Maduro takes a "Panem et Circenses" approach to local media in face of turmoil

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Turn on the TV or open a paper in New York, London or Buenos Aires these days, and chances are that the latest in the showdown between socialist President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido will feature prominently, with Mr. Guaido’s return to Venezuela to resume the power struggle Monday just the latest twist in the drama.

Not so in Venezuela, where the news that local residents watch and read largely depends on the whims of a regime that would rather not have them ponder whether they truly live in the democratic workers’ paradise that Mr. Maduro’s “Bolivarian revolution” has bestowed upon them.

News coverage on Venevision or Globovision is as trite as it is predictable: “President Maduro talks with Cuba and Colombia”; “Distribution of carnival bonus begins”; and “[Former National Assembly Speaker] Diosdado Cabello* assures government had a ‘great victory’ on Feb. 23” were among the “highlights” one day last week as the government tottered, world powers weighed in, and protesters filled the squares and streets of the capital.

With independent newscasters such as CNN en Espanol long off the grid, even the Venezuela Aid Live concert on Friday proved too much for censors. The feared National Telecommunications Commission(Conatel), quickly blacked out offending cable channels’ signals.
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