PSUV vice-president and National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello launched a lawsuit against El Nacional, La Patilla, and TalCual after the media outlets reported on allegations that Cabello was being implicated in criminal activity by a former body guard.
The outlets did not break the story themselves. Rather, they reported on the story as it appeared in Spain’s ABC. In late January, ABC cited a former bodyguard – named Leamsy Salazar – who had fled to the United States, and had accused Cabello of running a drug cartel called Los Soles. Cabello qualified the story as an assault against himself and the Bolivarian revolution, and vowed to take anyone who reported on the story to court.
Cabello announced the targets of the lawsuit today through Twitter:
The lawsuit in Venezuela is against El Nacional, La Patilla, and Tal Cual, [and] includes shareholders, directors, editorial boards and owners.
TalCual and La Patilla are news websites, while El Nacional is one of the country’s largest and most well-established newspapers.
Opposition Voices Support for El Nacional
Members of the Venezuelan opposition – namely Lilian Tintori, Mitzy Ledezma and Maria Corina Machado – spoke today against Cabello’s lawsuit, saying that “to defend El Nacional is to defend the freedom of the whole country”.
Tintori noted that the newspapers represents “a rebel voice that speaks the truth”, while Ledezma argued that its existence was vital for freedom in Venezuela:
A media outlet has to be free to be able to argue whatever the country thinks, whether or not the government likes it. It is a terrible thing for autocensure, panic and terror to exist in Venezuela.
Finally, the three called on the newspapers and reporters around the country to “have faith, resist, and continue to defend the truth”.
Cabellos Isolated; Lopez’s Cell Searched in Ramo Verde
At the same time that the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) demanded protection for Leopoldo Lopez and Daniel Ceballos, the men’s rights were being abused at the Ramo Verde military prison, so says Patricia de Ceballos. According to Patricia, her husband spent the entire day in an isolation chamber, while Lopez’s cell was searched without his lawyer present, as is required by law.
Yesterday, the IACHR called on the Venezuelan government to “the measures necessary to preserve the personal integrity“, and that the conditions the two men find themselves in meet international detention standards.
The resolution by the IACHR, in Spanish, can be found here.