Friday, February 16, 2007

You be the judge 

The last couple of days the Venezuelan opposition has been squealing about the fact that the government has decided to fine the all anti-Chavez all the time newspaper, Tal Cual,and its editor, Teodoro Petkoff, for an editorial that it published last year.

The fine is because the saracastic article pretended to adress Chavez's young daughter who Chavez had brought up on his TV show, Alo Presidente, in the context of changing the national shield. The Tal Cual article made a bunch of joking requests of the little girl under the premise that she is the only one Chavez listens to. Or court decided this violated laws protecting the privacy of children and issued a fine.

Having been fined a few thousand dollars this newspaper is now screaming repression (even though they attack Chavez in the most vile terms day in and day out - portraying him as Hitler just the other day for example). Now some of the opposition have even taken to asking others to contribute money to help pay the fines! Or more likely, help pay for this advertisement in today's Ultimas Noticias where they reprint the original article and ask the reader to decide if it deserved being fined:

Reading this article, it is hard to decide. This article is typical of the arrogance of Tal Cual. Can you imagine any paper in the U.S. adressing Bush's daughters in this fashion? Not likely. Further it is full of the usual opposition clap-trap. For example, it says at one point that we know there are fewer and fewer opposition supporters because "government statistics" say so. Ahh, not really. I think we know it because their precentage of the vote keeps going down in succesive elections.

Does this merrit a fine? Probably not in my book. Then again, I didn't think the CBS should have been fined over Janet Jacksons wardwrobe malfunction. Nor did I think Judith Miller should have spent weeks in prison just for refusing to give up sources. [Of course, Tal Cual and Petkoff probably should be fined big time for saying that the sniper on April 11, 2002 were controlled by Carcas mayor Freddy Bernal, something they've never presented evidence on.]

Still, I'm sure Tal Cual will be able to muddle through, pay the fine, and go about their way, writing their daily drivel. After all, they're rich. Not quite sure how, but Petkoff, a former guerilla, then a congressmen, and later a government minister somehow got enough money to buy a newspaper. Now, maybe that is something someone should look into in the interest of combating corruption.


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