OVERTHROW HUGO CHAVEZ.!!!!
CARACAS- President Hugo Chavez's clampdown on opposition television stations widened Monday as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators protesting what they called an attack on free speech.
Venezuela levied charges against US cable network CNN for linking Chavez to Al-Qaeda terror network headed by Osama bin Laden. The move came just hours after the shutting-down of the country's oldest television station, the openly anti-government Radio Caracas Television network.
The government also accused Venezuelan TV network Globovision of encouraging any would-be assassins of the president.
Information Minister William Lara showed at a news conference what he said was CNN footage of Chavez juxtaposed with images of an Al-Qaeda leader.
"CNN broadcast a lie which linked President Chavez to violence and murder," Lara said.
In addition, CNN aired a story about the Venezuelan protests using images taken from an unrelated story in Mexico, Lara said.
CNN issued a statement late Monday saying they "strongly deny" being "engaged in a campaign to discredit or attack Venezuela."
The news network acknowledged a video mix-up, and "aired a detailed correction and expressed regret for the involuntary error."
Regarding the Al-Qaeda leader, the network said that "unrelated news stories can be juxtaposed in a given program segment just as a newspaper page or a news web site may have unconnected stories adjacent to each other."
The Venezuelan government also filed charges against local network Globovision, alleging it indirectly encouraged Chavez's murder by airing footage of the 1981 assassination attempt on the late pope John Paul II.
"In my view, this television network, in this specific part of its programming, committed the offense of incitement to assassination, against the Venezuelan head of state," Lara said.
The charges came amid protests against Chavez's shutdown of RCTV, a privately-owned broadcaster of popular comedy and drama shows that was boldly critical of Chavez.
After 54 years on the air, RCTV went dark at midnight Sunday after the government refused to renew its license. It was promptly replaced by TVes, a state-backed station which began broadcasting cultural shows.
On Monday several people were injured as police in Caracas fired rubber bullets and tear gas to put down a demonstration against the RCTV shutdown, following the fifth straight day of protests.
A policeman's leg was broken in the fracas, a police official said.
RCTV was replaced by TVes, a state-backed "socialist" station which opened with cultural shows. Chavez supporters held a huge, night-to-dawn public party outside the network studios to celebrate the birth of the new "socialist television" and the end of the bitterly anti-Chavez media outlet.
TVes president Lil Rodriguez said the move reflected "our sovereignty."
The government will now control two of the four nationwide broadcasters in Venezuela, one of them state-owned VTV.
In an interview with VTV, Interior Minister Pedro Carreno accused the opposition of mounting a plot against the government, devised by "the empire," a term often used to describe the United States.
He also accused demonstrators of trying "to develop a plan for violence in the country," and added: "The government also has its plan. And it is working."
However, the RCTV closure brought sweeping denunciations from inside Venezuela and out.
One of the country's leading dailies, El Nacional, denounced it as "end of pluralism in Venezuela," and slammed the government's growing "information monopoly."
The archbishop of the city of Merida, Baltasar Porras Cardoso, compared Chavez to Hitler, Mussolini and Cuban leader Fidel Castro who is a close friend of the left-wing Venezuelan president.
"This is the first time in eight years (of Chavez as president) that the university students hold a massive protest," said Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader and neighborhood mayor.
The EU's German presidency said it worried Venezuela let the network's broadcast license expire "without holding an open competition" for a successor station.
The media rights group Reporters Without Borders said the move was "a serious violation of freedom of expression and a major setback to democracy and pluralism."
RCTV's former owner, Marcel Granier, said Chavez was driven by "a megalomaniacal desire to establish a totalitarian dictatorship" in an interview with US-based Univision television.
The US Senate last week unanimously approved a resolution condemning the move.
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So now it's our fault that Idiot pulled the plug his own tv stations. And our fault because they are rioting. Where is Harry Belefonte, and Danny Glover? Shouldnt they be over there in the middle of this yelling "It's all America's Fault"? Overthrow this piece of horse manure.
Labels: Hugo Chavez