Venezuela: Chavez Joined Twitter

April 28th, 2010   Uncategorized

Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has joined the microblogging site Twitter. Twitter has become a phenomenon in Venezuela, where the rate of internet users and profiles in social sites is the highest of all Latin America. Chavez first Twitter message was short as it has to be (maximum 140 characters): “How’s it going? I am appearing as I said: at midnight. Going to Brasil. And very happy to work for Venezuela. We shall overcome!!” Knowing how devoted Chavez is to give long speeches (of several hours), the question is how he is going to master the world of Twitter.

“The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms,” Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has said. Among other things he is angry with Venezuelan political opinion and gossip website Noticierodigital, which he said had falsely written that Diosdado Cabello, a senior minister and close aide, had been assassinated. “We have to act. We are going to ask the attorney general for help, because this is a crime. I have information that this page periodically publishes stories calling for a coup d’etat. That cannot be permitted.”

Social networking web sites like Twitter and Facebook are very popular among Venezuela’s opposition movements to organize protests against the government. Chavez has complained that people use such sites to spread unfounded rumors. Many opponents fear Chavez plans to emulate the government oversight of the Web used by allies Cuba, China and Iran, but the socialist leader has not given any sign that he is planning such a move.

So far, Chavez main interest has been in regulating television. At the end of January, broadcasting licenses were withdrawn for six television stations. All stations have since regained their licenses after agreeing to broadcast Chavez frequently held speeches to the people. The organization Reporters without borders claims that simultaneously broadcasting Chavez ‘speeches in all channels indicate an intention to introduce a monopoly. Worth noting is that Hugo Chavéz has his own television show, Aló Presidente, broadcasted every Sunday. On February 18, he also launched a radio show “De repente… Con Chávez” (Suddenly … with Chavez). In the first program, the president explained that” When you hear the sound of a harp, then you know its Chavez.”

Text: Elisabeth Precht
(Sources: Reuters 13 mars, 2010 and Reporters without borders, www.rsf.org; ElMundo.es/Reuters April 28, 2010)

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