Mérida, August 1st 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday morning drive-by shooters attacked the regional offices of state owned community television Vive TV, causing injuries to two workers.
The Vive branch, located in Maracaibo, Zulia state, was the first regional branch of the station set up after Vive was founded by the Venezuelan government in 2003.
Vive’s programming consists of cultural and education shows. Unlike the other state owned station, VTV, which is highly studio based, 90% of Vive’s content is created outside the studio. Vive is known for its grassroots and community-based, and created, coverage and it has also organised tens of thousands of media production workshops around country.
The president of Vive television, Ricardo Marquez, said the head of the channel’s security informed him that a white Jeep Grand Cherokee drove up to the offices, wound down its window half way in order to point a gun through it, and fired eight shots at the office.
The coordinator of Vive for the region, Jose Mendez, said the jeep had been stolen ten minutes before the shooting, and the owner of the jeep had already gone to police, while the jeep itself is being examined.
Marquez said the location of the Vive office was well known so the shooting was most likely aimed at “causing fear among the workers of the channel”.
According to the radio station YVKE Mundial, Vive workers stated that they will “continue fighting the communication battle, they won’t intimidate nor silence the work that is being carried out for the National System of Public Media and for the people”.
Mendez said that the Zulia branch has “always been in the eye of the hurricane, has worked in the mountains with the indigenous communities, with the rural workers, and with the most exploited people of the [region of the] South of the Lake, and against mafias who go about openly in Zulia and who generate a climate of anxiety and insecurity”.
Francisco Arias, a United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader in the region, said the national government and intelligence organisations would investigate the attack. He also demanded the Zulian state government help with the investigation.
Referring to the governor of Zulia, who is a member of the opposition, he said, “He has to be here, not in Washington. He should attend to the problems that are occurring in Zulia, he should support the efforts of the national government to triumph in the face of the mafia and organised crime.”
Pablo Perez, the Zulia state governor, has spent the week in Washington attending a conference where he is ratifying his intentions to run for president in the 2012 elections.