Three Venezuelan press associations have declared the country a “disaster zone” for the practice of journalism, while denouncing “government persecution” of the media. The National Journalists College, the National Press Workers Union and the Graphic Reporters Circle issued a communique in which they said “this is a time to exercise our citizenship with dignity.”
“We do not believe in conspiracy agendas nor do we believe that fratricidal clashes are necessary to make our dreams come true,” something for which the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blamed two journalists in the last week of January.
The associations expressed “total solidarity ” for the two journalists in question: Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Laureano Marquez. The communique also criticized Venezuela’s Communication ministry for admonishing the Caracas daily Tal Cual. The daily was reprimanded for the humorous article by columnist Marquez. Using photos of street incidents of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and others, Marquez presents an imaginary post-Chavez nation torn in violence.
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