Saturday, June 06, 2009

Forced finacial ruin as a way to close annoying media: bankrupting Globovision

I suppose I should be writing about all the economic bad news coming from Venezuela, where a reckless government nationalizes business it owes money to in order to avoid paying its debts, refuses to pay the dollars legally owed through CADIVI and as such is assisting in a slow but certain slowing down of activity. Already food shortages are coming back and choices at the store is a thing of the past. But I do not want to talk about that because it would remind me how my business expenses have ballooned in one year due to government incompetence and harassment.

Rather, let's talk about how the government creativity has been put to work to force Globovision into bankruptcy. Chavismo has realized that closing RCTV was a huge mistake and postponed by two years the final take over of the country at a time where low oil prices do not offer a comfortable enough cushion to silence eventual protests. So they came up with a new system, harass Globovision with a multitude of fines so as to force it into bankruptcy and closing (or forced reselling to pro Chavez nouveau riche pals).

It all started when Chavez publicly summoned all the "independent" powers of the state to act against Globovison (video here, if you doubt it). Within a few days they all obliged.

The most infamous of these genuflections came from the high court. This one had been freezing for now five years a normal appeal of Globovision over an unjust confiscation of its microwave transmission equipment. The TSJ decided this week that Globovision had nothing to protest about, confirmed the confiscation of the expensive equipment and might as well confirmed the fine. The question of course is how come the TSJ HAD TO WAIT FIVE (5) YEARS to emit a ruling that it could have been done with a few weeks of research. ¡Asi, asi, asi es que se gobierna!

But other shameless attacks came from all sort of other authorities. The general prosecutor, after having lowered herself by defending Chavez's "right" to give her orders, started putting out rather unfounded indictments against Zuloaga, Globovision president, forcing him to shell lots of bucks in defense proceedings that will last months and months as recent trials have demonstrated. A perfect strategy to exhaust the other side, to force them to ruin themselves to prove them innocent or give it up and close shop to cut their losses. Chavismo of course does not have cost problems since all of its lawyers are paid by the state not to do anything so as to drag the matter for ever.

Another priceless moment was a large battalion of Nazional Guard in full gear going back to Zuloaga's offices to seize the stuffed animals. Here we can add another dimension besides the wished for humiliation of Zuloaga. As crime is rampant government is using its security apparatus to seize stuffed animals. The hoi poloi might be upset about it as it dodges straight bullets and thugs on their back home from work while the Guard is busy with ridiculous tasks. But the objective of the government is elsewhere than citizens security: it is chavismo security. After the Nazional Guard display anyone that dares to oppose Chavez has been foretold the consequences of their opposition.

And more, but that is enough for you to get the picture: if you upset Chavez your property will be seized by either plain robbery or legal robbery through fines and "back" taxes. A few more months of that and Globovision will be closed.

But that is not all. One of the masterminds of these actions is Diosdado Cabello, Chavez super minister. The man has been defeated badly in his bid for reelection and is now receiving a downpour of well documented acts of corruption during his tenure. And yet NO INVESTIGATION has been started against him, for crimes infinitely worse than Globovison and Zuloaga. He walks free, prosecutes Globovision who airs all the accusations against him.

There you have it, bolivarian justice, bolivarian corruption, bolivarian abuse of power,bolivarian censorship and bolivarian what not.

But let's finish by the fun moment. AFP has published today a critical summary of some of these events and within a few hours ABN was replying. This more than anything else reveals to us that the government knows it is doing wrong.

-The end-

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