Following their general rejection at the polls by the people, opposition leaders are mounting attacks against alternative and community media outlets in regions where they won elections, according to reports.
Venezuela’s Public Ministry ordered an investigation to be opened into violent acts committed against radio stations in municipalities of Mérida state, in the Andes region, and in the Barinas state, in the Llanos region.
1) #DESIGNADOS Fiscal 15 d Barinas y Fiscal 16 d Mérida para investigar d oficio los asaltos -por vía d turbas violentas- d emisoras #comunitarias del Municipio Zamora/Barinas, además d los Municipios Arzobizpo Chacón y Andrés Bello/ Mérida… los agresores causaron graves daños
— Tarek William Saab (@TarekWiliamSaab) November 25, 2021
The prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, explained that the offenders cut cables of the electric power supply to community radio stations and damaged transmission booths. Threats against the physical person of the directors of these radios were also reported. In one case these threats were issued in the presence of minors.
Ya son tres Medios Alternativos y Comunitarios (MAC) atacados por la derecha que está asumiendo el poder en alcaldías:
➡️Radio Explosiva, en Sta. Bárbara de Barinas
➡️ Radio Las Azulita, en Mérida
➡️Radio Positiva, en Aragua@TarekWiliamSaab #24Nov #RespetoALosMAC pic.twitter.com/2fUooZuKgr
— Radio La Voz de Guaicaipuro 102.9 FM (@RadioLVG_) November 24, 2021
These types of attacks bring to mind events such as those promoted by right-wing groups that participated in the so-called guarimbas of 2003 and 2014, violent disruptive actions under the direction of Leopoldo López, now a fugitive from justice, and his political group Popular Will, among others.
Similarly, when the right-wing perpetrated widespread sabotage against the nation’s largest publicly owned company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in 2002-03, fascist groups also attacked community radio stations.
Violence in Barinas
The Minister for Information and Communication, Freddy Ñáñez, joined in the repudiation of these hostile acts against alternative radio stations and television channels in towns that are now controlled by right-wing local or state governments.
For example, as the Minister of Communication and Information pointed out, in Santa Bárbara de Barinas another one of these fascist attacks took place. For this reason, Nanez denounced that Mayor Nelson García Mora, drunk with power, forcibly silenced Radio Comunitaria Explosiva 88.7 FM.
“Know that we will ensure respect for freedom of expression and the integrity of popular communicators,” Ñáñez wrote on Twitter.
¿Por qué será que cuando la derecha llega al poder lo primero que hace es perseguir a las radios comunitarias y a los medios alternativos? Señora alcaldesa María Villasmil empieza ud con muy mal pie. No le vamos permitir un atropello más contra la libertad de expresión.
— Alfred Nazareth (@luchaalmada) November 25, 2021
Spokespersons for the government in the municipalities and states where the opposition won warned about the danger that fascist groups may initiate an escalation of violence. Spokespeople recalled that on previous occasions these groups have tried to attack community media outlets and community spaces that are emblematic or important to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.
Featured image: Community radio studio. Photo by MIPPCI.
(RedRadioVE) by José Manuel Blanco Díaz
Translation: Orinoco Tribune