Let’s set aside the normative debate over RCTV for a moment (debated very extensively here) and just address the political implications. I have to wonder whether Chávez grasped how extensive the outcry would be. At least for the moment, what he’s done is to breath new life into a splintered opposition. A week ago, outside
The government claims that the protests are all manipulated, though thus far the evidence they present is thin at best. For Chávez, however, it’s a moot point—controlled or not, manipulated or not, the protests started because he handed his opponents a gift on a golden platter. They needed an issue to grab onto, something to unite them and to bring unfavorable international attention. Now let's see whether this escalates or whether it just eventually fizzles out.