Internet censorship and repression in Venezuela

In the last few days the chavista regime in Venezuela censored the Colombian news channel NTN24. CNN reporter Karl Penhaul and his crew were assaulted by police in Caracas for, basically, doing their job. Caracas Press Club and Instituto Sociedad y Prensa have reported various attacks on journalists in the last few days. Images and videos of the brutality unleashed on protesters uploaded to Twitter have reportedly been censored. Yesterday, President Maduro threatened to kick CNN out of the country.

While the above will almost certainly be justified by the regime for flaming the fire, I would like to remind Venezuela observers that this blog, which deals almost exclusively with corruption and it's written mainly in English, has been censored since 16 Jan 2014. And there's no point in even bringing up the case of RCTV, take over of dozens radio stations, how Globovision was choked with tax investigations and other measures until a group of Boligarchs bought it, how the regime has starved critical newspapers of foreign currency so that paper can't be imported, or the little known acquisition of Venezuela's largest newspaper conglomerate (Cadena Capriles) by proxies of chavista governor Tareck el Aissami.

I heard at a CSIS event the other day from a bearded Chilean gentleman that since a few critical opeds are still printed in El Universal that proves that there's still freedom of the press in Venezuela. While the opinion, totally discredited, of communist nostalgics is heard in free societies, Venezuelans are seeing a creeping curtain of censorship from a regime desperate to hide the brutal repression meted out to protesters and innocent civilians. Tachira state, in the border with Colombia and where protests started due to a rape attempt on a student, has no internet access. Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and two battalions have been deployed to further repression.

Events in Venezuela are happening at a speed that makes impossible for traditional media to keep tabs. Protests are not taking place only in Caracas, the entire country is up against chavismo. Opposition leaders have called for a demonstration tomorrow, which is likely to turn into hundreds of thousands of people across the country taking to the streets to support students protests and to decry the deaths, injured, torture and the horrible economic situation.

The best way of keeping abreast with what's happening is through Twitter. You can follow me @alekboyd and other bloggers and colleagues to get the latest. In this dire hour what we need and expect from democrats around the world is solidarity, and help to overcome censorship by retweeting news coming out of our country.