Monday, February 11, 2008

That remote control problem: closing down on Globovision

The international press might have highlighted again the now routine threats that Chavez will close the supply of oil to the US, but that was not the real news from Venezuela. Of course with 12 billion of PDVSA assets frozen, the casual observer might think that Chavez will finally shut down oil supply to the States. But that is not what matters in Caracas today: what matters is the renewed interests of chavismo to shoot the last messenger left, Globovision.

The reasons are very simple, and have not changed: Globovision is the only TV network that regularly displays the problems that the country is suffering, the real problems of the people. Which are these problems? Lack of some food items; crime reaching levels unheard of and putting Caracas in the top 5 more dangerous cities in the world; inflation among the highest in the world, affecting food prices the most, the prices which are most felt by the poor; lack of real jobs as too many depend on government handouts and public services jobs where wearing a red beret is de rigueur; and more, much more. It is easy to understand that at a time where the government is showing increasing strain and where its ineptitude is becoming extraordinarily obvious Globovision (or any other critical media) is something that will need to be dealt with.

There is that saying that homo sapiens is the only animal that stumbles twice over the same stone. It seems that the government has already forgotten that closing RCTV was a huge mistake, a mistake that was in large part the cause of losing the December 2 referendum as it made it clear to the Venezuelan people that the referendum was about naked power grab more than the betterment of the people. Closing Globovision would be a much , much worse mistake. That perspective does not seem to stop chavismo who as it feels the waters rising to its neck is showing signs of acute despair.

The problem for Chavez and the sycophants that surround him is that diversity is not their strong point. They are all mediocre individuals and have reached high position just because Chavez has charisma. Any other group that might show some success in their field is feared because it exposes their mediocrity. It is very simple actually, a very normal emotional reaction for the feeble of mind.

Chavismo simply cannot understand why Globovison is the most worn out button on the remote control in Caracas and Valencia, the only markets where Globovision is on open broadcast (the rest of the country is cable only). That is right: if you have no cable TV in Caracas the TV set will offer you a limited choice. From the government side, most of the media dedicate most of their broadcasting time to support or emit outright propaganda in favor of Chavez. You have VTV, ViVe TV, Teves, Avila TV, Telesur, ANTV just to name the main ones. That is: 6 networks plus the minor players. On the border line supporting of chavismo you have Venevision and Canal I. Neutral there is only Televen. For the opposition there is only Globovision. Though it must be repeated endlessly that Globovision emits the news, that is, emits all the petulant declarations of Chavez and his ministers and offers them a mic if they were to accept their invitation. But the government has become allergic to probing questions by real journalists. On the other hand you can look by yourself how much from the opposition side makes it to the news in the 6 networks mentioned above.

Chavismo is helpless against Globovision whose ratings surpass easily of any of the pro Chavez channels in Caracas, a truly remarkable feat for a 24 news channel. That it is due to the state media passing programs that do not reflect the reality of Venezuela does not seem to reach chavismo folks. So, after having tried to confuse the audiences by offering all sorts of state media, there is only one recourse left for chavismo: take the remote control out of the people's hand. Because this would be the effect of closing Globovision: there will be no more choice for news, thus no more need for channel surfing since all would say "viva Chavez!". Or remain silent.

Unfortunately for chavismo that would spell its final demise. Globovison is increasingly offering its air waves to chavista rank and file complaining that they cannot go to VTV to expose their just causes: a large chunk of chavismo knows now full well that if they have a complaint, the state media will not air it. That is why Chavez must shut up Globovision, as things are getting increasingly difficult for him he thinks he can hide the times through censorship.

-The end-

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