Yesterday, the Venezuelan National Assembly approved the changes to the new penal code. These changes criminalize dissent, criticism and any activity against Government officials by individuals. In the case of criticism of President Chavez, it is a criminal offense to “offend” the President either publicly or in private.
What it means, once it gets published in the next few days and becomes law, is that the Government may go after anyone that tries to express any form of criticism against the Government or Government officials. This is in effect, a limitation of freedom of speech which will be diminished significantly going forward.
One possible way to counter this, is to write blogs like this one. One, two or three voices may be silenced but not dozens. If any of you out there is inclined to express and write opinions, whatever they may be, start a blog, tell the world how you see it. It is cheap and it is simple. The Internet could be a very powerful and important medium for all of us in the years to come, it can not be stopped or controlled.
I use a software from Userland called Radio Userland which including the hosting for one year of my blog, has a very low cost of US$39.95. You can even try it for free for one month to see if you like it. The rest is however much time you want, or have, to put into it.
There is also software that is free, such as Google’s Blogger, which is Web-based and you can be blogging in minutes when you set it up. There is typepad and many others. If anyone needs some help, write to me via private e-mail. I can help, particular with Userland, which I know fairly well.
Don’t let them squash our freedoms!