Another local paper bites the dust

This was the frontpage of the last printed edition for Barinas newspaper De Frente.

Barinas newspaper De Frente is the latest casualty of the lack of newsprint which is affecting many regional papers in Venezuela.

As an extra wrinkle, they aren’t even opposition: they’re pro-government! (I guess being generally chavista isn’t good enough these days: you gotta be run directly by SIBCI.)

De Frente’s director Oscar Palacios said that because of the lack of funding, the paper’s printed edition is on hold indefinitely. De Frente will continue on its digital edition.

Other Barinas newspapers made changes to save newsprint, but they’re only safe until December.

Last week, the Chamber of Regional Newspapers (CMR) met with the National Assembly’s Commission on Media. The solution agreed for now is a “technical roundtable” between the papers and government entities like CADIVI, SENIAT or Bolipuertos. Good luck with that.

But that’s no problem for the communicational hegemony: The day before such meeting, State media (including newspaper Correo del Orinoco), received its second additional credit in two months. Not just that, apparently some “cultural foundations” have more than enough money to cover Caracas wall-to-wall with hate propaganda posters in no time.

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  1. In case anyone is expecting a solution from the government, don’t hold your breath. Rafael Ramírez says that, in order to solve the economic imbalances “this revolution needs additional 50 years of government.”

    I don’t think most of us can wait that long.

    • once a chavista friend, when I told her that the 12 years of chavez where enough and that they shouldn’t be still be blaming the 4th republic for everything, she told me to put 40yr vs 12 in a scale… So they’ll still be blaming the cuarta for the next 26 years

      • You can go like this:
        Chávez’s idol was deposed in 1958. From 1958 to 1972 we have 14 years.
        Do you believe life improved in that period? For how much?
        In that period of time, literacy went from 65.2 to 77.1 or almost 12%. Right now it has gone up less than 2%, even if a lot of illiterate were dying out.
        Murder rate? I don’t have figures for 1961 but the murder rate must have been less than 10 x 100 000 in 1971, it was 19 x 100 000 in 1998…they managed to triple it since then.
        And then do something: show that person a chart of normalized oil prices for several decades.

  2. Gustavo — thanks for all the very informative, well-written posts. It can’t be easy to be the guy tasked with sending dispatches from the apocalypse.

  3. Here is a reminder of how control of newsprint was used in Allende’s Chile:

    Frustrated by his inability to silence his most prominent opposition, Allende next attacked the newspaper industry as a whole. In order to gain economic control over the press, Allende’s government sought to nationalize the newspaper industry (Sobel, 1981). During this period in Chile’s media history, only one company produced newsprint for all the outlets in Chile: the Paper and Carton Manufacturing Company owned by Arturo Alessandri (Sobel, 1981). Alessandri, Allende’s former political opponent, blocked Allende’s attempt to control the country’s paper supply. This action caused Allende to respond by raising the prices of raw paper supplies while freezing the prices of finished paper goods, an obvious attempt to bankrupt the company (Sobel, 1981).

    And in ef=””>Evita III’s ARgentina

    What’s the oldest trick in the dictator’s handbook? Why, to seize the newsprint. Fresh from a big electoral win, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez has pulled that hoary stunt, topping even Hugo Chavez.

    By a vote of 41-26, Argentina’s Senate passed a law to nationalize all newsprint, of course in “the national interest.”

    In Argentina, a nation that still avidly reads newspapers and magazines, that’s a lot of power. It effectively hands the government a monopoly on newsprint — since only one newsprint plant, Papel Prensa, remains.

    By coincidence, it’s owned by La Nacion and Clarin, two media groups Fernandez has pursued for years.

    If you don’t have newsprint, you can’t print.

  4. I love the way Aporrea (Alberto Nolia) has blamed the lack of papel periodico on the MUD AND the chavistas corruptos:

    “Funcionarios de alto nivel, corruptos e incompetentes, son responsables de la gravísima crisis que provocará el cierre de todos los periódicos chavistas. Simplemente no hay papel para ellos. Los medios escuálidos tienen enorme reservas de bobinas, con toneladas y toneladas del más importante insumo para impresos. Tienen tanto y recibieron tanto dólar para importar, que venden a precio de oro a las pequeñas y medianas publicaciones, pero sólo a las opositoras. Las chavistas desaparecen por dos vías: las medianas, que tienen su propia rotativa, se quedan sin papel. Las pequeñas, que dependen de que terceros les impriman, no pueden pagar los brutales aumentos de precios que les aplican, con la excusa de la escasez. Cuesta creer que esta crisis, que explota a semanas de las cruciales elecciones municipales, sea sólo fruto de la corrupción e incompetencia. Lo único que está claro es que jamás se sabrá quién fue el ladrón, inepto y/o traidor que provocó la desaparición del papel periódico y, por supuesto, que no dará con sus huesos en la cárcel; probablemente lo premiarán con un mejor cargo.”

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