No, these aren’t people taking to the street in celebration of President Hugo Chavez’s benign rule by decree, they’re cizitens fleeing an attack by his soldiers who fired teargas and rubber bullets to break up free speech protests after he closed down a popular TV station which was not supportive of his presidency.
A new state-run station took its place and programming includes songs praising Chavez. Perhaps like this one? Creepy stuff, this cult of personality business – especially when it’s armed to the teeth.
Human rights groups like HRW and Amnesty International have condemned the closure of the station. Reporters Without Borders says that Chavez is now setting his sights on other opposition media outlets, calling them “enemies of the motherland”.
A website, FREE RCTV, has been set up to protest against the action and to document resistance.