You may have heard that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is now on Twitter @chavezcandanga. He joined around six weeks ago and so far he has more than 520,000 followers and is included on almost 18,000 lists.
¡Ay, caramba! I wish I had that many followers.
But I’m a one-woman operation and Chavez has hired more than 200 Twitter aides to help him out, according to a story by the Associated Press.
This is ironic for the man who once said Twitter could be used as a “tool of terror.”
Chavez is described in his Twitter bio as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bolivarian soldier, Socialist and Anti-imperialist.
It’s clear the size of his ego. He’s only following five people, including musings about his best buddy Fidel Castro at ReflexionFidel.
It’s bizarre to see Chavez embrace social media in a country where he regularly censors the media.
He has banned six television stations and this generated student
protests earlier this year, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Last year, his government revoked the licenses of dozens of radio
stations, according to The Guardian.
In a speech at Harvard University earlier this year, Venezuelan journalist, Boris Munoz, said,
“According to penal codes, anyone who insults the President can be jailed for nine years. In comparison, sex offenders receive up to six years… Legal code seeks to shield the government from public accountability and transparency.”
Nine years for insulting the president?
Imagine how many bloggers would be in jail if this was the law in the United States.
I guess freedom of speech is only guaranteed in Venezuela for el jefe.