One of the tactics the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro has inherited from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez era is the use of democratic and capitalist institutions and procedures against democracy and free enterprise. This mendacious use of the tools of the system they are trying to dismantle is part of the ideological charade of pretending to be a democracy that respects freedom of speech and political participation.
And the government of Venezuela has struck again, this time against the opposition TV news broadcast called Globovisión. But instead of shutting it down like they did with RCTV on 2007, the government used some proteges, Raúl Gorrín, Juan Domingo Cordero, and Gustavo Perdomo, to buy it and change its critical editorial line, something akin to what Michael Corleone did to Moe Green in The Godfather. With this move the last remaining space for criticizing the government is over.
What seems to be a normal transaction between private shareholders has been unmasked by Nicolás Maduro himself, who announced he will be meeting with the new board of directors, something Chávez never did when it was a steadfast opposition TV broadcast. Why now? Inevitably we have reasons to doubt the good intentions of Maduro, whose party's history includes attacks on freedom of press, many frontal assaults against Globovisión in the past, and the nefarious shutdown of RCTV on 2007. Maybe the de facto president is looking forward to impart official instructions on the station's new and convenient editorial line.
Changes at Globovisión started taking place on day one. First, the channel announced it will not transmit any live broadcast from opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski, hence reducing the impact of his declarations, and maybe even censuring him if his speeches are perceived as dangerous to the security of the regime. Judging by our experience with this autocratic government, there is no reason to believe that they will not do it.
Moreover, the new directors already started laying off some critical personnel, like Kiko Bautista early this week, prompting his colleagues Carla Angola and Luis Flores to quit their jobs. The channel at once lost three of the most outspoken anti-government journalists.
This marks the end of the last opposition broadcast in Venezuela, officially setting the beginning of an era where the government has a complete monopoly of information, save the internet. With Henrique Capriles denouncing the electoral fraud of last April, and with strong evidence supporting his case, Nicolás Maduro can no longer be considered the legitimate president of Venezuela. When the government finds itself in a position of such a precarious legitimacy, it uses force and deception in order to cover the empty spots left behind when it kidnapped Venezuela's democratic institutions.