Hugo Chavez has tightened control over the Venezuelan media with the arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga in an airport today. Zuloaga is the owner of Globovision, the only remaining anti-Chavez channel operating since RCTV was booted from Venezuelan airwaves in 2007. The crime of Zuloaga? He made remarks “offensive to the President” when he said that Chavez was suppressing free speech at an inter-Caribbean press meeting recently. I guess this pretty much proves those remarks correct.
These aren’t the only arrests made in recent days. Opposition politicians Wilmer Azuaje and Oswaldo Alvarez Paz have also both been detained, Azuaje for an unspecified crime and Alvarez Paz for “conspiracy” and “spreading false information” after he remarked that Venezuela has become a haven for drug traffickers on a Globovision interview.
There can be no more denial that Hugo Chavez is a jack-booted thug dictator who cares only for his own power. His stated willingness to jump into the recent crisis in Honduras with military force shows that if he continues to consolidate his power, he will become a greater threat to the stability of South America.
I wonder what Sean Penn has to say about this? After all, Penn is the one who wrote an impassioned defense in Salon of Chavez reminiscent more of a lovesick admirer than a rational observer of reality. He might actually agree with Chavez after saying that journalists who call him a dictator should be jailed:
Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.
Well, Mr. Penn, I suppose your wishes have been granted. I guess I’m safe since I’m not a journalist, but I wonder if Sean Penn wouldn’t mind to see me jailed anyway. And if I lived in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, there’s little doubt that they’d come for me eventually. Anyone who continues to support this man is insane – and Hollywood apparently has a few types who can supply enough detachment from reality to do so.
Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice