Venezuela TV station seizure sends chilling message of totalitarian rule

CARACAS, May 28, 2007 (AFP) – Despite protests by democracy activists, Venezuela’s oldest television network went off the air at midnight Sunday, victim of a fresh push by President Hugo Chavez to tighten his grip over the nation’s media. RCTV screens went black after the station broadcast previously-recorded images of its teary-eyed employees singing the national anthem.

The channel’s successor, Chavez-backed TVes, began broadcasting its own programming minutes later.

As 53-year-old RCTV was about to fade into history, network president Marcel Granier told US-based Univision television that Chavez was driven by “a megalomaniacal desire to establish a totalitarian dictatorship.”

Police used water cannon dispersed thousands of stone-throwing protesters outside Venezuela’s telecom authority, which had ordered RCTV off the air.

Meanwhile, Chavez supporters held a huge, night-to-dawn public party outside RCTV studios to celebrate the birth of the new “socialist television” and the end of the bitterly anti-Chavez RCTV.

The closure of Venezuela’s oldest network, the latest episode in President Chavez’s socialist revolution, sparked growing protests over the weekend.

Chavez’s political opponents championed RCTV as

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments