Colombian newspapers send 52 tons of paper to Venezuelan dailies affected by shortage

By Samantha Badgen

The Colombian newspaper association Andiarios on April 1 sent 52 tons of newsprint paper from Cartagena to Venezuelan newspapers affected by the lack of printing paper in the country.

Andiarios is sending the paper as a loan to El Nacional, El Impulso and El Nuevo País, three of the most important newspapers in Venezuela.

“It’s a great initiative of solidarity [...] since these are the newspapers that are experiencing the worst crisis,” said Miguel Henrique Otero, editor of El Nacional, according to the Associated Press.

According to the news agency, the cost of the paper sent was approximately 70 million pesos (or about $35,000), according to Nora Sanín, Andiario's executive director who added that the loan would be repaid by the Venezuelan press once they got through the crisis.

However, it’s estimated that the 52 tons of paper will only be enough for 15 days of normal circulation. Sanín invited newspapers and press freedom organizations in other countries to help the Venezuelan press as well.

“The Venezuelan press has stood tall, it’s made major efforts to keep informing and it deserves the support of newspapers around the world,” she said.

The loan is part of the campaign “We are all Venezuela. Without freedom of the press there is no democracy,” promoted by Andiarios, through which many newspapers in the region have published articles and information from Venezuelan media as an act of solidarity with the country’s press.

According to Espacio Público, a non governmental organization dedicated to promoting the defense of human rights and freedom of expression in Venezuela, the difficulties faced by the local press have resulted in 13 newspapers stopping circulation and another 17 reducing their page count. One of these cases is El Nacional, which has been unable to purchase paper since May last year.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.