Chávez Targets Cable Station as Tensions Rise
Move part of a larger effort to extend govt's reach, say critics
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2009 7:35 AM CDT
Venezuela's opposition leader Manuel Rosales, who is seeking asylum in Peru. He says that a corruption charge against him has been trumped up. A Venezuelan court has asked Interpol to detain him.    (AP Photo/El Comercio, Rolly Reyna)
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(Newser) – Venezuela is taking steps to shut down an anti-Chávez TV news station as tensions continue to grow between the government and opposition. Authorities have accused the station of "media terrorism" by covering an earthquake before the government released an official report. Three months after winning a referendum that allows him to run for president indefinitely, Chávez is taking an increasingly tough line, reports the Washington Post.

Last weekend the president said that "no land is private" in Venezuela, and the next day the government said it had taken control of 39 foreign and domestic companies linked to the state-run oil organization. Several opposition leaders are being investigated for corruption, and one of Chávez's main rivals was recently stripped of much of his power. But closing the station—which would be the first media closure in Chávez's decade-long rule—would represent a new level of state intervention, said one observer: "It's a very damaging situation for Venezuelan society."