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Is Hugo Chavez Trying to Keep IAPA Meeting out of Venezuela?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Is Hugo Chavez Trying to Keep IAPA Meeting out of Venezuela?

Article excerpt

Top officials of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) believe pressure from the Hugo Chavez government is behind a Venezuelan hotel's sudden cancellation as the press freedom group's spring 2008 meeting.

IAPA's executive committee will discuss changing the site of its mid-year meeting next March after a hotel in Maracaibo, Venezuela, withdrew its offer to be the meeting venue.

IAPA had already moved the meeting to Maracaibo because the host committee of Venezuelan publishers were unable to book hotels in the capital Caracas or on Margarita Island.

The host committee told IAPA the hotel in Maracaibo backed out "due to the prevailing situation in the South American country."

IAPA and the Chavez government have been harshly critical of each other for years.

At its mid-year meeting this March IAPA delegates adopted a resolution "to denounce before the international community the dictatorial violation of freedom of expression by the regime of Lt. Col. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela."

Chavez's government stoutly rejects criticism from IAPA, which it portrays as a self-interested group of rich publishers. …

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