Saturday, June 02, 2007

Venezuela Simmering

It's hard to make out the details, but something important seems to be happening in Caracas. Hugo Chavez has shut down a television station and the station has responded by switching to YouTube. Looks like an end run around a political system that has not learned that due process is a vital part of any free society.

Radio Caracas Television, the station silenced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has found a way to continue its daily broadcasts -- on YouTube, the popular video Web site.

Although the station is officially off the air, CNN's Harris Whitbeck said its news department continues to operate on reduced staffing, and the three daily hour-long installments of the newscast "El Observador" are uploaded onto YouTube by RCTV's Web department.

In addition, RCTV's Colombia-based affiliate, Caracol, has agreed to transmit the evening installment of "El Observador" over its international signal. The program, which will run at midnight, could reach about 800,000 people in Venezuela.

Although this is drastically reduced from RCTV's previous audience, its continued presence is a sign of hope for the staff.

"We're just doing our job as journalists," said an employee of RCTV. "As long as somebody is seeing us, we consider what we are doing to be valid."

The You Tube channel is up and running, but not in English. Maybe someone will translate.

During last night's surfing I came upon an Iranian blog entry (!!) forwarding a post from Spanish Pundit (!!!) about some university students in Caracas being detained by force.
Seems like a visit from the UD Secretary of State may be turning the situation around, but it's hard to tell.

Wish I could understand something other than English.
At least I'm not handicapped by Danish...

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