCTV that by law should have been answered within days and which are gathering dust in some shelf of the TSJ since at least May 2007. This is how Leopoldo Castillo might be forced off the air simply because CONATEL is not making any decision and Globovision cannot wait any longer unless risking further unjust fines. As a reminder it is exactly the principle used to bar people from running for office simply due to an administrative malpractice, WITHOUT a trial and a sentence needed.
At any rate something good came of it: it seems that Granier and Globovision are pushing the dare towards Diosdado: Granier of RCTV was the featured guest at the return show of Castillo and his words were very strong, too strong for someone who is a living target of chavismo and too strong for a host whose show is hanging by a thread. Apparently the departure of Ravell from Globovision will not moderate much the network.
To be contiued....