Silencing Venevisión and Televen, which within the constraints of Venezuela’s authoritarian democracy try to give some space in their newscasts to opposition politicians, would turn Venezuela into a totalitarian state with no independent media.
Globovisión, the only anti-Chávez television network, has been sold to reported government cronies after suffering heavy government fines for its coverage. The independent RCTV television network was forced off the air by Chávez in 2007.
“The government of Venezuela should not limit citizens’ rights to freely express their views and assemble peacefully in response to the disputed presidential election,’’ the Human Rights Watch advocacy group says. “It should respect freedom of the press, and all violent incidents should be subject to prompt investigations.”
My opinion: Maduro is off to a very bad start. With the highest inflation rate in Latin America, crumbling roads and bridges, shortages of sugar, cooking oil and other essential foodstuffs, frequent electricity outages because of poor maintenance of existing utilities, record crime rates, and about half the population believing that he stole the elections, Maduro badly needs to pacify the country.
Much like Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, or Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos did after winning recent elections by much more comfortable margins, Maduro should invite leading government critics to join his cabinet, and build bridges with the opposition to get the economy back on its feet.
If Maduro has any brains, and democratic instincts, he will do that. But so far, he has shown he has neither — just a penchant for imposing his will through brute force and that may lead to his undoing.