Sunday, January 24, 2010

RCTV Internacional cut off

In one of those lovely moments of utter transparency by the Chavez administration in Venezuela...
During a press conference, Conatel's director (*Minister of Housing and Habitat and director of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel), Diosdado Cabello) said that 105 national TV channels submitted the documentation and only 24 met the requirements.

Those 24 TV channels, among them RCTV Internacional, were considered PNA. Other 81 TV channels, which did not submit any documentation, were also considered PNA, because "they are automatically considered (according to the provision) national audiovisual production (*PNA)," Cabello said.
24+81... that's...

Whether they applied for exemption as private channels, or not, they were *all* found to be national assets. These are all cable or satellite providers (open broadcast has long been presumed not just commons, but state property) so this is all about regulating content on *any* media outlet. In fact, criminalizing media activity has become the norm in all the Bolivarian Socialist states... Correa's Ecuador may well be worse off than Venezuela after their new laws late last year.

This little exercise in state-control was pulled off on 23 de enero (January 23rd), which happens to be a rather significant date in Venezuelan history...

Lots on all of this, and the 23dE marches, at Venezuela News and Views.


Today's fun fact on what commenter 'Will' calls Hugo Chavez's desire to " Mugabe's road..." : El Universal reports in their story on 2009 economic activity that the Executive Office has seized 559 ranches and 12 agro-businesses. You can just guess who was entrusted to administer them 'for the state', can't you?


Roy said...

Many of you outside of Venezuela and the political milieu that is Latin America may be wondering, how is it possible that Chavez can continue on this path without a popular uprising against him. After all, his true support base is only about 20% of the population, with another 25% that continues voting for him, either because they are benefiting from the system, or are afraid of losing their jobs or perks.

The first (and most important) reason is that Chavez has a "Dead Man's Switch" in his possession. Chavez has used his populist charisma and rhetoric to claim the hearts and minds of a class of Venezuelan society known as "los resentidos", or "The ones who resent". These are people who resent anyone who has anything more than they do. Chavez has tapped into their underlying frustration with their personal failures and turned that into a smoldering hatred of, and animosity towards, what he refers to as the oligarchs, or anyone who looks like or represents the old establishment. The resentidos, or Chavistas, believe in Chavez, their “Comandante”, with a religious-like fervor that is reminiscent of the Nazis. These people represent Chavez's security, because only he can prevent them looting and burning the country. If Chavez were deposed, or killed, it is certain that this segment of the society is angry enough and large enough to riot and destroy the country before their passions are spent and order is restored. Remember that the petroleum infrastructure of the country, that produces virtually all foreign income, is very vulnerable. This is Chavez's ultimate security mechanism. You will occasionally hear direct references made by Chavez in this regard: "Only I can guarantee the peace.", or "If the AN (National Assembly) is won by the Opposition, there will be civil war.” But whether he states it explicitly, or not, the threat is always present.

Without his "Dead Man's Switch", he would have been removed from office long before now, either by the military, or by a legal coup, a la Honduras. I am dead serious when I tell you that some 15-20% of the population of Venezuela, manipulated by Chavez, is holding the rest hostage.

Continued in Part 2... (I ran over on word count)

Roy said...

Part 2...

This is the real purpose of his endless speeches on television (Cadenas or "Chains"). He must continue to reach all of his followers, all of the time. He cannot afford to have any contrary message blunting their hatred. RCTV offers a rather mundane selection of game shows and soap operas as popular entertainment, and his "resentidos" are prone to watch these. He cannot tolerate that he cannot preempt this programming with his "Cadenas" on cable television. Thus, RCTV was a higher priority target than Globovision, a broadcaster that offers primarily news and analysis that is anti-Chavez. He is not so worried about Globovision, because the people watching that channel are already anti-Chavista and of no use to him.

This also explains the high rate (and climbing) of violent crime in this country. Most of it is perpetrated by his “resentidos”. He cannot crack down on crime without losing their support. He especially needs the loyalty of this criminal class, because they are largely well-armed and they represent a potent part of his threat. So, the police and the courts are remarkably inefficient and blasé about apprehending and jailing criminals. In fact, these armed thugs are also used by Chavez to intimidate political opponents. Chavez wants these thugs to be a very visible daily reminder of the “WMD” that only he can prevent from being set off.

The second primary reason is that there is simply no viable alternative leader amongst the Opposition. In order to take on Chavez, any leader would have to convince the population and the “establishment” that it was worth it to pay the high price of taking out Chavez and having the country suffer the subsequent spasm of riots and violence. In spite of how bad the Chavez government is, as a result of a very sordid history of institutionalized corruption, the people don’t trust the Opposition either. When any leader of significant stature does appear, Chavez uses his control of the media to undercut them. If that doesn’t work, he simply has them jailed, if they cannot escape into exile first.

So, forget all of the trappings of democracy. Chavez is a dictator in every sense of the word. The only difference from that of the typical military dictator is that his real power comes not from the military, but from the idolization of the lowest classes of the society.

In my analysis, Venezuela, like all of the Marxist experiments before it, will have to travel the whole length of the road to its ultimate economic destruction and moral ruin before it can be rebuilt.

Susan said...

Roy's post is EXCELLENT.
I had heard of this too as I have many Venezuelan amigos on FB, including the mayor there-
LDG-- if you don't mind, I am going to post your blog on a couple of the Venezuelan's FB-

L.Douglas Garrett said...


Indeed, bravo! Well said on all counts.


re: "if you don't mind, I am going to post your blog on a couple of the Venezuelan's FB-"

I don't mind. This is an open-access 'blog, so any trouble that would find us can already do so (and I am shall-we-say prepared to deal with).


sources are reporting an unarmed student march on Conatel to protest the cut off... and notorious thug Lina Ron and her crew are awaiting them, as are a set of Chavez-paid "students". This could get very ugly.

RCR informa que la marcha de estudiantes llego a la PLAZA ALFREDO SADEL DE CHACAITO....... aseguran estudiantes que llegaràn a CONATEL y que no se enfrentaràn , que iran con sus manos blancas, y que los estudiantes del bachillerato se suman a la marcha....aseguran a los reporteros de RCR que iran en son de paz....sin armas y sin piedras..... posted 25/01/10 at 1224hrs local.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


El Universal has a report in English on this morning's campus protest at Universidad Santa María (USM), a private university in the state of Anzoátegui (northeastern Venezuela). Like last week's other on-campus protests, this one was quickly contained and stamped out.

Nothing yet on the protests trying to get to Conatel today.

Susan said...

I hope you get some traffic here- this is newsworthy- I just read about the students and Conatel, an article written by one of the Venezuelans on FB- it is in Spanish but looks like there is some big trouble headed that way!

L.Douglas Garrett said...


Thank you, yes. Getting a good number of eyes on this thread.

also @Roy the same. Thank you for the crosslink at Caracas Chronicles.


finally getting English-language sources coming in on today's protest. Here's the first report from El Universal on that.

Sure enough, the party thugs got into it and then the police dispersed the student marchers with tear gas and riot pellets.

L.Douglas Garrett said...


While this thread can remain open for comments regarding the RCTV matter in particular, there is a new item in on Venezuela now:

New Venezuelan Defense Minister

...with something important as a kicker.

See you over there!

Susan said...

I want to share what one of the Venezuelan's posted on my FB- she goes by Bandera Negra- very fisty and very dedicated to her many causes she has going on in Venezuela. I am so impressed by the comradship these Venezuelan's have going on-
"I also think there is some significance to choosing january 23rd to kill freedom of expression. january 23rd traditionally was conmemorated to remember the first time in our history that the military were constitutionally subject to constitutional rule. the last 11 years has been the reintroduction of military meddling in civil affairs. that's why consider the military as the real enemy to be defeated, even more than Mr. Goriparrot. they try to destroy our date, now comes february 4th, when the bolibananians conmemorate the coup d'etat in which the autocrat participated. we will instead celebrate a national day of mourning!
So keep in mind February 4th, we mourn!

Susan said...

are you aware of the word "bolibananians?" it is her favorite. LOL

Susan said...

I am looking at some very graphic pictures of a young man who was injured in a demonstration in Merida by the police there under Orellana. (one of the Venezuelans on FB)

I think he is a reporter there-

Susan said...

just reading about yesterday's events ---

Police and supporters of President Hugo Chavez clashed with students in cities across the country Monday during protests over the government forcing an opposition channel off cable TV. Two youths were reported killed and 16 people suffered injuries.

Susan said...

Five other networks were cancelled too Saturday, midnight.

A black screen showed up-

Ritmo Son, Momentum, América TV, American Network y TV Chile