Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked to address newsprint shortage in that country; press workers union says that as the self-described workers' president, he needs to act to preserve newspapers' jobs being threatened by the shortfall

CARACAS, Venezuela , May 12, 2014 () – Venezuela's SNTP press workers union released an open letter asking President Nicolas Maduro to address a shortage of newsprint that is affecting newspapers' ability to publish.

"You have said that you are a worker's president, and in that regard, in the name of the workers of the press, we ask you to arrange what needs to be done for the journalistic firms to receive the necessary resources to import paper and normalize their activities," said the SNTP.

"These are indispensable requirements to preserve the jobs and the salaries of those with whom we are concerned," the union added.

Several dailies have complained that the government has not authorized the foreign exchange required for the importation of newsprint, which has led them to reduce the number of pages in their publications and even suspend their circulation, a situation that they associate with an alleged intent to silence critical media outlets.

In Venezuela there is a system of exchange control that limits the availability of foreign currency.

The SNTP said that the workers have turned to the National Foreign Trade Center - which oversees the allocation of foreign exchange - without obtaining a response to their requests for information and rapidity in the procedures for which they are asking.

"We have expressed, in addition, our willingness to be part of the solution and to transform ourselves into comptrollers for the good use of the resources that are authorized for our sector," they added.

Pro-government lawmakers have noted that Venezuela finds itself in the midst of a process of revising its entire system of foreign-exchange allocation. EFE


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