Venezuelan president calls for Latin American summit of chavista Twitter users

By Samantha Badgen

During the second edition of his new radio and TV show “En Contacto con Maduro, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro proposed a conference of Twitter users from Latin America and the Caribbean in Caracas, state TV network Venezolana de Television (VTV) reported.

“Twitter is an exceptional instrument to communicate a thousand things, to participate in the debate of ideas, to announce truths and to counterattack campaigns,” said Maduro, who currently has 1.88 million followers on Twitter, and hopes to get to 2 million in April.

Maduro made the comment on the same day that the Venezuelan government hosted the first "Tuiteros por la Paz" ("Twitter Users for Peace" in English) meeting at the headquarters of state-owned CANTV, the main internet provider in Venezuela, where communications minister Delcy Rodríguez also announced the creation of a new virtual community called "Chavista Twitter Users for Peace."

“The bourgeois niche has tried to take over this communication medium, but the chavista and revolutionary people are giving battle with their own ideas, breaking molds and generating a climate of peace among all the netizens that use Twitter,” Rodríguez said.

According to the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN), Rodríguez highlighted that the most important thing is “to maintain the organization of the social media networks; that’s why we created an office exclusively for social media, with the objective of monitoring the contents that are uploaded to Twitter and creating tags in favor of peace in the country.”

This announcement comes after weeks of protests against he insecurity and lack of goods in the country, which turned violent when they faced the Bolivarian National Guard. During these protests there have been many reported violations of press freedoms and human rights, including media censorship. Among these reports of censorship, Twitter recently confirmed that images published through accounts in Venezuela were being blocked. Twitter is one of the main sources of news for Venezuelan citizens.

“The media war is ferocious, because it brings together a lot of groups waging a dirty war and working towards the same end: the destabilization, and today we are facing the product this war has sown through the media,” Rodríguez added, according to AVN.

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.