Archive for July 10th, 2010

Not so Random Chavismo Target of the week: Twitter

July 10, 2010

What are we to make of the war on Twitter, which was started this week by the Chavez Government?

I mean, up until a couple of days ago, we were told that the co-founder of Twitter was praising Chavez for “revolutionizing” the social network and not two days later, two people are arrested for spreading rumors about the Venezuelan banking system and fifteen more are being threatened with arrest.

Their crime? Suggesting that a local bank, which shall remained unnamed, was in trouble.

But just a few months ago, Chavez in his variety show Alo Presidente and Chavez former Minister of Defense/Foreign Relations/Interior and VP Jose Vicente Rangel both spread rumors against banks in general and also against very specific ones, but nobody dared suggest that they should be jailed. So, what gives?

To me this is another case of a Not So Random Target of the Week by Chavismo. Chavismo persecution is like that, you never know who is the target each week, but beware if you happen to be “it”. I am sure the Ciudad Bolivar Twitteros never imagined the Government would go after them, the same way the butchers never thought they would be jailed or the brokers intervened.

But it does mean that a message is being sent. After all, how can the CIPCC (investigative police) have so much time to look for Twitteros the same week that a girl’s finger is cut with a Machete by her kidnappers to send it to  her parents as proof of life? Are they doing something about this case, or is that irrelevant to them? Has the investigative police become that insensitive to people’s suffering?

The answer is that anything political has a priority over reality or suffering and Twitter may have been a battle that Chavez thought he could win or was winning, but it obviously has hurt him recently, thus some Cuban “Intelligence” official decided to make sure he slows down the spreading of putrid or corrupt news via the social network. What better way to make people think twice about saying something bad about the Dictator than this not so veiled threat?

And people forget that there is an additional implicit message in this. Not only did they arrest two people, but they had the means of locating them, after all, who  puts his/her address or phone number in Twitter? The Government or the CIPCC had the technology to locate, find and detain these people (or you!). And now it says there will be fifteen more jailed soon (Are you one of them?). Thus, beware, you could be (or are!) next, that is precisely the message that is explicitly being sent.

And tomorrow Chavez will say in his variety show that there is actually freedom of twitting in Venezuela, after all, only “two” people have been detained for “violating the law” with Twitter, but those that criticize him are not being persecuted, only those that violate the law.

As I always say, I just hope bloggers are not the next not so random target of Chavismo. I have had enough as it is.