VENEZUELA President Hugo Chavez has little changed the style of threatening, discrediting and insulting that he uses when referring to the media, their owners, directors and journalists. Several times he has tried to create class divisions. Organizations such as the National Union of Press Workers, the National Journalists Colegio and the International Federation of Journalists have publicly stated their concern about the escalation of verbal attacks on the press. Citizens have demonstrated their repudiation for the constant attacks, especially those describing the media as “antisocial.” The government stubbornly insists on exercising control of the news. Not only does it rely on the outlandish argument about truthfulness, but it also makes threats. Chavez usually motivates the public and incites them to collective hatred of publications, publishers, editors, journalists and columnists, by grotesquely discrediting them as a way to support his actions and destroy any opposition. The National Union of Press Workers and the International Federation of Journalists in a report in February emphasized this type of verbal aggression that is becoming more frequent and intense. “We can share with President Chávez any call for even-tempered, objective treatment of his administration, with respect for the truth. But we reject with profound institutional and democratic conviction bad treatment by the president of any citizen.” The courts have taken action against the publisher and editors of a weekly magazine. Dr. Pablo López Ulacio, publisher of La Razón, a political weekly, has been put on trial on charges brought by police. According to the defense counsel of the publisher of La Razón, the Inter-American Human Rights Court (IAHRC) ordered the Venezuelan state to take urgent steps to re-establish the journalist’s rights which were violated. But the documentation submitted by the IAHRC was supposedly lost and now the court alleges that it has not been officially informed of interim relief measures. “How can urgent measures to protect a citizen’s fundamental rights be adopted if the government retains, shelves and deliberately loses the documentation it received from the IAHRC?” asked López Ulacio’s defense lawyer. Also, repressive, violent and humiliating action was taken against lawyer and university professor Dr. Aure, for articles he published. While he was freed temporarily, thanks to the solidarity of journalists, he is still subjected to judicial investigative harassment. Journalists Perla Lara and Xiomara Marrero are being harassed and accused by deputies of the Legislative Council of Sucre state in Cumaná for reporting irregularities in the handling of 12 million bolívares by the council. Journalist Jorge Albornoz reported a series of attacks and threats by Guérico state Governor Eduardo Manuitt, who has been attacking him for eight months with a campaign to discredit him and with judicial actions. This shows that regional governments are imitating Chávez’s aggressive speech against the press, but with concrete actions. On a recent visit to Nicaragua, Chávez made a number of statements aggressively criticizing the press for stories he did not like. Finally, the Revista Exceso case came to a final conclusion on October 13, 2000, when the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's dismissal of the case on September 12, 2000, ordering the plaintiff to pay costs. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the Supreme Court does not review decisions of this kind under Venezuelan law, the plaintiff's attorneys have frivolously tried to appeal. The Criminal Division of the Supreme Court (docket no. 2000/1491) has still not determined whether it will hear the appeal. If it does not, the case will be closed and considered res judicata as to both substance and procedural issues. But even if it does, the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges is a matter of public policy, so the Supreme Court would be reluctant to disregard it.