The Guardian 27 July, 2005

Venezuela to block hostile broadcasts

CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has warned the United States that he will send a resounding response if it begins anti-Venezuelan radio and TV broadcasts, and that he will continue to deepen the Revolution.

In a telephone interview with Venezolana de Televisión, Chávez affirmed that if the US government continues with an initiative approved by the House of Representatives, Venezuela will have to respond.

That proposal would allow the US government to transmit radio and television signals to that South American country with the aim of counteracting Telesur’s messages. (Telesur, a television station based in Caracas, will be "the first counter-­hegemonic telecommunications project in South America".)

"The time when we stayed quiet is over; we used to fall back and turn the other cheek, as Christ said. After the coup d’état in April of 2002, both of our cheeks turned purple", the Venezuelan leader said.

"Our government must respond. If the US government dares to take any action, whatever it may be — for example, if it issues very powerful signals — well, then, there will be electronic warfare", he stated.

The Venezuelan president emphasised that any large-scale aggression of that type would once again demonstrate that the United States is a giant who steps on others, does not respect freedom of expression and supports terrorists.

In Chávez’ opinion, the electronic aggression against Venezuela would remove imperialism’s mask and reveal it "in all its ugliness, before our entire people".

Both the president of Venezuela and his minister of information, Andrés Izarra, attributed the new attack to the fact that Telesur — which has yet to begin broadcasting — is "touching sore spots" and has the United States and its interests very much concerned.

Izarra, for his part, commented that the threat is not an isolated attack; rather, it is part of a "renewed wave of political actions against Venezuela".

In that respect, he recalled, among other cases, that US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is promoting another resolution in Congress against Venezuela.

He explained that Congress­woman Connie Mack of Florida, who proposed the initiative, gave political support to Cuban-born terrorist Orlando Bosch, who was pardoned by President George Bush senior.

Bosch is responsible for countless terrorist attacks against Cuba, including the sabotage of a civilian passenger plane in 1976 that killed 73 people.

"Mack talks like an imperialist who does not tolerate liberty or democracy. That is how people talk behind the logic of invading Iraq. We are resolved to be free", Izarra warned.

Likewise, Telesur’s general director, Aram Aharonian, reiterated that the channel’s signal will go on the air on July 24, as planned, without accepting any type of censoring.

Granma

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