Senator Abetz’s claim in the Mercury today that (Venezuelan President) “Chavez closed down TV stations for failing to broadcast his Presidential speeches” is ridiculous.

Socialist Alliance state election candidate Melanie Barnes, who visited Venezuela in 2006, said “In fact the TV stations were closed by the National Telecommunications Commission for failing to comply with the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television.”

“The most notorious of these is RCTV who actively supported a coup d’etat against democratically elected President Chavez in April 2002. This kind of behaviour would not be tolerated in Australia and it is not in Venezuela either. RCTV have continually violated broadcasting laws in Venezuela, before and after the election of Chavez.”

“Senator Abetz’s disparaging comments about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are an insult to the Venezuelan people who democratically elected him” said Barnes.

Barnes visited Venezuela as an observer for the 2006 Presidential elections.

“The Carter Institute declared these elections free and fair, as did other international bodies. Chavez is hugely popular. Senator Abetz is clearly misrepresenting the real situation when he calls Chavez a despot.”

The Venezuelan government, led by Chavez, have just nationalised supermarket chain Exito in response to price speculation offenses, breaking unfair dismissal laws, failing to pay minimum wages and failing to meet occupational health and safety standards.

(Trade Minister Eduardo Samán

“If we had this kind of leadership in Tasmania then our dairy farmers would not be being ripped off” said Barnes.

Authorised by Susan Austin, 225 Murray St, Hobart, 7000.
Melanie Barnes Socialist Alliance