Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Denounces Twitter For ‘Massive Attack’ On Supporters’ Accounts [VIDEO]

Nicolás Maduro
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro speaks during a ceremony with students in Caracas. Reuters

Nicolás Maduro issued a public statement on Thursday denouncing what he called a "massive attack" on his Twitter account and those of some 6,600 of his followers around the world, and accused Twitter itself of complicity with the attack, which he blamed on the "international right wing". "We're discovering a massive attack from the company Twitter and the international right wing against the accounts of Bolivarian patriots and Chavistas from Venezuela and various places around the world," Maduro wrote, adding that it had been directed "even against my Twitter". Nu Wexler, a spokesperson for Twitter, told the Associated Press that his company would offer no comment on the matter.

Communications minister Delsy Rodríguez said that as part of a campaign to destabilize the country, the account of SAIME, or the government's Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Alien Affairs, had been suspended along with her own account "in 10 minutes", during which "almost 6,600" followers of the Venezuelan president also saw their accounts suspended. writes that several hours after Rodríguez's number of followers dwindled to just one, her account @DrodriguezMinci had more than 17,000 followers. The government says that it previously had some 32,000. "We make use of this tool to spread the truth about the Revolution and our people," said the minister on a state television broadcast.

Maduro accused the "autoconvocados", a grassroots movement of opponents to his government, of authoring an attack with the aim of generating social instability and suspend the municipal elections slated for December 8th. The president narrowly won elections in April amid accusations of fraud from the opposition. "When they do this, it's because they're willing to try anything, they're going crazy," Maduro said. "Now they're calling together the putschist and fascist sectors from the right and the opposition to convene a march they're saying is of the 'autoconvocados'". He added, "The Venezuelan opposition wants to bring on a group of high-magnitude events; a negative impact against economic and social life and against the peace of the country so that the December 8th elections are suspended."

Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges said in response to the presidential message that Maduro "sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere" and that "he isn't the first who's had this happen to him", adding that lawmakers from several other countries have seen related Twitter accounts deactivated after being deemed illegitimate. Much like his predecessor Hugo Chávez, who passed away from cancer last spring, the Venezuelan president has embraced Twitter. The AP notes that in September, his government launched profiles in French, English, Arabic and Portuguese in an attempt to spread the ideals of what he calls his 21st century socialist revolution.

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David Iaconangelo is a Brooklyn-based writer and translator.  Formerly editor of ZafraLit, a blog of new short fiction from Cuba.  He has lived in and reported from various Latin American countries.