The Government Blocks El Pitazo for a Third Time

Several Venezuelan digital news outlets have been under serious cyber-attacks recently and news site El Pitazo was blocked for the third time in a year. Nobody explains the reasons behind the decision.

In March of last year, I reported about a series of targeted DDoS attacks against several Venezuelan digital news sites, including El Pitazo. More than a year later, things have not improved: Crónica Uno and just suffered similar attacks and, in the specific case of El Pitazo, the situation has worsened.

For the third time in 11 months, El Pitazo is being blocked with no explanation offered.

Caracas Chronicles talked with El Pitazo director César Batiz, who told us how the continuous blocking has taken place so far: was first blocked on September 8 of last year by ABA Cantv and Digitel, joined later by fellow ISP Movistar on November 1. At the time, El Pitazo advised its users to avoid the blocking, but as time passed, its traffic numbers were seriously affected, so the site was forced to change its web address.

Last January 15, El Pitazo assumed a new URL, Three months later, that site was blocked as well (no explanations given), so El Pitazo immediately activated another URL ( Before the most recent URL blocking, which extends now to Inter and SuperCable, El Pitazo was victim of cyber-attacks too.

For the third time in 11 months, El Pitazo is being blocked with no explanation offered.

Which bring us to the question: Why is El Pitazo being subject to this blockade?

“I can guess, but I have no certainty with this lack of answers,” Batiz told CC.

It’s possible that publishing uncomfortable stories for the government is behind it all; before the last block, El Pitazo reported a high-profile corruption case involving PDVSA.

Internet companies are not giving any information and if you think of no other culprit than CONATEL, sorry to disappoint you (at least officially): No administrative procedure or written requests (like the case of journalist Damian Prat) has been made against the site.

The National Assembly’s Media Committee has faced the same problem: When investigating the blocking of several websites, they asked local ISPs to respond, getting nothing as an answer.

This isn’t happening in a vacuum: Digital news outlets that don’t commune with the hegemony face harassment both in the internet and in the real world. Just see the case of Armando.Info as a window into the future; not only has it suffered cyber-attacks, but also huge legal pressure.

At least, there’s solidarity: As El Pitazo remains blocked, other outlets have posted their full interview with former Oil Minister/PDVSA chairman Rafael Ramirez.