The worst news these days in Colombia: weekly Cambio‘s closure. Supposedly it is because of ecomical reasons, but many in the country think it is for being too critical. Moreover the El Tiempo Editorial House fired Cambio’s director Rodrigo Pardo and editor María Elvira Samper. They told daily El Espectador that they were in full deadline for the last issue when they were fired.
That is not a very elegant way to deal with your employees when the reason of closure is financial, which would mean: not necessarily their fault. It is an indication that those who say Cambio was closed because it was critical towards the government are right.
Cambio improved a lot since Rodrigo Pardo directed it. It started investigating and revealing important matters, such as the use of Colombian military bases by the United States army and the Agro Ingreso Seguro Scandal. Its prestige increased and also the critics towards its journalists. Supposedly they were sympathizers of the guerrilla, as is said more often of critics of the right wing Uribe government in Colombia.
There are several people who are not pleased with Cambio‘s critical attitude: Colombia’s president Uribe and his supporters, the Santos family, owners of El Tiempo and perhaps also Grupo Planeta in Spain, that owns El Tiempo Editorial House (and therefore Cambio as well) now. Planeta is one of the companies interested in the third television channel which the Colombian government is putting into the market. Thus it cannot afford a very critical attitude towards the government.
It’s usually Venezuela’s president Chávez who receives fierce critizims for his hostile attitude towards critical media. But in this case El Tiempo, which is dominated by the Santos family, which includes a former Defense Minister who’d love to be Colombia’s next president and the now vice-president, puts itself under the same suspicion.