The latest casualty in the ongoing newsprint crisis is, surprisingly, one of the hegemony’s main newspapers: Diario VEA. In Monday’s edition (seen the photo), they informed their readers that they would probably stop printing because of the shortage. They finally could keep publishing for now thanks to the leftovers of newsprint from previous editions.
VEA’s problem isn’t in this case CADIVI’s fault. Its request for currency to buy newsprint in Canada was approved last September, but the ship with the supplies hasn’t come here yet.
The interesting part is that Diario VEA has been in this kind of situation before. In May 2010, the paper’s late founder and Director Guillermo Garcia Ponce complained in an editorial about the slow process of getting currency from CADIVI, and how VEA was able back then to keep funtioning thanks to the solidarity of fellow official newspaper Correo del Orinoco.
Meanwhile, papers are now leaving CADIVI behind and starting to try their luck with using the SICAD auction system to obtain currency. El Nacional (one of Venezuela’s main papers) did that last week, only to be rejected without explanation. That hasn’t stopped other newspapers like Barquisimeto’s El Impulso from attempting this way as well.
Meanwhile, workers of newspapers in Caracas, Guayana and Carabobo are taking their protest to the streets. The newsprint shortage problem, they remind us, isn’t just about free speech, but also about the fact that jobs could be at stake. Lots of jobs.
UPDATE: There was a meeting yesterday between the Venezuelan Newspapers Chamber (Bloque de Prensa Venezolano) and the Media Commission of the National Assembly to discuss the issue. And the solution is… creating a new post to deal with the problem. Because the ills of bureaucracy are cured… with more bureaucracy?