¡Viva Venezuela Libre!

Our Venezuelan friends are painfully aware of what Castro’s favorite hand-puppet, Hugo Chavez, is quickly becoming. News is out that they’re beginning to take steps against the would-be next Great Caudillo of Latin America:

Taking a cue from the Cuban-American exile community, Venezuelans in South Florida are turning to radio to slam their homeland’s controversial leader and unify their community.

The move is happening on two fronts: Venezuelan radio networks are buying time on local airwaves, broadcasting fiery political talk shows directly from Caracas; and Cuban-owned stations in South Florida are hiring Venezuelan journalists to produce shows that blast President Hugo Chavez’s self-styled Bolivarian revolution.

“Venezuelans here have to launch their fight through the local media. It’s what I call civic activism on the air,” said Ricardo Guanipa, of Weston, a radio journalist and former correspondent for Venezuela’s El Nacional newspaper.

A Chavez critic who sought asylum in Florida in 2005 after receiving death threats in Caracas, Guanipa is planning an evening talk show on La Poderosa [670 AM in Miami] focused exclusively on Venezuela.

Venezuelan exiles say they want to use talk radio much in the same way Cuban-Americans have for decades. Many also hope the U.S. government eventually will finance a Radio Marti-style station for their country.

The idea gained traction in a bill sponsored by Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, in 2005. So far, however, the government’s only plans are to increase the Voice of America’s Venezuela programming, said spokesman John O’Connell.

Best of luck to our Venezuelan friends as they learn from what has happened to Cuba and try their best to nip Chavez in the bud.