Venezuelan journalists attacked by government goons!

This happened yesterday morning. Where’s the IAPA? Where are Reporters Without Borders? Why are none of the Free Speechers denouncing this?

Oh wait…the assaulted journos are from a community station that’s not out to unseat a legitimate government. And the government goons? Well, they don’t work for the feds. They work for a certain ratty little mayor in Maracaibo. Hmmm, maybe that’s got something to do with it?

So, here’s the story:

Avila TV reporter Jorge Amorín and cameraman Pedro Quesada show up at a restaurant in Caracas at lunchtime to do their due journalistic diligence and interview Manuel Rosales, a leading anti-Chávez type who also happens to be mayor of Maracaibo (and a former governor of Zulia, and a failed former federal candidate). The interview concerns the wrongful dismissal suit launched by a group of city employees. The mayor is dining clandestinely with some nasty-wasty cronies; one of them is Víctor Ferreres, former president of oppo channel Venevisión, and a leading figure in the failed coup of ’02. So this is shaping up to be a rather interesting moment for the journos, and a rather embarrassing one for Rosales.

But Rosales’s bodyguards, who have been drinking, push and shove the two young journos. The assault is caught on camera (at one point, Amorín is heard telling them to not touch the camera).

After the assault is aired on the news, a further complication arises: Hooded goons (the same guys who attacked the journos the first time, or compinches of theirs?) attempt to kidnap Amorín. The attempt fails, and Amorín and cameraman Quesada lodge a complaint with the Inspector General’s office. They accuse Rosales of ordering an assault on them, as well as the attempted kidnapping of Amorín.

Also among the charges: the restaurant, Casa Cortez, was serving alcohol at a prohibited time (eating establishments are not allowed to serve booze during the closing days of election campaigns, when tensions are running high; it’s a measure aimed primarily at curbing drunken violence.) The mayor’s bruiseboys had been drinking at that time, which no doubt contributed to their aggression. Nice boss they got, too, letting them booze it up while on duty, and during a “dry” time at that. Clearly, membership in the corruptocratic Venezuelan opposition has its privileges.

So who, besides the public community media in Venezuela, is reporting this? Where are the IAPA, who yelp like scalded dogs everytime one of their private media-owner members finds himself in hot legal water down there? Where are Reporters Without Borders, who might just as well be called Reporters Without Shame for the way they “report” on all things Venezuela? Shouldn’t they be raising hell when a bunch of goons attached to a government figure make an attempt on the person of a young reporter just doing his duty?

Or is it just not an incident of government-sponsored violence against the media when the media figure in question happens to work for a public channel, and the government is that of an opposition mayor?

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