Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking for newspapers

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Delta Amacuro State’s Notidiario is the latest victim of the newsprint shortage crisis.

As another local newspaper has stopped printing for the time being, and many others undergo severe changes to stretch out their reserves, the newsprint shortage continues unabated.

On Tuesday, the National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP) held another protest in front of the offices of CADIVI (now called the National Center for Foreign Commerce). The public demonstration was also supported by journalists and other sectors of Venezuelan society.

Meanwhile, it looks like the SICAD alternative is a no-go anymore for local newspapers: Oil Minister/PDVSA President/Economical VP (yes, he has three governement posts) Rafael Ramírez left out this sector from future SICAD auctions, and instead pointed to a new plan by the Information and Communication Ministry (MinCI) to provide newsprint to small papers.

This plan involves the Alfredo Maneiro Editorial Complex (which runs official papers Correo del Orinoco and Ciudad CCS), which will provide regional papers with newsprint. Of course, the devil is in the details and the thing is we don’t have much info on that. In a curious note, the CEAM forgot to help its fellow official newspaper Diario VEA. I wonder why…

But looks like the plan won’t be in MinCI’s hands anymore: Until recently, former Trujillo State Governor Hugo Cabezas was in charge of the CEAM, but he got promoted as Presidency Minister weeks ago (sort-of a Chief of Staff position). As he took control of the CEAM along with him to his new post, he will be then the new “newsprint czar”.

With the newsprint shortage in the spotlight, the National Assembly is conducting an investigation on State paper company Pulpaca’s newsprint factory in Anzoategui State, which was supposed to be the first one of its kind in Venezuela. It was supposed to begin operations in 2010, but as of 2014 it’s still not operational. The excuses given to explain the delays are surpassed by the millions and millions of dollars given out by the AN over the years.

But the Venezuelan press could face a new problem: Nicolas Maduro believes that newspapers are trying to derail his “pacification plan” (weird given that first, the plan hasn’t been unveiled yet and two, most people have no idea what’s actually in it). Therefore, he will promote brand new legislation to fight what he calls “press sensationalism”.

Yeah… because that’s the real problem: Not the crimes themselves, but the coverage of those crimes. GENIUS!

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