Just to make sure that the folks here who think Hugo Chavez is just looking out for the little guy, and he's a democrat at heart -- know the truth about him.
More than a dozen of 34 radio stations ordered shut by the Venezuelan government went off the air on Saturday, part of President Hugo Chavez's drive to extend his socialist revolution to the media.
The association of radio broadcasters said 13 stations had stopped transmitting, following an announcement Friday night by government broadcasting watchdog Conatel that 34 radio outlets would be closed because they failed to comply with regulations.
Critics said the crackdown infringed on freedom of speech and that owners were not given the right to a proper defense.
"They're closing the space for dissidents in Venezuela," William Echeverria, head of the National Council of Journalists, told RCTV, a private cable TV station, which did not have its broadcasting license renewed in 2007.
Chavez defended the closures, calling them part of the government's effort to democratize the airwaves.
(Continued after the jump)
"We haven't closed any radio stations, we've applied the law," Chavez said on state television. "We've recovered a bunch of stations that were outside the law, that now belong to the people and not the bourgeoisie."
Chavez supporters say they are waging a "media war" against private news companies and have denounced in recent days what they say is a renewed offensive by privately owned domestic and international media to discredit Venezuela.
I'm sure those media outlets are attacking the Chavez Government. Of course, what Chavez is doing is admiting that he's shutting down dissenters of his regime. Viva Hugo!
It brings me no joy to post this. But I got into some knock down drag out fights with other Kossacks here back when there were a lot of diaries about the Honduran coup.
I said, repeatedly, that Zeleya was an open admirer and emulator of Hugo Chavez, and that Chavez was a thug. That didn't justify the coup, but it did not justify the crazy martyrdom that Zeleya was given by many here. Nor their strange support for Chavez, who threatened war against Honduras for ousting his compatriot.
The irony, of course, is that many of the posters here supporting Zeleya used the Coup Gvt's shutting down or intimidation of pro-Zeleya media outlets as evidence that the Coup plotters were anti-democratic. Well...yes they were!
And so is Hugo Chavez.
I note that many of Chavez' defenders in the comments are using what I call the Sgt. Crowley defense for his actions. Chavez' critics are saying nasty and mean things about Chavez, maybe even untrue things! So, that justifies using Gvt. power to shut them up.
No...it doesn't. It was wrong when the Honduran coup plotters did it. Its wrong when Hugo Chavez does it. And, yes, that -- among other things -- does justify calling Chavez a thug.
Either you believe in freedom of speech or you don't. If you do, that means you believe in the right of people to say things you think are abhorrent or wrong.