Miguel Henrique Otero, the president and editor of the El Nacional newspaper, gave a speech before members of the National Press Club today in Washington D.C., during which he spoke on the precarious state of independent media in Venezuela.
According to Otero, 40% of Venezuelans only have access to state-run media sources; in other words, they have no way to access media that does not support official government views.
Otero also spoke on the “peculiarities” of the state of Venezuelan media, which has seen itself legally smothered by the government in recent years. Otero said:
The regime that we have in Venezuela has cornered independent journalism through a strategy called the Plan de Patria, which has as one of its components physical aggression against journalists and the purchasing of media outlets by people close to the government.
To back up his claims, Otero cited the 1,400 complaints of physical assault filed by journalists against state security officers, and the fact that 90% of judges are categorized as “provisional”, meaning that whether or not they remain on the bench depends on how pleased the government is with their performance.
Marvinia Jimenez Demands Justice 9 Months After Assault
Marvinia Jimenez was brutally assaulted by a Guardia del Pueblo – an offshoot of the National Guard – in late February of this year. Marvinia was filming a protest in La Isabelica in Valencia, Carabobo state, when she was confronted by security officials. While being detained, an officer threw Marvinia to the ground, straddled her, and beat her head with a helmet. The savagery was captured on video, which you can see below:
Nine months later, the officer who assaulted Marvinia is still free. While an arrest warrant has been issued for her arrest, no serious attempt has been made to bring her to justice. Marvinia spoke on her disappointment with the Venezuelan justice system today in a newspaper interview. Marvinia said:
I’m don’t want pity, I want justice nine months after being assaulted by the National Guard. I want justice to speak on what it is they’re going to do about my case…
According to Jimenez, the Public Ministry has yet to reach a decision on how to proceed with her case. She believes that the government’s hesitation comes from the fact that her aggressor is chavista, so “the Public Ministry is protecting her”.