Venezuelan broadcaster under fire for criticism

In its continued bid to pressure Globovision, Venezuela’s last broadcaster openly critical of President Hugo Chavez, the government is hitting the commercial news web where it hurts most — its pocketbook.

The government recently fined Globovision $3 million for allegedly using unauthorized microwave transmissions and evading taxes on political ads.

It’s tough enough that both are old grievances dug up again to suppress Venezuela’s last terrestrial web (the government shuttered RCTV, the country’s oldest broadcaster, for its anti-Chavez stance two years ago) but when Globovision staffers went June 16 to request forms to pay the fine, they were told it had increased to $4.19 million.

Supporters are setting up a fund to help Globovision pay the fines.

Chavez’s critics believe the renewed pressure is the latest bid to silence a dissenting voice as he consolidates power.

Globovision prexy Guillermo Zuluaga was charged with usury in connection with his car dealership and — in an even more bizarre twist — is under investigation for illegal possession of dissected wildlife, including tigers, lions and buffalo.

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