Kyrgyz, Venezuelan presidents silence opposition

Bad news for freedom of speech on opposite sides of the planet. The presidents of both Kygyzstan and Venezuela seem to have gone litigation-happy against opposition figures.

Most recently, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev announced he will sue the opposition newspaper MSN after it published a list of media and telecommunications companies owned by Akayev or members of his family. Akayev said the paper was guilty of "systematic information terror" against his family. MSN editor Rina Prizhivoit said the move was aimed at forcing the paper into bankruptcy. Reporters Without Borders accused Akayev of using his control of Kyrgyz media "to smear or neutralize the opposition" ahead of the upcoming elections. (AP, Feb. 18)

A few days earlier in Venezuela, opposition attorney Tulio Alvarez was convicted of "aggravated defamation" after he accused National Assembly president William Lara, a Chavez loyalist, of embezzling. Alvarez had published allegations that Chavez won the August recall referendum through fraud. (Venezuelanalysis, Feb. 11)

I know all us lefties are supposed to be cheering on Chavez, but this doesn’t smell very good, does it?

See our last post on Venezuela.