May 27, 2007

A Sad Day for Venezuelan Television

Tonight at midnight the Venezuelan government will close RCTV, Venezuela's oldest TV network.

The Chávez government is the most recent episode in Venezuela's political and social history. My country goes from illusion to illusion, and from disillusion to disillusion. The decision to close RCTV underscores and evidences that this government doesn't accept dissenting or opposing views.

The government alleges that RCTV abused the airwaves with its radical opposition discourse. I believe that it is always bad news when a mass medium takes an extreme political position, be it in favor or against the government. In Venezuela, with very vew exceptions, bad news are the norm: the insulting officialist content of La Hojilla in VTV, the paralizing self-censorship of network Venevisión, Televén's silence, the government's intention of making Telesur the new Latin American Al Jazeera, and the blind oppositional stance of several media outlets. They are all bad news because in extremely polarized Venezuela, the first casualty of its ideological war was the search for "truth." By presenting distorted and incomplete versions of reality, ALL Venezuelan media outlets have gradually disabled Venezuelans from being truly informed citizens.

But the answer isn't to close an oppositional outlet and substitute it with a government one (Officialist TVES will air on RCTV's frequency, using its equipment which the Supreme Court has ordered be turned in to the government, which will run TVES). This makes matters worse and moves Venezuelan television closer to a monolith, in which there are only two options: to support the government or be silent.

The decision to close RCTV also disrespects popular will. Polls show that polarized Venezuelans agree on something: they oppose the closing of this network. RCTV is an important part of their everyday life, and it has been for more than 50 years. It's difficult to imagine Venezuelan life without RCTV. But this is this government's modus operandi: for the sake of correcting what it considers "historical errors," they create new errors of historic magnitude.

Here, a link to Le Monde's editorial against the closing of this television network:

Censure à la Chavez
LE MONDE | 26.05.07

© Le

And what about telenovelas (the main topic of this blog)?
Closing RCTV is an immense loss to the genre. There are rumors that RCTV will still produce telenovelas for the international market and that Venezuelans will still be able to watch them via cable (although many poor Venezuelans don't have access to cable). Today, Sunday, we really don't know what will happen. We will have to wait until tomorrow, which will be even sadder than today. Meanwhile, here are some of those who worked on RCTV to give us some of the greatest telenovela moments in history:

Amalia Pérez Díaz

Doris Wells

Raúl Amundaray and Agustina Martín in El Derecho de Nacer

Gustavo Rodríguez, Pierina España, José Luis Rodríguez and Tomás Henríquez in Estefanía

Mayra Alejandra in La Hija de Juana Crespo

Eva Blanco, Doris Wells and Eva Moreno in Historia de Tres Hermanas

Gledys Ibarra as Luna Camacho in Amores de Fin de Siglo

Doris Wells and José Bardina in La Fiera

Doris Wells, Marina Baura and Aroldo Betancourt in La Hora Menguada

Marialejandra Martín, Aroldo Betancourt and Franklin Virguez in Por Estas Calles

Miguel Angel Landa and Doris Wells in La Señora de Cárdenas

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