Latin American presidents vs. the media in 2010

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  • January 7, 2010

Don’t expect relations between Hugo Chávez and the U.S. media to improve in 2010. Venezuela’s government long ago declared war on “media terrorism,” its term for news organizations that criticize Chávez from within and outside the country. Chávez recently slammed the U.S. magazine Newsweek for its predictions that in 2010 Chávez faces another coup and that his mentor Fidel Castro will die this year in Cuba.

“They feed on hatred and the wishes of the imperialism that they represent — big money, big newspapers, the TV stations of the global bourgeoisie,” Chávez said of Newsweek, Reuters reports.

The Guardian’s Rory Carroll explains that Venezuela is one of several South American countries where governments have named the media as a political obstacle.

As for Cuba, Newsweek bodly predicts that “Castro Dies, U.S. Relations Improve,” in its 10 World Predictions for 2010.

Castro, who is 83, was recently shown on three Nicaraguan websites using a wheelchair, possibly the first time images of that kind have ever been released since he underwent emergency surgery in 2006, the Miami Herald's Juan Tamayo reports. The photographs’ authenticity had not been confirmed, but the images on El 19La Voz del Sandinismo and El Pueblo Presidente appear to look real. They show Castro seated in what has been called a “companion wheelchair,” during visits by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in April and December.

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.