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The Maduro regime has taken over the offices of one of Venezuela’s last remaining independent newspapers — a move that throws the country’s efforts to cozy up to Washington into disarray.
Venezuelan national guardsmen decked out in bulletproof vests raided El Nacional late Friday, acting on a high court order to take the property as part of a $13 million judgment against the media outlet, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
The headquarters was almost empty as staffers have been working from home and it’s an online publication.
But the paper’s seizure could hamper President Nicolas Maduro’s attempts to win allies in the Biden administration. The country is suffering from the result of sanctions levied against it by President Trump for human rights violations, fraud and corruption.
Free press advocates and human rights activists have slammed the ruling, the Journal reported.
Diosdado Cabello, a leader in Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party who filed the civil defamation suit against the newspaper that led to the Supreme Court authorizing its seizure, has said that he wants to turn the publication’s headquarters into a pro-regime communications school.
El Nacional’s director said the newspaper would continue its reporting online.
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