Shortly after the MUD’s electoral win on December 6, National Assembly deputy Henry Ramos Allup spoke to the media about some of the changes the bloc was hoping to bring to the country. One of the changes Allup mentioned dealt with ANTV [National Assembly Television], which covers legislative proceedings. Allup lamented the partisan nature of the network, which almost exclusively offers pro-PSUV views and often lambastes the opposition and its figures. Allup said:
[ANTV] is a shame. They don’t do journalism; they attack the ethical code of journalism. They don’t show information that is true; they show information that is false.
Just three days after the parliamentary elections, an ANTV journalist said on a show that aired on the network that MI6, the CIA, Mossad, and the United States Department of State had all conspired to give the MUD the victory on December 6.
As a response to Allup’s suggestion that changes were coming to ANTV, Diosdado Cabello announced on December 10 that the Venezuelan government was handing over complete ownership of the network to its workers, along with AN Radio, the network’s sister radio station. The move appeared to be aimed at preempting any kind of action against the network by making its workers wholly liable for its administration.
Cabello’s announcement threw the network and its workers into disarray, and ten days later it remains unclear exactly what the status of ANTV and AN Radio is. National Assembly deputy Biaggio Pilieri is a member of the legislature’s Media Committee, and he told El Nacional:
We are as confused about this transfer of ownership as the general population is. We don’t have any details.
Luisa Torrealba is the union coordinator at the Universidad Central de Venezuela’s media and communications faculty, and she said:
We still don’t know who will become part of the network’s board of directors, or who will have editorial responsibilities.
Torrealba also said that since the network no longer belongs to the National Assembly, it is technically a private network and no longer has the right to be have the words “National Assembly” in its name.
El Nacional also points out that aside from the logistical and administrative issues, the move is illegal since it violates article 73 of the Ley Organica de Telecomunicaciones [Telecommunications Law] which prohibits the “ceding or transferring” of ownership of any television or radio network.
Details Emerge Regarding Rincon Arrest
Yesterday, news broke of the arrest of Venezuelan businessman Roberto Rincon in Houston, Texas. Rincon was allegedly arrested as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation involving the state-run PDVSA oil firm. Today, details began to emerge regarding the case. Rincon allegedly stole substantial amounts of money through contracts PDVSA awarded his companies.
Today, Noticiero Digital citing Miami’s El Nuevo Herald reported that while Rincon is not employed by PDVSA, he owns companies that do business with the company. The website also claims that Rincon was arrested over his involvement in a “large money laundering network that also involved PDVSA”. Noticiero Digital also reports that Rincon’s money trail led U.S. authorities to investigate activities in both Aruba and the United States.
U.S. authorities apparently set their sights on Rincon after National Assembly Deputy Hugo Carvajal arrived in Aruba last year in a private airplane registered to one of Rincon’s companies. Carvajal was subsequently arrested on the island over allegations that he was involved in drug trafficking operations, but was released shortly after in response to tremendous pressure from the Venezuelan government.
PDVSA has been under investigation by U.S. authorities since at least early this year, when it was revealed that the Banca Privada d’Andorra was under investigation for laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for the Venezuelan oil company.
Rincon lives in the Houston area, and is scheduled to appear before a federal judge tomorrow morning.
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