Target: National Center for Foreign Trade, Venezuela
Goal: Provide paper for journalists to continue reporting the news in Venezuela
Journalists in Venezuela are rapidly losing their jobs, and their voice. A serious paper shortage has prevented journalists from providing news to the community. Miguel Henrique Otero, editor-in-chief of El Nacional, one of Venezuela’s largest daily newspapers, recently reported that they only possess enough paper reserves to last until February, at which time they will be forced to stop printing the news. It is crucial that newspapers be given the paper they need in order to inform the public of what is going on in their community.
Journalists and students protested the paper shortage, demanding that the government auction off dollars so that newspapers can buy newsprint. Crowds reportedly shouted, “The press is in agony, help Venezuela!” Nine regional daily papers have already shut down, and some of the main media chains are now experiencing dire difficulties. Marco Ruiz, secretary general of the National Press Workers Syndicate, agrees, “There is an emergency situation that must be resolved immediately.”
A number of Latin American newspapers import their paper from Canada. However, since the Venezuelan government has restricted access to dollars, they have run out of the paper money needed in order to import newsprint. El Impulso and Correo de Caroni currently have only a week’s worth of paper remaining, while El Sol de Maturin, Antorcha, Caribe, La Hora and Version stopped operating in August 2013. El Guayanes and El Expreso closed earlier in the month.
Worst of all, many journalists worry that authorities want the newsprint shortage in order to silence the newspapers’ voice. Newspapers provide one of the last openly critical voices, scrutinizing the leftist government after a recent crackdown on broadcasters. Authorities deny those claims, counter-claiming that newspapers may be hoarding paper in an attempt to destabilize the government in what they call the political opposition’s “economic war”. This is hard to believe, however, when newspapers are losing their voice against governmental corruption in the process. Demand that the National Center for Foreign Trade lift the restrictions on paper money, allowing newspapers to purchase the newsprint they desperately need in order to continue being the voice of the people in their community.
Dear National Center for Foreign Trade,
Lift the restriction placed on dollars in Venezuela, so that journalists can purchase newsprint imported from Canada in order to continue providing news to the public. Newspapers are shutting down due to a lack of paper on which to print—with no paper, newspapers cannot exist. Journalists are losing their jobs, and most importantly, the people of Venezuela are losing their voice.
There are rumors that authorities are delighted by end of journalism in Venezuela. No longer will a prominent voice speak out against governmental corruption. No more will leaders be under scrutiny by the people. No longer will the people have a voice, and they will not stand for it. Provide the currency necessary for newspapers to purchase the newsprint they need to continue being the voice of the people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jon S via Flickr