President Hugo Chávez debuts on Twitter to confront opponents

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  • April 28, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

President Chávez has opened a Twitter account and published his first messages on the popular social network, following an earlier promise to use the Internet as his "trench" from which to provide information and respond to his enemies. See these stories.

Chávez posted his first tweet Tuesday night, confirming that he was traveling to Brazil. His second post, Thursday morning, said his presence on Twitter had created "an unexpected explosion" and added that he was hosting Bolivia's President Evo Morales, and that "we will be victorious!"

As of late Thursday, Chávez's profile, chavezcandanga, had more than 108,000 followers, and the number was growing quickly. Thousands of people—admirers and opponents—had signed on as followers, even before he posted a single tweet, BBC Mundo says. See BBC's story in English.

Critics of the president, who are continuing to lose space in traditional media, have taken their communications battle to social networks. Even though his first messages were short, many observers are skeptical that Chávez, who is notorious for his long speeches, can limit his statements to Twitter's 140 characters, Britain's Guardian adds.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.