Venezuela's El Nacional newspaper to cease print edition

Venezuela's last nationally circulated, opposition newspaper will stop publishing its print edition amid unrelenting government pressure and paper shortages, editors said Thursday.

El Nacional's final edition will run Friday after 75 years in print. It will become an exclusively online publication, leaders of the newspaper said.

"We've endured longer than the others," El Nacional's president and CEO Miguel Otero told the Spanish newspaper ABC. "But in the end we could not persist."

El Nacional is known for its harsh criticism of the government of Venezuela, a once-wealthy oil nation that has been plunged into turmoil under two decades of socialist rule.

Both late President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro have had strained relations with the media and accused journalists of contributing to anti-government plots and publishing fake news.

Otero told ABC that government controls on imported paper were one of the biggest obstacles.

He also said that pressure against El Nacional and its executives had mounted over the last 15 years, citing an onslaught of lawsuits, tax reviews and advertising restrictions.

Otero fled the country several years ago to escape threats of prosecution by authorities.

More than a dozen other local newspapers in the South American country have also ceased circulation in recent years.

Editors and reporters in the newsroom Thursday morning said they're undaunted, pressing ahead to deliver critical news to readers online.

In a letter sent to employees and published on the El Nacional website, Jorge Makriniotis, the paper's general manager, vowed to continue.

"El Nacional has not died but is reinvented to bet on the future," Makriniotis said. "Because nobody is going to shut us up."