It used to be that when the government wanted to shut down a TV station, or a radio broadcaster, they’d at least go through the motions of couching the moves in  neutral-sounding bureaucratese.

RCTV went down not to a “shutdown“, you’ll remember, but to a “non-renewal of its broadcast license”. Such absurd circumlocution amounts to a concession, an acknowledgment that what they did was too brutal to do without euphemism.

Same thing for dozens of radio and regional TV stations. They got screwed alright, but with a little vaseline thrown into the works.

No longer. Yesterday, when muckracking weekly rag 6to Poder was ordered shut down and its editor arrested, no pretense was made that this was about anything other than the government’s need to protect itself by silencing its critics.

The only question now is which of 6to Poder’s many allegations finally got too hot for the government to handle. Corruption allegations against Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami, maybe?

MCM’s take on this is spot on. The Venezuelan State increasingly acts solely as a mechanism to protect the interests of the chavista governing elite. Of course every government, to some extent, acts to protect the interests of the governing elite – but proper thugocracies do nothing but that.

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