An opponent to the Venezuelan government waves a flag in front of the police during a protest 28 May 2007, in Caracas, in the aftermath of the closure of private network RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). The United States called on Venezuela’s leftist president, Hugo Chavez, Tuesday to reverse his decision to close the country’s oldest television station.
AFP: US calls on Venezuela’s Chavez to reverse television closure
The United States joins the expressions of concern made by the international community about the May 27 closure of RCTV, Venezuela’s only independent television network with nationwide broadcast coverage,” said State Department spokesman Tom Casey.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, it’s an essential element of democracy anywhere in the world,” he said.
“We’d certainly call on the government of Venezuela to abide by its commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Inter-American Democratic Charter and to reverse these policies that they’re pursuing to limit freedom of expression,” he said.
In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez speaks during a meeting with retired people in La Guaira, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Chavez defended his decision not to renew the license of a popular opposition-aligned television network and warned he might crack down on another critical TV station, accusing it of trying to incite attempts on his life.
But, Hugo Chavez will not reverse course. In fact, he has threatened a second station.
Venezuela’s leftist government accused a leading TV station of calling for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez, El Universal reported Tuesday.
Globovision TV was said to be openly calling for the death of Chavez when it aired the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II accompanied by the phrase, “This doesn’t end here.”
The accusation against Globovision follows the decision by Venezuela to shut down an opposition TV station and replace it with a state-backed network triggered angry protests Monday.
The Venezuelan Social Television started broadcasting shortly after midnight, taking over the frequency previously occupied by Radio Caracas Television.
The state-run broadcast included traditional songs and dances, cartoons, documentaries and a statement from station President Lil Rodriguez — who said that as a self-respecting nation, Venezuela now has a new source of messages of dignity, VOA reported.
But RCTV employees and university students protested in Caracas Monday, calling the station closure an attack on free speech. Bank worker Marycel Montiel said she joined a protest to denounce Chavez’ authoritarian policies, comparing them to measures taken in Cuba.
And the protests continue despite Hugo Chavez’s threats:
Riot police stand guard as university students protest against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez’s decision to shut down opposition-aligned television station Radio Caracas Television, RCTV, and replace it with a new state-funded channel, in Caracas, Tuesday, May 29, 2007.
Students protest against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez’s decision to shut down opposition-aligned television station Radio Caracas Television, RCTV.
Will Chavez use deadly force against his own people to stifle freedom of the press?
Fidel Castro is his mentor.
Here is some video from today’s street protest in Venezuela:
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