Chavez's Opponents Demand Press Freedom In Venezuela

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Mon Nov 17 04:20:09 MST 2003

They are banging down an open door.
Not one single newspaper or radio or
TV station has been closed by the
Venezuelan government. There is not
one single person in jail for any
alleged political offenses. Now the
Venezuelan righists are demanding a
right which hasn't been denied them
"press freedom".

What we're seeing here is nothing but
an attempt to lay a foundation for a
foreign intervention in Venezuela on
an utterly spurious basis. They have
lost every electoral and every non-
electoral effort they have made to
beat back the Bolivarian process.

And so long as Chavez and his team
continue to deliver on needed social
reforms, the defeated and discredited
opposition will try any possible new
trick to try to defeat him. While the
process is far from finished, we must
monitor this process closely.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews moderator

Chavez's Opponents Demand Press Freedom In Venezuela


CARACAS (AP)--Opponents of President Hugo Chavez staged a
march Saturday to demand press freedom ahead of an
opposition petition drive seeking support for a recall

About 100 people joined the short march in the capital
city, some carrying placards demanding "Freedom of
Expression," others saying "Don't mess with my media."

Private media outlets are concerned about new regulations
that may restrict their coverage of the Nov. 28-Dec. 1
petition drive. Opposition leaders hope to gather more than
2.4 million signatures supporting a recall vote on Chavez's

The National Electoral Council, which is overseeing the
petition, has outlined limits on the amount of publicity
media outlets can give the petition drive to make coverage
more balanced. Local press associations have objected to
the proposed rules.

Chavez is a frequent critic of many commercial TV stations
and national newspapers for their anti-government bias. He
accuses them of supporting an April 2002 coup that ousted
him for two days.

Last month, officials from the state-run media watchdog
confiscated equipment from 24-hour news channel
Globovision, alleging the opposition-aligned station was
broadcasting over illegal frequencies. The dispute hasn't
yet been resolved.

Venezuela's fractious opposition is focusing on the recall
campaign after failing to oust Chavez through a 2002
military coup and two-month general strike earlier this

Opponents accuse Chavez of trying to impose an
authoritarian regime inspired in Cuba and insist he must be
stopped before his six-year term ends in 2007. Chavez says
a resentful economic elite feels threatened by his
"revolution" for Venezuela's poor majority.

Updated November 15, 2003 2:32 p.m.

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