English | News | 2 marzo 2012

Hugo Chávez Compares His Opposition to a Cancer in National Blanket Broadcast*

It is an abuse of power and a violation of the Venezuelan Constitution and anti-corruption law for President Hugo Chávez to repeatedly utilize National Blanket Broadcasts* to attack opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.

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A large crowd gathered in Caracas’ largest concert auditorium to bid farewell to President Hugo Chávez, comandeering all national airwaves via an obligatory National Blanket Broadcast*, prior to his departure to Cuba. The event was billed as “an event for live” to wish Chávez a swift recovery from his ongoing battle with cancer.

Chávez began the event emphasizing that it was “a non-partisan event”, and to the contrary was a message for the nation. “We are not campaigning yet, so we can utilize the National Blanket Broadcast,” the president stated.

Abusing public resources and violating Venezuelan law, Chávez took advantage of the occasion to attack his opponent Henrique Capriles, afirming that cancer is like the ‘untouchables’** and that “they will be treated and destroyed in the same fashion”. Video in Spanish: http://youtu.be/We8SYZ_AAFg —- Original article published in Últimas Noticias.

* In Venezuela, a “national chain” broadcast (Cadena Nacional de Radio y Televisión) is an obligatory National Blanket Broadcast that—by law—must be aired by all domestic radio and television stations. Not all countries have an equivalent (US, UK, etc.) and the mechanism allows President Chávez to commandeer the airwaves at any time for as long as he wishes. He gives speeches for hours, sings and chants with members of his government and political party. Recently and in violation of the Venezuelan Constitution and anti-corruption law, Chávez has been blatantly utilizing the National Blanket Broadcast in order to kick-off his presidential election campaign.

** The ‘untouchables’ (escualidos) is an insult so often spoken by Hugo Chávez that it has come to be associated solely and unmistakably with the United Democratic Alternative (MUD), his perpetual and current political opponent. Literally translated, ‘escualidos’ could mean emaciated, despicable or filthy.

Monitoreo Ciudadano (Citizen Monitoring) is a citizen initiative and NGO dedicated to monitoring and exposing the abuse of power and public resources by the Venezuelan government in efforts to illegally influence Venezuelan elections. —- President Hugo Chávez has in recent months abused both State TV and obligatory nationwide blanket broadcasts (cadena nacional) on multiple occasions to support his candidacy for president and attack his opponent. —- Citizen Monitoring uses the Twitter hashtag #AbusoPoder (Abuse of Power) to register complaints. Follow us at @yomonitoreo