A renowned Venezuelan journalist broke protocol and has since lost her job after honoring the life of the anti-socialist rebellion leader Oscar Pérez, killed by security forces following a violent standoff.
Alba Cecilia Mujica, who works for the Chavista-controlled television network Globovisión, made the remarks during her daily program Mujeres en Todo, a day after the government announced it had killed Pérez and five other dissidents during a military operation.
“What happened yesterday did not even give him the opportunity to hand himself in, allowing him to be processed, as has happened before with this government,” she said. “What happened also blinded the lives of many innocent people who were in the house of El Junquito, blinded the lives of police officers who were in the operation, of groups that do not know why they were there.”
“What happened yesterday should not happen anymore, we should think about peace and moving forward,” she added. “These are my words for today to reflect on. ”
Mujica has since been fired from her role but said she felt “proud and at peace” that she did not avoid what needed to be said. Her program ended after 17 years.
Gracias por tanta solidaridad. Fueron 17 años y medio llenos de buenos y malos momentos. Me siento orgullosa y en paz de no haber callado lo que tenía que decir. Infinitas gracias
— Alba Cecilia Mujica (@albacmujica) January 17, 2018
Pérez, who became a household name in Venezuela for his efforts fighting against the regime – including attacking the country’s supreme court from a police helicopter and detaining members of the military – posted a series of videos on Instagram on Monday with his face covered in blood, the military appearing to have cornered him as part of a government-sponsored manhunt.
“They’re shooting at us with RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades],” he says in one of the videos. “There are civilians inside here. We said we’d turn ourselves in, but they don’t want to let us turn ourselves in. They want to kill us.”
Authorities later confirmed they had killed Pérez and five other members of his militias.
Prior to 2013, Globovisión served as a thorn in the side of the ruling regime. That year, however, Chavista advocates launched a takeover that radically changed its editorial stance in favor of the socialist regime.
Freedom of the press has been an issue in Venezuela since the rule of Hugo Chávez. By 2009, at least 34 private radio stations had been shut down as the regime repeatedly tried to pull networks critical of the government including Globovision off the air by intimidating its employees.
Last July, a reporter for the state-run propaganda network Venezuelan Television (VTV) referred to the ruling regime as a “dictatorship,” although the journalist in question did not appear to lose her job.