Tags: Chavez | foes | Internet | war

Chavez and Foes War on Internet

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 08:12 AM

CARACAS- The internet war is heating up in Venezuela. Just weeks after its launch President Chavez' Twitter account is the country's most popular with 240,000 followers. But his opponents aren't just standing by idly.

The internet war erupted against a background of severe economic problems in Venezuela. Inflation has hit an annual rate of 30 percent and the country's currency, the Venezuelan Bolivar, lost almost half its value against the US dollar. Opponents argue that Hugo Chavez is mismanaging the economy and cracking down on critics. Supporters of the president say right-wing businessmen are engaging in illegal currency speculation, and using the media to spread propaganda.

Those sharp differences are reflected in how both sides use the internet. So far even Chavez supporters concede that the opposition has produced more sophisticated websites. For example, El Chiguirre Bipolar, named after an indigenous Venezuelan rodent, regularly satirizes President Chavez.

In one animated episode, an actor impersonating the president, instructs his followers. "One of the most important duties of executive power," intones the impersonator, "is writing letters to Hollywood celebrities." The impersonator then writes a letter to actor Danny Glover suggesting that they collaborate on a new film called "Harry Potter and the Final Demise of Capitalism."

Oswaldo Graziani, co-founder El Chiguirre, says opposition internet sites are popular, but all media face many government restrictions. In 2007 the government refused to renew the broadcast license of RCTV, a major opposition network. Graziani says the government also uses tax authorities to investigate opposition media.

"Private businesses are afraid, ironically, about money in this socialistic country," says Graziani with a chuckle.

To read full Deutsche Welle story — Go Here Now.

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CARACAS- The internet war is heating up in Venezuela. Just weeks after its launch President Chavez' Twitter account is the country's most popular with 240,000 followers. But his opponents aren't just standing by idly.
Chavez,foes,Internet,war
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2010-12-26
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 08:12 AM
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