Following 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…