For the last few years, when people wanted to know what was happening in Venezuela they turned to Globovision. Today, I was watching Globovision in the office when a relative who works downtown called me on the phone to talk about how he was trapped in a war zone. Huh? What are you talking about?
He then proceeded to describe how the bank where he works, was closed as police and the National Guard where gassing the people demonstrating, how there was shooting and burning of vehicles. Something along these lines:
What was going on? The opposition protesting the gag law? Chavistas celebrating the first day of the gag law? No such luck, it was a protest by street vendors who on Tuesday night the police removed those posts which had no permit to spend the night. The riots left one dead and twenty five injured according to the only post on the Globovision site, which did not show one picture. Reuters/CNN did talk about it, they have no local broadcasting. Union Radio had better coverage on the Internet, but you do not need a permit to post on the Internet. Thus, Globovision appears to be exercising some self-restraint as it barely talked about it.
The amazing thing is that the same Mayor Bernal that appeared today on TV calling the buhoneros anarquists, is the same one that ruined the downtown area allowing them to set up shop where ever they wanted, in another populist era. Except now it is difficult to even walk around downtown with all the street vendors. And they decided to protest and got mad when they were mistreated by the police. And that is the problem when you control all of the Government, you can longer blame the other Mayors, when they don’t exist. You have to govern, take charge. So you blame extreme left groups like Bandera Roja or whatever Alianza al Bravo pueblo stands for. Bandera Roja laughs at the charges and ABP says how stupid it is to kick this people out right before Christmas, after six years of neglecting the problem and allowing them to proliferate. These people used to be Chavez’ supporters, these were his constituency. No more.
But how do you explain that to a foreigner: Extreme left Bandera Roja party being charged by the Chavistas for inciting the riots. Aren’t the Chavistas the extreme left? Well, this blog has been trying to explain things for over two years and it is not that easy. You see, when there was nobody in the Venezuelan guerillas in 1983, the same Gabriel Puerta that says today his party Bandera Roja was not inciting the riots, was the buddy of current foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez up in the mountains. Go figure!
But it really bothers me how low key Globovision was today on these riots. The street vendors were repressed, they became extremely violent, they burned buses, motorcycles, and they attacked the cops, the National Guard. This was big news. But you see, Article 29 of the newly enacted “gag”, “muzzle”,”content” or media law says:
Those that provide radio or TV service can be suspended “for up to 72 hours when they broadcast messages that….apologize for or incite alterations of public order”. If it happens again you may lose your license for five years. These were “alterarions of public order”, showing too many may have been construed as inciting more, thus Globovision’s silence. As simple as that.