An article published in Argentina’s La Nacional today reported that Argentina will be pulling out of the Telesur network initiative, signalling a distancing in ideology between Buenos Aires and Caracas.

Telesur is a multi-national television network launched by Hugo Chavez in 2005. It broadcasts out of Caracas, and is operated by the Venezuelan national government. The network was launched as a way to deliver an alternative to new networks like CNN and the BBC.

According to the article, Minister of Media Hernan Lombardi and Secretary of Public Communication Jorge Grecco have formalized the decision after weeks of consultations. Argentina owned 16% of Telesur’s shares, and joined Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Uruguay in ownership of the network.

Argentina’s withdrawal from Telesur means that the network will no longer be broadcast digitally through the Argentinian state-owned channels, and it will no longer be mandatory for Argentinian cable companies to include the network in their television packages. Prior to the decision to pull out, Telesur reached approximately 80% of Argentinian households.

Lombardi explained the move – which the Argentinian government began to hint at in December – in the following way:

Our country had no say in the content of the signal, nor in how the network was administered. This decision falls in line with what we have proposed for public media when it comes to pluralism and austerity.

The article points out that Argentina has become the first Telesur founding member to abandon the project.

Telesur has been extremely critical of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri since his election on December 10, 2015.

Judge Frees Men Arrested in Drug Trafficking Case

A judge in the Dominican Republic ordered the unconditional release of five Venezuelan citizens who were arrested in Santo Domingo on Thursday after authorities found 349 packs of cocaine in the private airplane the men used to fly to the island.  The Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas [National Drug Control Directorate], the island’s anti-drug enforcement agency, were shocked by the decision, which they argue “stimulates drug trafficking” (DNCD).

The DNCD also said that the decision is a stain on the Dominican Republic’s legal system. A press released issued by the organization partially reads:

We cannot understand how five people arrested while caught in the act with a shipment of cocaine weighing over 359 kilograms could be unconditionally released by this interim judge….

Four of the men flew into Santo Domingo aboard the plane that was carrying the drugs, while the fifth was arrested at the airport, as he was waiting for the four to arrive.

Robbers Target Valencia Hospital

Last night, an unknown number of delinquents walked into the IEQ Los Mangos hospital in Valencia, Carabobo state, and proceeded to rob hospital staff and patients alike. The event began last night at approximately 9:45 PM.

A person who was at the hospital at the time of the event told El Pitazo that the robbers were carrying “armas largas [literally, “long weapons”; shotguns or rifles]. The person also said:

We were in another area, but the nurses came in and said that there was a robbery taking place. Apparently, they even went into the emergency area.

Four Arrested in Attempted Subway Robbery

Yesterday afternoon, at least ten men entered the Caracas subway system‘s line three and boarded a train headed to the Plaza Venezuela station. Once aboard the train, the men took hostages and began to rob everyone on board.

No on was injured in the event, and the National Bolvarian Police managed to detain four of the suspects.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com


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