Washington, DC — In response to the Venezuelan government’s removal from the airwaves of independent Venezuelan television station RCTV and several other broadcasters, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), today issued the following comment:

“Hugo Chavez continues to deny the rights of the Venezuelan people by trying to silence their voices. The timing of this latest move is clear: As Venezuela prepares for parliamentary elections this fall, removing truly independent voices from the airwaves will essentially eliminate any meaningful public discourse on politics. President Chavez has long shown an intolerance for free expression by anyone outside his own studio; pulling the plug on a rival TV station goes against the principles of a democratic society and distances Venezuela from engaging responsibly with the international community.”