When Ewald Scharfenberg, the founding editor of the Venezuelan investigative news website Armando.Info, holds editorial meetings, he pulls out his mobile phone. That’s because most of his reporters are in Venezuela while Scharfenberg lives and works in neighboring Colombia.
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was rumored to be gravely ill four years ago, his socialist government was tightlipped about the diagnosis. Then in June 2011 a source in Havana, Cuba, where Chávez was being treated, told Nelson Bocaranda, a veteran columnist for the Caracas daily El Universal, that the president had cancer.
Amid skyrocketing inflation and shortages of basic goods, Venezuelan authorities claim that an “economic war” is being waged against the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro. The government is striking back by forcing stores to discount prices, by arresting business owners accused of hoarding–and by targeting journalists trying to cover the grim economic news.