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Venezuela, Curbing Press Freedom By Blocking Paper Supply

Anti-government protesters last month in Valencia, Venezuela
Anti-government protesters last month in Valencia, Venezuela

Ultima Hora — Aug. 30, 2017

ACARIGUA The political crisis in Venezuela is threatening freedom of the press in a new way. The daily newspaper Ultima Hora ("The Last Hour") has printed its final edition — at least for now — after it ran out of newsprint stock. " ¡Pausa Obligada!" ("Forced Break") was the front-page headline Wednesday, announcing the editor's decision to halt the publication of the paper edition for the first time since its founding in 1974.

Nestor Ramirez, editor-in-chief of the daily, based in the western state of Portuguesa, wrote that the country's sole newsprint supplier, which is controlled by the state, had cut off paper supplies because of Ultima Hora's critical coverage of President Nicolas Maduro. The French Press Agency AFP reports tens of newspapers in Venezuela, including El Nacional, had to turn into online news website or reduce their page number following the paper shortage.

Amid an ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela, limiting newsprint supplies is hardly the only way the government has clamped down on unfriendly media. According to Venezuelan's Union of Press Worker, 49 media outlets have been shut down by Maduro's administration since the start of 2017, French newspaper La Croix reports. Also, two popular radio stations in Caracas were taken off the air on Aug. 26 after broadcasting for more than 30 years.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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