Venezuela just became the proud owner of a Nicaraguan television channel, Telenica (Canal 8 ). The Venezuelans themselves confirmed to El Nuevo Diario that the money for the purchase of the channel came from ALBA de Nicaragua S.A., a corporation founded to manage incoming Venezuelan petrodollar handouts that is, in point of fact, 51% owned by Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA).
The purchase is just the latest addition to the swelling business holdings of President Daniel Ortega, according to an excellent round-up on the whole affair published in The Nica Times. The purchase also appears to be another step in the silencing of independent media outlets by ALBA countries. From the El Nuevo Diario article:
The change in the news and information profile of Channel 8 was evident just one week after orteguismo took control of the media. Now it broadcasts international reports from the Telesur network, of which the son of the presidential couple – Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo – is part owner. Government spokesman William Grisgby appeared with his program “Without Borders,” replacing “Tonight” with Carlos Fernando Chamorro. Several vignettes of Daniel Ortega talking during various activities appear during the commercials.
The article also points out that Nicaraguan law bans corporations majority owned by foreigners to own major media outlets, although that doesn’t appear to have made much of a difference.