Miami (March 9, 2020).- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the sustained accusations against journalists in Venezuela by Deputy Diosdado Cabello, one of the highest authorities of the Nicolás Maduro regime.
Cabello, vice president of the official Socialist United Party of Venezuela, has repeatedly accused journalists and communicators of the National Assembly in his weekly program "Con el mazo dando." In recent days, he threatened that direct measures could be taken against journalists who destabilize the country by, according to him, "spreading fake news about acts of violence" against Juan Guaidó, the interim president of Venezuela who is recognized by sixty countries.
On February 29, Guaidó reported that he was the victim of attempted murder.
IAPA President Christopher Barnes and President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, condemned the hostility and the stigmatizing expressions, by a public official, which have the potential to incite violence against journalists.
In a complaint sent to the IAPA by Edward Rodríguez Jiménez, director of Communications and Institutional Relations of the National Assembly, who is also head of Guaidó's office, argued that with the accusation of "destabilization" of the country through the dissemination of fake news, Cabello seeks to justify the imprisonment of journalists and opponents..
Barnes, director of the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, and Rock, director of the Mexican news portal La Silla Rota, agreed that the accusations along with verbal and physical aggressions against journalists have become instruments of pressure to silence the press.
The IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.