The Maduro regime appears to be tightening the noose around El Nacional, the country’s largest remaining independent newspaper, after it began blocking access to its website in certain regions of the country today.
The newspaper’s editor, Miguel Otero, announced early this morning that the state-owned CANTV telecommunications company was blocking access to the newspaper’s website. Below, the tweet in which Otero broke the news:
It is not clear at this moment how widespread the block is and if it is in fact being carried out deliberately by CANTV. El Nacional reported that users in Miranda and Monagas states complained of being unable to access the website today.
Two days ago, the newspaper found out via a televised address from a regime official that it had lost a defamation lawsuit against PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello. The regime official said that if the newspaper was unable to pay the damages awarded to Cabello, he would be able to take over the newspaper.
On May 22, CONATEL–the regime’s telecommunication regulatory agency–announced that it was launching an investigation into the El Nacional‘s web portal, after it alleged that the website contained information that contained “messages that call for the disavowal of legitimate authorities”, and that these messages “incite hatred” against the Maduro regime.
CONTATEL’s investigation is ongoing.
Cabello Taunts El Nacional With Name Change Comment
Diosdado Cabello taunted El Nacional last night during his weekly television show, Con El Mazo Dando.
During the show, Cabello said that he would probably change the name of the newspaper once he took it over. Cabello said that he was considering changing the name to “The Furrial Times” or “The Wall Street Furrial” after his home town of El Furrial, Monagas.
Cabello also spoke on the damages that he was awarded in the lawsuit, which the court set at Bs. 1,000,000,000. At the current black market rate, one billion bolivares is approximately $500. However, Cabello stressed that the damages could not be paid at the black market rate, suggesting that he would only accept them at the official rate.
At the official rate, one billion bolivares is $100,000,000.
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