Frogs Inside the Globovisión Pot Agree: "The water's only the teensiest bit warm here, come swim!"

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ImageFollowing the sale of Globovision, the last remaining critical TV broadcaster in Venezuela, to (reputedly) regime-connected investors, there was widespread fear in the opposition that a new and aggressively chavista editorial line would be imposed on the station.

And so there was relief last week when it was announced that Vladimir Villegas and Leopoldo Castillo would be two members of a triumvirate set to run the station.

Vladimir Villegas is the closest thing to a straight-shooter in Venezuelan media. A one-time chavista and even (gasp!) head of VTV, his tone has become steadily more critical towards the government. He is indeed the brother of the conniption-inducing Goebbelsian Information Minister Ernesto Villegas, but that’s really neither here nor there: everybody recognizes Vladimir as his own guy.

Leopoldo Castillo has been the gratingly reactionary Voice of Globovision for as long as anyone can remember. An instantly recognizable figure due to his nightly prime time show, Aló Ciudadano, Castillo is doubtlessly a smart guy and at the same time the stylistic embodiment of an ancien regime most of us would rather forget about. He has a devoted following among opposition die-hards, though, and his appointment will go a long ways towards assuaging their fears.

It speaks volumes, though, that the third member of this little junta has not yet been announced, and frankly it’s hard not to fear for the worst in such circumstances.

So the regime is proceeding with some caution here, and for good reason. There’s little to be gained from dropping the Globovision frog directly into a pot that’s already at a rolling boil. It’s much better to do it the tried and true way – just gently, almost imperceptibly at first, and turn up the heat under that nice cool pot of water.

Mmmmmm … thassome good frog stew…

1 COMMENT

  1. Agreed on the metaphoric analogy. Globovisión is a nice investment for anyone interested. Concession expires by 2015, and new ownership should aim at slowly decreasing radicalism in the editorial line so the concession can be renewed. It’s Business Investment 101.

    Zuloaga knew this, and, by business strategy analysis, he’s correct selling the channel. He has already created a flawed reputation on the government and is very high risk to arrive at 2015 owning Globovisión, where a no renovation of the concession would be a total business breaker. Just remember Cisneros.

  2. “everybody recognizes Vladimir as his own guy”, please do NOT count me in that group. These guys are like the Escarrá brothers, one on each side of the political spectrum to be save no matter what. Globovision’s editorial line will, slowly but relentless, become red.

  3. I have a hard time endorsing the thesis that Leopoldo Castillo has been “the most gratingly reactionary voice…”, especially when backed up by the link to a blog referring to Globovision as “ese semillero de odio de la ultraderecha “, itself party-line cant of the worts kind, despite the author’s having apparently distinguished himself in the past. I have seen the Álo Ciudadano program often: ‘gratingly reactionary’? nothing of the sort:more like, ‘firmly anchored’ and ‘standing its ground’ and having to navigate artificially turbulent waters whereof no reliable charts are available.

    As for touting Castillo as being a “stylistic embodiment of an ancien régime that most of us would rather forget about” and painting him, by that device of ‘hardline following’, as a radical is to parrot rojito objections of any opposition figures being radical right-wingers, worthy of a ‘fascist’ label á la Nazi Germany.

    The reference to the ancien régime as something to be consigned to the dustbin of history is also to throw out the baby with the bathwater: the 40 years of quasi democracy, with all its many, often dreadful, warts, had much to be said for it: all the current objections, ‘university only for élites’, ‘no literacy programs’ and plenty of other stuff were – in point of fact – initiated and inculcated during that period and has given the country a generation of today’s opposition supporters that constitutes the majority of those who are so keen to prevent the potential social losses threatening the nation under the ‘new management’ of the past decade and a half.

    • 100 % in agreement. FT, once again, meando fuera del perol (must be the long distance between the Far East meador, and the Venezuelan-based perol….

    • This is typical FT but we still love him. FT needs to spend some time in America among rednecks or gun loving republicans or something that will ignite his fighting spirit ans sense of awareness (it’s pretty good already but you’re missing something)

    • Amen.

      Quico, after all these years, isn’t it time to accept that Castillo was no extremist, but rather prescient? Every last apocalyptic fear of the hardcore opposition is slowly coming to pass.

      • I’ve used mirrors often throughout life – I am beardless today, even – and have yet to find one that reflects the opinion of a single observer as opposed to fact.

      • Reaccionario yo?!?!? Reaccionarios son los malandros comunistas de VTV!! A Globovisión ni con el pétalo de una rosa!! Burn the heretics!

        • Wlad : the peyorative ‘reactionary’ label shouldnt bother you , labels only speak of a the labelers preferences and emotional responses , not about what you really are , that you should judge by yourself using your own criteria . I personally have never paid all that much attention to Mr Castillos opinions , he is the ‘presenter’ of other people who come to his program , these are usually more interesting than the presenter . I am neither offended by his opinions nor very much impressed by them. Evidently he represents an important segment of opposition opinion but its certainly not the only one!! Cant honestlly understand what the fuss is about !!

  4. Let’s not forget that Leopoldo Castillo supported Chavez in 1998 and parted ways with him because he wasn’t given the position he wanted.

    • It’s not about the privat person, it’s about the publiuc figure. He might well be a closet Leninist, but on TV he represents a derecha that didn’t even exist before Chavez. He wouldn’t make sense in the cuarta, but today he is a big ball o’ reaction.

  5. I am not a fan of Castillo, and he’s hardly the best example of “IVth Republic” journalism (he never tries to please, which seems to have been the key trait of old journos). Carlos Croes, Carlos Fernandes, the VV anchors, I guess, are far better examples… But we have to figure that IVth Republic journalism was far better at delineating contrasts: even “Primer Plano” had contrasting views every other week, from all sides of the political spectrum.

    Alas, I believe there hasn’t been anyone quite like Carlos Rangel on TV, before or after.

    TV journalism is far too constrained, though.

    • The problem with TV journalism nowdays in Venezuela its space, nobody wants to grant even an inch of space to an opposing view, the governments wants to completely wipe out dissidence and the opposition doesn’t want to lose what little ground it still (realistically) Holds.

      So at the end of the day, as much as I dislike people like Castillo, Marta Colomina or Maria Corina, they deserve respect for opposing a despotic, authocratic, violent government. They are like a reckless giant axe wielding viking who charges at the enemy without orders, you may not like him, but he has BALLS.

      • Ah yes, the traitor and jezebel, Maria Corina. It’s very suggestive about the moral quality of the opposition, the sort of people they pick as their heroes and heroines.

        • Can we all just agree here to ban this idiot? Hector, go away and create your OWN blog!! You’re only able to spread your filth at the largesse of THESE blog owners. And, speaking of suggestive, it’s very suggestive of the moral quality of YOUR own party. You know, those who discriminate against everyone who doesn’t agree with them. Moron. Oh, wait: do you even live here in VZ? No? I didn’t think so…

        • As opposed to the moral qualities of someone who believes that government violence is totally fine and that a person can achieve a sublime understanding of the “revolution” through a blow upside the head?

  6. Does anyone know a quote or statement from Leopoldo Castillo where he is shown to be reactionary? The few times I have seen his show I find his statements to be fairly mild compared to Jaime Bayly, I’m wondering if Leopoldo has made controversial statements in the past.

  7. I wonder what in todays opposition movement defines a ‘reactionary’ vs someone more enlightened ? I do sense that there are people who become so enthralled in their passions that they lose their intellectual balance and cant see what the other side has that may be worthy of tolerance or respect . Is this what makes a reactionary? journalists have inbred into them the idea that even in the midst of a political war the foe must be treated with a measure of fairness, something which is more difficult for the more vernacular minded person, who simply responds to another persons offenses with like fierceness . A member of my family was an once an active journalist in todays Venezuela , and I was sometimes surprised to see how this person ( a definite member of the opposition) responded when it heard some malicious and false thing being said about some loathful character from the regime. Still the question stands what specifically makes Mr Castillo a reactionary. quite frankly I ve never paid the mans opinion enough attention to notice.

  8. Whatever reactionary or not, like Leopoldo Castillo or not, seemed to me this was one of the few places of the media who wasn’t invaded by the Chavistas and people could come to his show and say whatever they want. Yes or not? Do you think people could go to his show and complain against the government/ civil servants abusing their powers? Yes or not? Whenever I head the show I saw a lot of it. Because that’s the importance thing. A place when people could talk/ complain against the government, not only the big Chivos but things that happened in neighborhoods, abuse of powers, and be able to do it so. Villegas will be the front of the gov reporting everything they do and approving/ telling people what to say. So I have a question for the troll, what do you call a government who controls all the media outlets of a country? tic tac tic tac…

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