The skin of President Nicolás Maduro – and that of the people around him – is getting more sensitive every day to the news the media has been spreading lately. An incident last Friday, once more against the Diario 2001 newspaper, is an evidence of that intolerance.
It is no secret to anyone that those endorsing the “process” have never been fond of the freedom of speech. From the demised “eternal commander” (Hugo Chávez) to most leaders of the “Revolution” have despised a free press.
We will never forget what happened at the National Assembly (AN), or the Venezuelan Congress, back in 2001, when in the wake of an incident between Chávez and one media outlet, Carlos Tablante, a lawmaker and then-backer of the “process,” asked his colleagues if they would have liked to see in Venezuela newspapers in the style of Cuba’s Gramma. The response of most comprising the parliamentary group of Movimiento V República (a leftist party founded by Chávez in 1997) was a resounding YES.
Such assertion has been evidenced with facts. First of all, the Government has been building a communication base through which it intends to turn an announcement about communicational hegemony in the country by former Communications Minister Andrés Izarra into truth.
As reported by Espacio Público, an NGO, the State relied on a TV channel in 2004, Venezolana de Televisión (VTV). Today, it owns seven of them, plus four radio networks, three newspapers and 280 community media, all of them financed through public funds with the goal of spreading a single current of thought, that of Chávez’s PSUV party.
This same NGO reported that aggressions against the media and journalists have increased this year.
Some 71 cases have been reported over the past 9 months, which means an increase of 87% with respect to the same period a year ago. The reason for this is because these media and journalists do not act as subordinately as its peers from the Government.
What the people of the top government want, those of civilian kind and the ones dressing a military uniform, is that all media outlets operate in the same fashion as VTV, YVKE Mundial (a radio station), VEA or Correo del Orinoco (two newspapers). All of these media pages depict a happy country, one without murders or endless queues in order to get a single toilet paper roll.
If that happy country was in tone with the reality, the Government wouldn’t have had the necessity to create the so-called “Vice-ministry for the Supreme Happiness” or to move the Christmas holiday season two months earlier.
Yet, reality is a stubborn one and has direct contact with Venezuelans every day.
Inflation is still among the highest on the planet, shortages of basic products stay healthy, criminal violence reigns in the streets, no matter how many phony statistics Miguel Rodríguez Torres, the minister of the interior, may release.
Public healthcare services are not suitable for Venezuela’s “red hierarchs,” who prefer to drop by a privately-run clinic rather than a hospital. The national education system is getting of worse quality every day. Those are the facts reported by the media that have not bowed to the wishes of King Maduro and his court.
Recently, Diario 2001 ran on its front page news that supplies of gas were falling short in the country.
Subsequently, Maduro ordered Attorney General Luisa Ortega to investigate the newspaper as she started touring all the pump stations mentioned in 2001’s front page with the lightning speed when an order comes directly from the Miraflores presidential palace.
Keep in mind that she never bothered to tour the ports involving all those containers with tons of rotten food imports from the “Pudreval” case.
Last week in Guasdualito, Apure state, a group of supporters of the Maduro administration sabotaged a campaign event from a mayoral office candidate of the opposition in that region, and since reporters from HCTV TV channel was there covering it, these people attacked them and ruined their cameras.
Last Friday, reporters from Diario 2001 were doing a story on how a group of Venezuelans were fighting each other over a pork leg at a Mercal (the Government’s food distribution and grocery store network) Christmas fair in Los Próceres, western Caracas.
These images without a doubt speak very badly for the “beautiful revolution,” something the Government does not want the media to spread. These kinds of deplorable events are sending straight down to hell all that “happiness” it wants the media to publish or broadcast.
During the incident, a top-ranking military officer became violent and beat down one of the young photographers of Diario 2001. Some metaphor about what the Government does to independent media outlets.