Quico says: By now, it's more hackneyed cliché than eye-opening parable: if you drop a frog in boiling water, the thing just jumps out, but if you put put a frog in cool water and heat it little by little...
That's pretty much how Chávez has decided to deal with the dissident press. It's clear by now that there will not be a single, dramatic move to mark the end of a plural media in Venezuela. Chávez's shtick has always been gradualism. The man is a frog stew masterchef.
This week, his cronies at the Children's Protection Council moved to add some illiterate flies to the stew. Tal Cual, the mordant opposition tabloid run by Teodoro Petkoff, was fined an as-yet-unspecified amount for running an impossibly vanilla article by Laureano Márquez that, allegedly, violated Chávez's daughter's privacy.
Tal Cual is a small and perenially cash-strapped paper. As you can imagine, they don't get much advertising business from the government, and other advertisers realize that they expose themselves to retaliation if they advertise there. Even a seemingly modest fine threatens the paper's financial viability. This, I guess, is how 21st Century Socialists silence dissent.
For once, though, there is something we can do about it.
Send a donation, big or small, to Tal Cual's parent company. If you're in Venezuela - or if you have Venezuelan internet banking - you can make a deposit directly into either of these accounts:
Banco Mercantil Account Number: 0105-0021-47-1021517364
Banesco Account Number: 0134-0184-59-184304271
Deposits should be made in favor of: "Editorial La Mosca Analfabeta C.A." What are you waiting for?