Somewhere Sean Penn is smiling.
Stepping up what opponents call a smack-down of opposition voices, the Venezuelan attorney general said Thursday that authorities had arrested the owner of the Globovision TV channel, one of the few remaining broadcasters critical of President Hugo Chavez.
Guillermo Zuloaga was arrested at an airport in western Venezuela as he was preparing to fly his private airplane to Bonaire, a Caribbean vacation destination, for Easter week. Venezuelan Atty. Gen. Luisa Ortega Diaz said Zuloaga was detained because he was considered a flight risk.
A judge on Wednesday denied bail for Oswaldo Alvarez Paz, a former state governor and Chavez critic jailed a day earlier on charges of incitement, conspiracy and spreading false information in a March 8 interview on Globovision.
Under his regime, Hugo Chavez has closed down 33 independent radio stations and put the screws to numerous regional newspapers.
Michael C. Moynihan reminds us that this is all eerily similar to Sandinista censor Nelba Blando when asked why he shut down an opposition newspaper, countered with: "They accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it."
So, don't claim that Chavez is suppressing free speach and for heaven's sake, don't you dare call him a "dictator".