(The following is written by a regular contributor to Latina Lista's Linking Latinas section.)
by Jennifer Barreto-Leyva
Venezuelans are about to say good-bye for good to democracy and freedom of speech. The only independent TV Station is about to be closed by Hugo Chavez's regime.
Radio Caracas TelevisiÃ³n (the first TV Station in Venezuela) was closed two years ago. They had become a very inconvenient truth, like a stone inside of a shoe of Hugo Chavez's regime.
As the Dictator he is, he is looking forward to eliminating, at any cost, anyone or anything that represents dissidence, a different idea, or a different voice.
GlobovisiÃ³n has been subjected to all kinds of legal actions, fines, humiliation and criminal attacks. Not to mention, the staff who work there have been placed in a dangerous situation by being overseen by Hugo Chavez's followers (they call themselves `Bolivarian circlesÂ´ or plain and simple -- guerrillas) that have been trained by the Cuban army, Al Qaeda and some other terrorist organizations.
Closing GlobovisiÃ³n represents the official ascension of Hugo Chavez as a Dictator in the eyes of the world; just in case anyone has any doubts about it.
When Radio Caracas Television was closed, the Venezuelan government and their followers claimed they weren't closing a TV station, they were "not renewing the license to operate and work".
They claimed they needed that channel space because they needed another channel to get their message to the people. But the truth is, the Venezuelan government has about eight TV stations, four newspapers and more than fifty radio stations to brainwash the Venezuelan population.
The Venezuelan government thru the National Committee of Communications (CONATEL) has made GlobovisiÃ³n pay a fine of one billion bolÃvares (US$465,116.28).
As soon as people in the society got organized and started to contribute to raise the money to pay the fine, CONATEL increased the amount to five billion of bolÃvares (US$2,325,581.39) -- an amount impossible to pay.
Of course, it afforded the perfect excuse to close the TV Station and marking it as the official farewell to Venezuelan democracy and freedom of speech.
We are living in a living hell on a daily basis and nobody seems to care at all.
It brings to mind that wise thought made by Martin NiemÃ¶ller:
"When the Nazis came for the Communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a Communist.
Then they locked up the Social Democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a Social Democrat.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me."
So I guess that until the rest of the world's interests are affected, no one will do anything.
By then, Venezuelans will be forced to choose the best option -- leaving the country on rubber rafts just like Cubans.
We are definitely in God hands...
>Learn more about Jennifer:
Jennifer Barreto-Leyva lives in Caracas, Venezuela where when this 5"11 venezolana is not defending the rights of her clients as a lawyer or inspiring people as a motivational speaker, she is an outspoken defender on the rights of plus-size people.
Jennifer is Miss Plump Venezuela and the first Latina who participated and won the Miss Universe for Plus-size title. She is also the first venezolana plus-size model and, consequently, is credited for introducing the plus-size modeling division throughout Latin America.
Since 1999, Jennifer has penned a regular column, Tu Rincon con Jen, for the only online site dedicated to plus size people in Spanish, gordos.com.
Because of her sassy outspokenness and willingness to force the issue that beauty does not lie with a person's weight, Jennifer has found her message much in demand from South and North America to Europe and Asia.
Jennifer provides constant inspiration for women of all sizes at her blog, Facebook and MySpace pages and says that she always knew that when it came to defending who she was, no one was going to do it for her.
I saw myself different (as a child), not only when it comes to my size but my beauty as well. I've always had to deal with people's cruelty because they think I'm ugly and have no hesitation letting me know that. I had to be strong and mature when no one around was. I'm beautiful because I've decided and feel that way, not because everyone else says it is so.