Chavez, that populist champion of the common man, has followed the path of hubris to close the most popular TV station in Venezuela, the 53-year-old RCTV.
Why? He accused the station of supporting the 2002 coup against him, of some apparently trumped-up violations, and of fostering capitalism with its soap operas. The people of Venezuela will now have to be satisfied with the sterner stuff of state TV, which will replace it.
I doubt this particular move will enhance Chavez’s popularity. But since abolishing certain constitutional guarantees and consolidating his power, he no longer needs to be popular, and the people of Venezuela may find they don’t have much to say about it anymore except to protest and have water cannons fired at them.