Will De Lima's Ouster Stop the Rot at Últimas Noticias?

Chairmen come and go, but owners remain invisible

The reported firing of former Anzoategui State Governor David DeLima as chairman of Grupo Últimas Noticias (fomerly known as Cadena Capriles) after only three months on the job looks like an extraordinary measure to contain a situation that’s spinning out of control

In recent weeks, several journalists have left the newspaper in response to the swift change in its editorial line: from major articles being dropped at the last minute to unilateral headline changes by management.

The atmosphere described in the explosive open letter published by Tamoa Calzadilla weeks ago continued to deteriorated. De Lima tried to present himself as measured, but he ended up as a fierce militant instead.

Recently, Grupo Últimas Noticias got into a beef with another local newspaper group, Leocenis Garcia’s 6to. Poder: GÚN was handling the publication of 6to. Poder’s papers, but in early May they strongly denounced that De Lima withheld the publishing of its weekly paper El Comercio and was “threatening and blackmailing the group”.

Últimas Noticias responded in a statement that 6to. Poder owed them a bunch of money and they therefore couldn’t keep publishing their papers. They strognly rejected 6to. Poder’s allegations. Leocenis Garcia stood by his allegations against De Lima. He also hinted that Últimas Noticias had seen a big drop in its sales in the last twelve months.

If it’s finally confirmed that De Lima was fired from GÚN, that would lend credence to some of the speculations around the state of this newspaper group, but by reading about his alleged replacement (a PSUV apparatchik named Héctor Dávila) it seems that HegemonCorp (private media outlets allied with the communicational hegemony) will go on with its plans. After all, they’ve been benefitting big time in the official allocations of currency in the last four months.

So, if I have to answer the question in the headline, I gotta say… Probably not.