literature winner Harold Pinter, film-maker John Pilger and Tony Benn have called for support for the Venezuelan government's decision not
to renew the licence of the RCTV television station. Academics, trade unionists and student leaders also backed the call.
In a letter they say that the decision of the "Venezuelan government
not to renew the broadcasting licence of RCTV when it expires on May
27 is legitimate given that RCTV has used its access to the public
airwaves to repeatedly call for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Hugo Chávez" and point out that ''RCTVgave vital practical support'' to the military coup against Hugo Chavez in April 2002.
They explain that 'RCTV, far from being silenced, is being allowed to continue broadcasting by satellite and cable' and ask people to
"Imagine the consequences if the BBC or ITV were found to be part of a coup against the government," and urges Venezuela to be given "the
The letter and a number of its signatories appeared in The Guardian
newspaper (26 May). The letter and its signatories are below:
We believe that the decision of the Venezuelan government not to renew the broadcasting licence of RCTV when it expires on May 27 is
legitimate given that RCTV has used its access to the public airwaves to repeatedly call for the overthrow of the democratically elected
government of President Hugo Chávez.
Leading voices in Britain call for respect for Venezuelan government's
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Revolution in Higher Education - Mission Alma Mater
30th May 2007
President Chavez announced plans to dramatically expand higher
education in Venezuela. Here are some details:
On Thursday, at an event with university students from around the
country, Chavez also announced the launch of the first phase of
Mission Alma Mater, which is supposed to dramatically increase the
country's higher education system. Chavez explained that this phase of the new program will go from 2007 to 2012 and will have the objective of constructing 28 national universities in different parts of the country.
"There will be 11 new national universities, in addition to 13
regional ones, and 4 new technical institutes," explained Chavez. He
went on to explain that the new national universities will be
organized into the following specializations: University of Health
Sciences, University of Basic Sciences, University of Art,University of Hydrocarbons, University of Security, University of Languages,University of the South, University of Economy and Fiscal Sciences, University of Tourism, University of Communications, and a Universityof Agricultural Sciences.
Chavez also announced that the 29 existing technological institutes
and technical schools in the country will be converted into technicaluniversities.