Chávez refuses to renew licence of Venezuelan opposition TV
Friday, December 29th, 2006

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said yesterday that the licence of opposition television channel RCTV would not be renewed, giving ammunition to critics who say he is muzzling opponents to build a one-party state. Chávez has had a long-running battle with opposition television channels, RCTV, Venevision and Globovision, which he labels “horsemen of the apocalypse” and “Trojan horses,” accusing them of backing a bungled 2002 coup against him.

“This coup-plotting television channel will not be getting its licence renewed,” the anti-US leader, dressed in his paratrooper officer’s fatigues, told soldiers in his Christmas message to the armed forces. Chávez said the licence would expire in March. The channel was not immediately available to comment but under presidential pressure in the past, RCTV has told local media its licence does not need renewal until 2019.

Chávez, who has held power since 1999, won a landslide reelection earlier this month. He is now molding the various parties that form his government into a single party, sparking charges that he wants Venezuela to follow the model of his mentor President Fidel Castro in Cuba, where opposition and the press were crushed.Chávez insists he will always accept opposition parties and will stand down if he loses an election. He says opposition television networks exceeded critical journalism.

(Source: Reuters)