Thursday, February 18, 2010

The many facets of Chavez censorship machinery: to TV and radio add soon Internet

Chavismo might be lacking originality in pretty much everything, but we cannot deny that it is quite good at those fields that are essential to perpetuate the regime forever, censorship coming to mind today as several examples coincided thorough the day. In no particular order:

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....


  1. Manuel Villalba of the AN says: "It is not true that there is a law that seeks to control the Internet". Of course there isn't - but what he avoids saying is whether or not he wants one. Or better said, whether or not Hugo wants one, because Villalba wouldn't do a thing without permission, I'm sure.

    The RCTV article states that RCTV missed a deadline, which the government called "una actitud de soberbia frente al gobierno". While I would like to see that quote in its original context, I find it baffling that being slow is roughly the same as telling the government, "Up yours." If that's true, then every time the government fails to meet a deadline, then, being public servants and all, it must show "una actitud de soberbia frente al pueblo."

  2. It seems Mr. Castillo will fight this in court (good luck!) and will continue his work until matters come to a head.

    I'm guessing we'll see an "Alo-Potazo" in the near future.

    Ravell has a press conference slated for noon today. My guess is that he will announce he is running for office in the September elections.

  3. Translation here:

    I'm from the Evil Empire up north. A couple of days ago I noticed the websites and blogs I normally watch were very slow in loading. I thought it was my connection or computer.
    But today as I'm waiting for this blog to load, I click on another tab and loaded a US based site. I skimmed the US based site and went back to the tab loading Venezuela N&W, still hadn't loaded. I opened four more tabs with US based sites, skimmed the news and went back to Venezuela N&W which had just finished loading. Devils Excretment, Caracas Chronicles, El Universe, Noticiero Digital, Talcual Digital, all sites from Venezuela load very slowly.
    I think old Ramiro Valdes was tinkering around with the equipment.

  5. sheff611:40 AM

    England calling :- no problems with websites or blogs here....not yet.
    Bit off topic , and sorry for my poor understanding of spanish , but can anyone enlighten me about Maria Corina Machado. Just been watching her outside the AN.

  6. Roger3:45 AM

    Yoani is a great example of using language to attack your opponents without giving them to attack you with. Joan of Arc did the same thing in France but as always in the end, the Goons were told to burn the bitch and they did. Such posts also remind me of Frederico Garcia Lorca executed in the
    Spanish Civil War. Its poetry, it must be subversive!

  7. 1979 Boat People6:33 PM


    Soldiers in control of Niger, president being held

    Thugo Chavez? ...Do it to me ONCE MORE TIME...

  8. CORRECTION - internet sites in Venezuela are working. I probably panic when they were slow loading the other day, thinking maybe the government was tinkering with the internet.
    Sorry if I caused any panic.

  9. What goes on in Venezuela now gives me fearful and angry thoughts.

    I think we have seen( way too much of by the way )both in Venezuela and elsewhere including in the US, how freedom of thought is repressed through outer and inner life in censured and self censured worlds.At some point it becomes all but impossible for most of us to think freely simply because of ideology, public opinion, fears of being disliked or ostracized and isolated.Politics is by far the greatest venue for this problem to manifest.I guess we don't always realize how important it is to be able to think independently .

    One thing is to vote for a candidate and elect the politician that the majority choose, and another is to equate the majority opinion with the truth.

    Freedom of expression can also be stifled without institutional interference when the views of the majority become so widely accepted that other ideas are repressed.

    Political correctness takes advantage of the human need for social acceptance and simultaneous worrying about social isolation to fuel its goal to establish a 'correct' party line.

    To me the real revolution is to fight this tendency within ourselves at all times.Then when most of us can emancipate as authentic individuals,our societies will evolve and we can finally establish a collective working together in a way that means something greater...until then the collective is mostly about the unconscious lowest common denominator.Those US Americans and Europeans and others who don't see that what is happening in Venezuela is also happening everywhere to some extent, are living in denial.

    First things first.

  10. sheik yer Bouti12:49 AM

    thus scene from the movie Downfall has been re-done so many times for a variety of issues but this one is so good......cant someone use this clip and do a parody about Chavez?

  11. Boludo Tejano1:30 AM

    The first one was posted on YouTube over two years ago, Sheik. You are a little behind the times. I guess some news still reaches Oregon by Pony Express.:) (smiley face)
    Caracas Chronicles compared Thugo’s reaction to the victory of the NO vote in the December 2007 constitutional referendum to Hitler’s tirade in The Downfall. Coincidentally or not, several days later , the following appeared on YouTube. Thugo can fall in line with the Dallas Cowboys and such luminaries who have been parodied using Hitler’s tirade in The Downfall.


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