Venezuelans are accusing the government of attacking freedom of expression. Certainly, it’s not the first time. The abuse, however, reaches an all time low this year. The government is manipulating information in its favor. Even the smallest disagreement is grounds for legal action.
Freedom of Expression Denied to Private Media
The pressure facing the private media is incredible. The government publicly criticizes private media all the time. The government is threatening them for revealing too much information. This is information that the government does not want heard. The government has abused Journalists in this sector. The most common abuse is the denial of passport renewal or imprisonment.
Revealing unfavorable information about the government has become a terrible risk. The law of incitement to hatred was approved last year in the self-called “National Constituent Assembly.” This law is manipulated at the convenience of the government. They can accuse anyone for practically anything.
What Denying Freedom of Expression Looks Like
This is an example of the total lack of freedom of expression in Venezuela. Take the case of the Fire Department of the state of Mérida. They posted a video on social media the government did not take kindly to. It supposedly portrayed a donkey walking around the facilities of the station. The donkey acted as president, inspecting the fire station.
Of course, the response from President Maduro was immediate. In less than a week the two officials in the video were arrested. They were subject under the law to punishment for the crime of “incitement to hatred.” Currently, their sentencing is 20 years of jail. Just for posting a video.
There is also the case of Deputy Requesens. Likewise, the government accused him of an attack against Nicolás Maduro. Despite the lack of evidence for over a month now he has not been allowed visits from family. He can’t even contact his lawyer.
A Country Longing for Freedom
Venezuelans love their country and they hope to one day be able to express themselves without fear. They are staying strong even while they are suffering from the abuse of power.It seems not even a controlling government can break the spirits of the good people of Venezuela.