Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
Several comrades and friends from Venezuela and abroad, with the best of intentions, suggested that we should celebrate the 3000th edition of Tribuna Popular, which had been scheduled several years ago to come out of the printing presses last August.
To all of them, and now also to the rest of our devoted readers, we wish to convey that, unfortunately, we have nothing to celebrate, because, after 70 years and five months during which we were able to print 2998 editions –including the 269 issued in clandestinity during the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship and the armed struggle of the 1960s–, the printing of the historic press organ of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) has been interrupted, and not by our decision or will.
The 13th National Conference of PCV (August 8 through 10, 2014), in a document entitled The Marxist-Leninist organization, pointed out that «the Party conquers its leading role in the heat of direct contact with the masses during the struggles of the working class and the people», and that «Tribuna Popular is the only instrument that gives us a dynamic of distribution, agitation, organization, education and sales, which allows us to lubricate and strengthen a disciplined party structure able to prepare and lead the proletarian revolution». Therefore, the suspension of the printing of the Party’s newspaper is not an event to celebrate.
While it is true that there is a global trend towards the gradual migration of news readers to digital media, it is also true that in our country and in the rest of the world, printed media still have a large audience eager to get information and analysis on paper.
Those who live only in the impersonal and artificial world of the so-called «social networks», would say that «the printed newspaper is neither profitable nor influential anymore». This is a wrong conception, since, both in Latin America and in the countries of developed capitalism, daily and weekly newspapers, of national and provincial reach, with dozens of pages, still have millions of readers and thousands of advertisers.
What has been happening in Venezuela –reductions of the number of pages and of the print runs, changes from daily to weekly frequency in the few remaining printed papers (including those that enjoy Government funding), the shutdown of printed editions and their substitution with digital-only ones, or even the final termination of dozens of newspapers, newsstands and bookstores– is not the result of a natural process of adaption to the changing tastes and interests of the target audience.
The intensification of the crisis of the dependent and rentier model of Venezuelan capitalism, has brought as a consequence a sharp reduction of imports and a shortage of all goods that are not produced domestically, such as paper, printing plates and inks, machinery and spare parts for printing presses. This situation has been seized by a hegemonic group in the Government that prioritizes digital media, as an opportunity to show off the «modernity» of our country and the allegedly massive use of «smart» cell phones; but the reality is that the prices of those devices, as well as those of computers, put them out of reach for most people, which restricts extraordinarily the possibilities of disseminating and accessing the diversity of opinions and points of view about current events. And this should not be celebrated either.
Carlos Aquino G.
Editor-in-Chief of Tribuna Popular
Caracas, October 8th, 2018.