Friday, June 29, 2007

Nobody cried for Lazaro Candal 

Flanker: During the cry fest of Sunday May 27th 2007, RCTV made special segments regarding its past history, no doubt trying to instill a sense of loss in the audience, noticeably absent from this spectacle was a legendary figure in the history of Venezuelan media Lazaro "papaito" Candal.

It might seem odd how a futbol broadcaster can be so recognizable, famous, and loved in a Baseball nation, but you see every four summers Venezuela becomes one of the most rabid futbol nations on earth. Since our national team is historically deplorable (not a single WC berth) we are forced to back other squads, some back their euro roots, others back our regional brothers, but nearly all of us agreed that Papaito was our only football related celebrity, with a striking galician accent and the uncanny ability to turn the dullest game imaginable into a spectacle worth watching... but then the cup always ends and his presence temporarily is forgotten.

It was during said break that he was fired from RCTV for simply expressing his opinion on the corporate world. He made the slightest criticizism imaginable regarding corporate sponsorship, and said corporation demanded RCTV fire him, which they did in a rather humiliating way. Nobody batted for him, not the SIP, not RSF, not his coworkers, not the media. He decided to retire after doing a few games for MeridianoTV during Germany 06. Ending on a bitter note his whole career.

That said two things changed his mind, the first is obvious, this year Venezuela hosts what promises (and so far has delivered) to be the best Copa America ever. The other event was as dramatic, RCTV was rightfully denied public subsidies and TVes became the "official" channel of the Copa taking RCTV's place on VHF 2 and 3. The first thing TVes did was attempt to rehire papaito. Which he accepted, not because he was a chavista, or because he is vengeful, but for the simple reason that TVes showed him the respect he rightfully deserves. Not surprisingly the reaction was expected, the rabid opposition attacked him and his family in Spain (thankfully only verbal attacks for now). He brushes it aside, for even though he will not admit it, he had the last laugh.


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