Bolshaya Chistka, or the Great Purge
Venezuelan dictator Hugo “Fidelito” Chávez is on his way to closing down a second television station within the space of a few days. First he closed Radio Caracas TV for allegedly trying to undermine the government, and now he is going after Globovision for allegedly inciting the people to kill him. But it’s not because he’s paranoid or anything like that, they really are out to get him.
Chávez has an interesting history with television, a twisted love-hate relationship. Obviously he loves state-controlled television, which never wavers in its support for him. But Chávez hates private television, not least because it has already once been a fundamental factor in his overthrow – see The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Oh yes, Chávez is also suing CNN for allegedly linking him to al-Qaeda. But I think that’s just for fun.
Many people have been protesting the closure of RCTV; on the other hand, many people have been supporting it. The latter group are idiots.
Benjamin Franklin once said:
In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Who ever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
Which is always interpreted to mean that a free press is essential for liberty, something that by now all educated people know is true.
Chávez is currently only about 4 months into the 18-month dictatorship he was granted. I am certain that by the end of it, there will not be a single truly independent publisher or broadcaster left in Venezuela. ¡Adiós, la libertad!