Gagging the Snail


Just minutes before midnight last night, Colombian TV channel Caracol Internacional was taken off the Venezuelan cable and satellite carriers by orders of regulator CONATEL.

The number of international channels the hegemony has forced off of pay TV grids this year alone has reached four, joining CNN en Español, fellow Colombian channel El Tiempo TV and Argentinean news channel Todo Noticias (TN).

For months, there were constant rumors about the fate of Caracol, given its deep coverage of the recent wave of protests and the overall crisis (which has a serious impact on Colombia).

But in the last few hours, those rumors became more credible, specially after Nicolás Maduro attacked Juan Manuel Santos over having offered asylum to deposed Prosecutor General, Luisa Ortega Díaz. Parallel Prosecutor General Tarek William Saab joined in the chorus, calling Colombia an “epicenter of the international conspiracy against Venezuela.”

President Santos condemned CONATEL’s action as “another demonstration of a regime that doesn’t like liberties and is restricting its citizens’.” Across the border, Venezuelan journalists and opposition politicians repudiated Caracol’s exit from Venezuelan TV as well.
Earlier news reports indicated that the signal of RCN TV was also taken off the air, but a recent statement released by the Colombian channel in solidarity with Caracol didn’t mention it. Nevertheless, a recent dispatch by Spanish news agency EFE said that RCN’s signal would be shut soon.

RCN has already had its share of run-ins with Venezuela’s Censorship State as well. Its news channel NTN24 was the first foreign broadcaster kicked off cable grids by CONATEL during the February 2014 protests. And earlier this year, the channel was censored during the broadcast of the controversial TV series about the late Hugo Chavez, “El Comandante.

As a journalist, I offer my full solidarity to Caracol and its audience during these difficult times. Caracol has constantly excelled in its coverage of Venezuela and will be sorely missed — and I’m not just saying that because my mom is a big fan of Padre Linero!

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  1. I’m not just saying that because my mom is a big fan of Padre Linero!

    My immediate reaction was that here was another actor playing a priest, like Father Guido Sarducci of Saturday Night Live fame, but I was mistaken. Padre Linero is a priest, not an actor playing a priest.

    “Gagging the Snail” is a headline that catches one’s attention.

    Speaking of RCTV’s closing, here is the unforgettable cartoon from The Economist. “I want to ensure Venezuelans enjoy a rich variety of television programming.”

  2. The truth is the enemy of despots.
    Watching this crisis worsen every day is heartbreaking.
    I have never been able to grasp how dictators have come to power so many times throughout history. A minority has taken control of the country and the majority seems to have given up the fight.
    Where are the men of Venezuela? Why don’t they pick up arms to defend their families?
    The hope that the regime would cede power peacefully has been proven to be wrong.
    How many more people have to starve, be jailed, tortured or murdered before the people rise up?
    Why aren’t the Venezuelan men willing to risk their lives for their children’s future?
    The regime has successfully oppressed the opposition and definitely outmaneuvered them.
    Is it a cultural difference that I don’t understand?
    How can people allow their freedom, security and human rights to be taken from them with only minimal opposition?
    What will these men tell their grandchildren when they ask what they did to save their family from this suffering? Will they say that they cowered in fear? Will they say that they waited for others to risk their lives?
    Small acts of defiance multiplied by millions of people, can inspire others to take bolder moves.
    How is it that millions of people accept these conditions and do not fight?


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