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Vice President of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) wins landmark libel case Printer friendly page Print This
By Arturo Rosales | Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018

In a landmark legal ruling, the Vice President of Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV), Diosdado Cabello Rondón, won a libel case filed in 2015 against one of Venezuela’s oldest and most prestigious daily newspapers, El Nacional.

The newspaper republished an article in 2015 from Spain's ABC newspaper accusing Cabello of being involved in drug trafficking and money laundering with an imaginary drug cartel called “Cartel de los Soles. (Soles are the equivalent of stars for generals in the US military, so the name of the cartel implied that active military generals were associated with drug trafficking along with Cabello).

The same article was published by the Washington Post and an opposition web site called La Patilla as well as El Nacional. The legal actions against ABC in Spain and the Post in the US were dismissed, but the legal action in Venezuela against La Patilla and El Nacional was admitted and went to trial.

The court found in favour of Cabello and ordered El Nacional to pay one billion bolivares in compensation for defamation and moral damage to his character. On the black market this sum may only be $12,500, but the newspaper has already started a campaign against the judgment on its web site talking about the “threats to freedom of speech” and the normal garbage it spouts when it has been caught lying in the past.

In all likelihood, the newspaper, whose owner Miguel Otero now lives in Spain as a Spanish citizen and is supremely arrogant, may refuse to pay the compensation to his archenemy Cabello. If this turns out to be the case, Cabello has already taken steps to expropriate the newspaper and become the new owner. His plan would be to hand the newspaper over to the working class as a vehicle to represent their views and struggles.

Having followed the reporting in El Nacional for more than 20 years, I can say with no hesitation that it has been nigh unto impossible to find an article that is not slanted in some negative way against the Bolivarian revolution, or is simply cheap propaganda.

There will obviously be a media campaign against this ruling, probably on the basis that there is no separation of state powers in Venezuela and everything is run by the Executive.

Let that be the tactic of the private and international media; but this serves as a lesson not to lie for political purposes in Venezuela which has been a consistent feature of opposition reporting for far too long, as part of the psychological and media war being waged on the population.

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