CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez made a thinly
veiled threat against an opposition television station on Thursday,
hours after dozens of protesters took to the streets in a show of
support for the network.
Without mentioning Globovision's name, Chavez called on the
people to be on the alert for a conspiracy "that has to do with a
"The possibility exists that the concession they hold will come
to an end," Chavez said.
"Every day the possibility becomes more likely," he said,
adding that the outlet's concession could be revoked if it
"violated laws, challenged the government, started rumors."
In recent weeks, Chavez's government has stepped up its
confrontation with Globovision - the only remaining strongly
anti-Chavez channel on the open airwaves. Earlier this month, the
president urged Globovision's executives to reflect on the
station's tough criticism of his government, or else it "won't be
on the airwaves much longer."
Prosecutors and regulators have since taken a range of actions
against Globovision and its owner. The telecommunications regulator
asked prosecutors to determine if Globovision is responsible for a
talk show guest's suggestion that foes might kill Chavez - a probe
that could potentially force the station off the air.
To condemn the government's actions, dozens of demonstrators
wearing red gags over their mouths protested outside a government
building in the capital on Thursday.
The group, A World Without a Gag, organized the protest on the
Internet and called for demonstrations both in Venezuela and at
diplomatic missions abroad. Small protests were held in cities
including Miami and Santiago, Chile.
"We're here to reject the government's attacks against the
media and to demand of President Hugo Chavez that he please respect
the media, which are the voice of the people," said Isabel
Sanchez, a 60-year-old housewife.
She held a sign bearing the name of another anti-Chavez channel,
Radio Caracas Television, which was forced off the airwaves in 2007
when the government refused to renew its broadcast license. It has
since moved to cable.