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Parliamentary leader Juan Guaidó creates Presidential Commission to restructure Telesur

*This story has been updated.

Juan Guaidó, Venezuelan opposition leader, announced on Twitter that he will “rescue” the state channel Telesur – which also covers news from Latin America – “to put it at the service of truth, plurality, Venezuelan and regional democracy.”

Guaidó was elected president of the National Assembly on Jan. 5, 2019, when he was a congressman. Soon, and with the current political, economic and social crisis in the country, Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela on Jan. 23 of that year. At the beginning of 2020, the opposition ratified him as leader of the National Assembly, and more than 50 countries around the world have come to recognize him as the president in charge of Venezuela, even though Nicolás Maduro is still in office.

For the restructuring of Telesur, Guaidó has decided to create a Presidential Commission that will be made of a team of independent professionals that he will define in the next few days, the Venezuelan site Efecto Cocuyo published.

On Jan. 15, the creation of a commission to reorganize Telesur was approved by the opposition majority of Parliament, as reported by EFE.

Journalist Leopoldo Castillo was named as president of the commission, but had not responded to the news, the news agency added. Journalist Larissa Patiño was named as general coordinator and assumed the responsibility via Twitter, it said.

Telesur was created in 2005 by the then-presidents of Venezuela and Cuba, Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, respectively, with the initial and eventual support of other countries in the region such as Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia. The Venezuelan cable channel still has branches in most of those countries, except Argentina.

In 2016, Argentina announced it planned to financially withdraw from Telesur and that the signal would no longer run on public television.

"Since its creation, Telesur has been used to promote the destabilization of the region, support terrorist groups, attack democracy, lie about Venezuela and defend the Maduro dictatorship," Guaidó said via Twitter.

Juan Guaidó U.S. Embassy Brasilia [Public domain]

In response, the president of the state media outlet, Patricia Villegas, said in a Jan. 14 statement that Telesur is an alternative to the large hegemonic news networks and that it enhances the identity, culture and feelings of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

They yearn to expropriate our signal and cut off a communicational platform that has served for the meeting of the peoples of the Global South,” Villegas said. Through the statement, she also invoked the help of governments, institutions, journalistic organizations and the people of the region to defend the platform and the right to information.

The current president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, showed his support for Telesur on Twitter. "We strongly reject threats against the voice and image of the peoples that fight and resist the imperial onslaught," the Cuban president said on the social network.


*This story was updated to include news from the Venezuelan Parliament.


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