One year on, El Universal is fully “hegemonized”

CIIj_QUW8AAAVAWOne full year after El Universal, one of Venezuela’s oldest and largest newspapers, was bought by HegemonCorp., its opinion pages have been purged, journalists have been fired, its main cartoonist Rayma was unceremoniously dumped and its new editorial line has become insipid.

HegemonCorp.’s alleged 120 million dollars takeover has paid off, even at the cost of the paper’s reputation and of the promises made by incoming chairman Jesus Abreu Anselmi just days after assuming his post.

In recent days, El Universal continued its censorious ways by dropping a couple of articles: One, an interview with Venezuelan comedian Emilio Lovera and the other, an opinion piece about the state of LGBT rights in the country.

What did they have in common? Indirect criticism of the government.

First up, El Universal was supposed to run an interview by journalist Daniel Fermin with Emilio Lovera, who’s promoting his latest movie “Paquete #3”, on its June 19th edition. When talking about the situation facing comedians in Venezuela and the absence of outlets for local comedy on television, Lovera said:

There are hardly any comedy shows on TV. Humor bothers the government. I imagine that TVes will make one at any moment. What’s really regrettable is that many comedians support the government’s line. Mass media are quite reduced for us. The Internet is the only thing left, which isn’t an economically viable media to get by on. Places administered by the State are closed to us. They tell us we’re not banned, only that they’re booked until 2070. At least, we have invitations to go abroad.”

El Universal’s official excuse was “lack of space” and it eventually published the entire interview the following Sunday. The National Press Workers’ Union (SNTP) questioned the paper’s reasons and are keeping an watchful eye on them.

For Lovera, things have not been so easy in recent years: He was part of the well-known show “Radio Rochela“, which ran on RCTV until the channel was shut down by the government twice (from open-air in 2007 and from cable and satellite TV in 2010). Then in 2011, he went to private channel Televen to make its own show “Mision Emilio” for three years until it was canceled in early 2014. Some press reports say that the program was a collateral damage of Televen’s licence renewal by Venezuelan broadcast authority CONATEL, something strongly denied by the hegemony.

This year, three performances of his latest act with fellow comedian Laureano Marquez were canceled after the tax authority SENIAT closed down the theaters where the duo was supposed to perform in three different cities. But that’s part of Chavismo’s war on comedy. The hegemony’s version of funny programs are more ideology than actual laughs.

Moving on to the second censored article, which was dropped from this Monday’s EU edition: Titled “Free and Equal” (Libres e Iguales), the opinion piece by human rights activist Rafael Garrido (member of NGO Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz) mentions that the Bolivarian Republic doesn’t upheld the Constitution’s Article 21 (which bans all kinds of discrimination) when it comes to the country’s LGBT community.

The column was written in the wake of two events: last week’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which recognizes same-sex marriages and recent words from Diosdado Cabello who pledged during a TV interview to pass new LGBT-related legislation in the National Assembly, after saying that “he didn’t have any problem supporting it”.

But El Universal told both Garrido and the NGO (which has a weekly column on the paper) that this particluar article “…needed to be replaced for other, because, according to the paper’s editorial line, the issue is not being treated”. Garrido told LGBT news site Sin Etiquetas that back in March El Universal spiked a column also dealing with this theme. In that case, the homophobic statements made then by former Police Reform Commissioner Freddy Bernal.

No matter how hard CONATEL’s honcho William Castillo insisted in Geneva that there’s no censorship in Venezuela, cases like El Universal not just proves him wrong but shows the true face of the hegemony he openly supports.

14 thoughts on “One year on, El Universal is fully “hegemonized”

  1. These are the kind of “subtleties” that still need to be explained to both ignorant, under-educated Venezuelans and to ignorant, over-educated useless chumps at the ONU and such International Circuses.

    What Miguel Otero, brave president of El Nacional, calls a “sophisticated Dictatorship”.

    “El presidente editor de El Nacional dijo que el actual gobierno venezolano no es una “dictadura bananera” sino una más “sofisticada”. “El caso en Venezuela es una estrategia para lograr la hegemonía comunicacional que pasa por la represión administrativa y judicial hacia los medios. Con el uso de leyes y amenazas permanentes”, indicó.

    Sostuvo que en el país existe una dictadura pero que conserva la forma, y con esto el Estado se defiende internacionalmente”

    This is how Millions of under-educated and/or severely brain-washed Venezuelans still do think they live in a “Democracy” and have freedoms. And how you have a spineless Wench like Ortega claim Vzla has never had more freedoms than it does have now, and people at the ONU swallow such Massive Turds with a straight face.


    • “sophisticated Dictatorship”? What “sophisticated Dictatorship”? Where is the Dictator, the Cucuteño? He couldn’t find his own arse with both hands. This is just but a rogue state plain and simple. The worse is that this Universal was most likely purchased with money stolen from “El Lumpen” Once again let’s repeat it: people think we will get what they want when in fact they often just get what they deserve including long lines, recyclable Kotex and all. End of rant.


        • Lumpenproletariat is a term that was originally coined by Karl Marx to describe the layer of the working class that is unlikely ever to achieve class consciousness. In current usage the term ” el lumpen” might translate to “the unwashed masses”. It is highly pejorative.


  2. I have been following the Venezuela saga from abroad since 2001, El Universal was my #2 bookmark for news about Venezuela. Now they are equivalent to MSNBC, I’ve deleted that bookmark.


  3. More like “fully sodomized”. “El Universal” since soon after the takeover has not been worth reading/buying.


  4. El universal is not even the shadow of what it once was. I do not think anyone with half a brain still reads it. They’re articles are nothing but the regurgitated press releases issued by the monkeys in power.


  5. If El Universal doesn’t have anywhere near the readership it used to, questions arise:
    1. How can it stay in business?
    2. Is it possible that newspapers like El Universal are now vehicles for money laundering?


    • 1. How can it stay in business?
      Continued infusions from the Chavista Petrostate, though funds may be hard to come by these days. I suspect that most or all of the money to purchase El Universal came from Chavismo, either drug money or stolen government money. The owner is just a front man. I doubt that the owner/front man would tolerate paying out of his own pocket for the continuation of El Universal. The government wouldn’t cry over its demise, though it might reap some propaganda points in some circles for the continuation of a “privately-owned” media operation. . Suggested solution: El Universal is put to death in the next 12 months.

      2. Is it possible that newspapers like El Universal are now vehicles for money laundering?
      See the above snark.


  6. One has to wonder how much the millions and millions of “alphabetized” Chavista people really read anything from El Universal or any other formerly serious and objective serious papers in the past 30 years, anyway. Besides the comiquitas and Estampas magazines, that is.

    Otherwise, how is is possible that they still believe in Galactic Economic Wars from el Imperio, and that Cuba is Awesome, China, Russia or even North Korea and the greatest modern “civilization” has ever produced?

    Venezuela’s majority populace, still barbaric and enormously ignorant, obviously didn’t read much of anything, anyway. Not even El Mundo or Ultimas Noticias, or whatever local papers they got,,, did they even listen to any half-educated radio or TV programs? Not many, or so it seems. Many still chant Viva Che Guevara!!


  7. I remember the Universal so well, especially the huge Sunday editions.. We all exchanged “cuerpos” as we read them.. quien tiene el 4to cuerpo?.. My father was a voracious reader of the Political and Economic parts, he would spend hours Sunday mornings and kept certain articles to re-read later or comment with us later.. He certainly knew exactly what was going on in the world, from many different points of view, from the best writers in the world. Mother read the 4th, that had Literature, Arts, etc, if memory serves.

    Lots of families preferred the Nacional, this is the 80′, 90’s, or el Diario de Caracas.. Tons of information was available right there, especially before the Internet came along. Certainly obvious little things like Cuba = bad, and stuff.. That’s why I suspect that the majority of Vzla’s population didn’t really utilize their newly-acquired “reading skills” on even looking at the pictures of such great papers we had.


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