Hugo Chávez is back on TV — but banned in Venezuela

A much-awaited and controversial TV series about the life of Venezuela’s former President Hugo Chávez began airing this week, but there’s one place where it won’t be seen: his homeland.

According to multiple media reports and social media posts, “El Comandante” — produced by Sony Pictures Television and being broadcast by Colombia’s RCN — is being blocked on Venezuelan carriers.

“Blocking the transmission of ‘El Comandante’ reminds us of theocratic regimes that burned and banned books,” Venezuelan Opposition Deputy José Guerra wrote on Twitter. A Caracas-based, free-speech group Entorno Publico, has been posting links to the series online inviting viewers to “outsmart the censors.”

President Nicolás Maduro blasted the TV show before it ever aired, saying the cash-strapped administration would finance its own biopic. State-run television in Venezuela has been running documentaries about the late leader, who succumbed to an undisclosed form of cancer in 2013.

“No trans-national is going to come here and disfigure our Commander Hugo Chávez,” Maduro said in August - but it’s unclear if and when the Venezuelan version might be aired.