President of Venezuela since 2013
Predator since taking office
Venezuela, 148th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index
PREDATORY METHOD: Censorship and deliberately orchestrated economic strangulation
The Maduro administration’s authoritarian and abusive treatment of independent media has not let up since 2017. Journalists are subjected to arbitrary arrest and violence by the police and intelligence services. The National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) strips overly critical radio and TV stations of their broadcast frequencies, and coordinates Internet cuts, social media blocking and confiscation of equipment. Most opposition print media have not survived all the various forms of harassment, while online media are subjected to repeated cyber-attacks that make their reporting more and more complex and expensive. Foreign reporters are often arrested, questioned and deported. Many of Venezuelan journalists have been forced to flee the country since 2018 because of the threats and physical dangers.
FAVOURITE TARGETS: Privately-owed media, the newspaper El Nacional
OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Paranoid denigration
“Much of the media war to which Venezuela is being subjected is designed to ensure that no one comes near Venezuela, that no one comes to invest, although Venezuela is the best country in the world to invest in.” (Speech on 11 February 2019 launching “Marca País” (Country Brand), an initiative intended to promote tourism and exports and show the “real country.”)
“I denounce the international campaign waged by CNN in Spanish, this laboratory of lies, psychological warfare and garbage against the country, against Venezuela. A campaign that is also organised by NTN24, a trashy television channel funded by the paramilitary Alvaro Uribe, and by the Miami Herald, the media that is the depository of all the lies against Venezuela (...) [Media) that are full of hate, rage and madness. [Media] that try to poison and to pour their poison on Venezuela and the world.” (Speech at the inauguration of 80 homes at Caricuao, Caracas, on 18 September 2014).