Last anti-Chavez TV stations faces closure...
Just a matter of time before it is shut down...
When Venezuelans tune to Globovision, they see protests against faulty public services or a talk show guest saying Hugo Chavez could be executed by his opponents, just like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Now Chavez seems to be gearing up for a final showdown with Globovision, Venezuela's only remaining opposition television station on the open airwaves.
Broadcast regulators are investigating the all-news channel for inciting "panic and anxiety" during a minor earthquake when it criticized the government for slow response.
"We've been subject to dozens of investigations, but this one is undoubtedly the most absurd," said station director Alberto Federico Ravell, a bespectacled, tough-talking man who relishes poking fun at the president.
Chavez has called Ravell "a crazy man with a cannon."
"There is a crazy man with a cannon in Venezuela, but it's not me," Ravell quipped in response.
There is little neutral ground left in polarized Venezuela, and the media reflect this -- either championing the government or touting the opposition.
What Chavez intends to do with the TV station remains unclear. But he seems to be building to a confrontation, demanding sanctions against Globovision again on Thursday in a speech in which he labeled TV executives "white-collar terrorists."
Earlier this week, he threatened severe measures against any media inciting unrest: "You are playing with fire, manipulating, inciting hatred and much more. All of you: television networks, radio stations, newspapers."
Many newspapers and radio stations that remain fiercely critical of the government. But television is a different matter. Two formerly critical stations, Venevision and Televen, have held their tongues to avoid sanctions since they were accused of supporting a 2002 coup attempt. Another anti-Chavez channel, RCTV, was booted off the airwaves in 2007 and now draws a much smaller audience of paid viewers on cable. About a fifth of Venezuelans subscribe to cable.
Globovision is the remaining counterweight to state television, which airs only praise for Chavez while attacking opposition politicians on a late-night talk show called "The Razorblade."