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[Opinion] Twitter Is Politics In Venezuela
Struggles to use Twitter mirror the political climate
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)     Print Article 
Published 2010-02-08 11:35 (KST)   
Twitter, as part of a social media strategy, is an imperative to politics! However, to use it effectively, a politician needs to invest time in managing it.

The government, here, has shut down discourse on radio and TV, and has now turned to Twitter as a tool to communicate their views in 140 characters. The topics discussed are political, economic and social. Thus, here in Venezuela, we are watching citizen journalism in action.

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Here, over the last six months, Twitter has grown to something of a phenomenon. Over this period, the short status-update service has grown about 450 percent, and there are now about 100,000 Venezualian users. A famous journalist, Nelson Bocaranda, has 80,000 followers.

Another journalist and political commentator, Eugenio Martinez, uses twitter to examine the harsh reality of the Chavez government.

Alberto Federico Ravell, director of TV Globovision, is a persistent user of Twitter.

But for all the use of Twitter, the government here aims to control the Internet as has been done in Cuba. Ramiro Valdes, a Cuban expert at eliminating the Internet, is now in Venezuela.

It seems that Venezuela wants to put itself in the same camp as authoritarian governments like China, Cuba, and North Korea -- other places that control what content is acceptable on the Internet.

The countries that prohibit Internet are behind in technology. Autocratic politicians only want to have a monopoly on communication for their own purposes.

In Venezuela, I feel we are facing a dictatorial government, but the people's resistance is not aggressive. The democratic resistance has to achieve its objectives. What are those goals? First: win in parliamentary elections. Second: change laws they find perverse. Third: win presidential elections by the year 2012.

This task is difficult and complicated. There is voter fraud. There are laws that filter and repress.

We must remember that Fidel Castro is Chavez's political adviser. That advice is a serious problem for Venezuelan democracy.

We have to trust the democratic strength of the Venezuelan people; Chavez's party is a minority (25% of voters).

The poor people had hope with Chavez, but now those poor people no longer believe in the promises of an incompetent government.

The opposition is very close and that's a hope. We have to wait and the wait is long, very long.
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Alfredo Ascanio

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