La hegemonía va por dentro

Welcome to Venezuelan State Radio, now with programming free of "loyal criticism".
Welcome to Venezuelan State Radio, now 100% free of “loyal criticism”.

Almost a month ago, we had an unusual case of self-censorship inside the State Media System (SIBCI): the main TV channel VTV took off the air the late night show Los Papeles de Mandinga, (which replaced La Hojilla after the Mario Silva tape leak of last May).

The reason? During a show back on August 6th, host Alberto Nolia strongly criticized the government on the issue of crime and the new Disarmament Law.

Nolia later admitted in his Twitter account that VTV’s decision of dropping his show was actually imposed by a “higher political level”. It’s not so hard to figure out what it was.

But it looks like that wasn’t an isolated case after all: Chavista political analyst Heiber Barreto has denounced that at least ten radio and TV programs which he considers as “loyal critics of the Revolution” have been recently dropped by State Media and other private outlets.

Two of those shows were hosted by another Chavista political analyst Nicmer Evans. He wrote a response in Aporrea, where he called out State Media as “hypocrite”.

The official reaction from both State Radio and TV has been quite different: in the case of Venezuelan National Radio (RNV), its current head admitted months ago that changes are being made in order to make its programming “more dynamic”. Meanwhile, VTV has now replaced its president Gustavo Arreaza, who was in charge for just four months. There has been complaints in Chavista circles about a decline in the channel’s content.

Some of the programs dropped were broadcasted on Canal I, the TV channel owned by well-known crony businessman Wilmer Ruperti. Remember when that channel was heavily promoted years ago as an alternative to Globovision? No? Me neither. In fact, by looking to its latest offering of shows, looks like they’re pretending that didn’t happen.

As Quico has described, while the public spotlight is on Globovision (just like it was on RCTV years ago), the communicational hegemony keeps advancing on multiple fronts faster than ever, to the point that even State media itself is not safe.

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  1. Infighting is a welcome development. The question is whether the government has the ability to suppress the internal dissent and still stay coherent. Given their management track record i kind of doubt it.
    This may be obvious but there is no Revolution, this is a kleptocracy in which the money has run out. That is very bad news for the government.

  2. Chavez had special ability to walk a fine line between dictatorship and apparent democracy that made it very difficult to peg his regime in one place or other for external observers and gave good arguments to his supporters to counter the negative allegations. This helped fuel polarization since staying in the fence seemed impossible and eventually people would make up their minds about how to view to government.

    His successors apparently cannot handle that duality and thus are forced to paint things in a more definite color. Thus simplifying things in the minds of everybody. With the charisma gone and the ambiguity disappearing it’s inevitable that more people will see them for what they are, a bunch of lying, inept, corrupt, criminals trying to hang to power to avoid facing justice.

  3. amieres: His successors apparently cannot handle that duality and thus are forced to paint things in a more definite color.

    Really? ISTM that the Chavernment is maintaining the pretence of democracy while operating as a de facto dictatorship quite successfully, The destruction of independent channels of communication proceeds apace, with very little public or world notice. It’s being done by unobvious methods.

    The frog is being slowly boiled. Yes, the hot water is somewhat more obvious than it was under Chavez, but not enough to matter.

    • “The destruction of independent channels of communication proceeds apace”

      That’s my point, with Chavez some would be kept alive for the sake of keeping the facade. Now with these guys try and find an openly opposition TV channel or radio station and you can’t. No more appearances, nobody is fooled anymore is a dictatorship and nothing more. I think the frog is cooked, time to serve it.

  4. I think that the complaint of the people like Alberto Nolia and the other fired journalists is disingenuous. Chavismo has developed an strategy to shut down any dissent from journalist and media who are not politically aligned to the government. This is what is appalling, that the government is uses its power to brake the law and prosecute dissent and gut freedom of expression. This is a fact that this people has witnessed and in many cheered. Now when it happens to them is outrageous. It is only ok to dissent and criticize when you are a chavista?

  5. Aside from what these dissident voices within Chavismo reveal of the increasing fragility of the regime, I am gratified that despite 14 years of hoarse deafening cheering inside the Chavista ranks , there are still some who have the honesty and courage to denounce the govts failures and abuses , even if afterwards they are harrased for it !!


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