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Twitter Censorship Government Social Networks The Media Politics

Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter 152

Posted by timothy
from the workers'-paradise dept.
First time accepted submitter Saúl González D. writes "After two days of massive protests, the Venezuelan government has finally taken to censoring Twitter. Users of Venezuela's largest ISP CANTV, which is owned by the government, are reporting that either Twitter-embedded images will not load or that Twitter will fail to load at all. I am a user myself and can confirm that only Twitter is affected and that switching to the Tor browser solves the issue. As news of the protests are not televised, for most Venezuelans Twitter and Facebook are their only means of obtaining real-time information.
Despite a progressive worsening of civil and human rights, governments of the world have shied away from directly labeling Maduro a dictator or demanding the OAS' Democratic Charter be activated. Will open censorship be the tipping point?"
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Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

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  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @07:04AM (#46253793)

    Once the government can start ceasing private assets "for the greater good," they can start taking away a lot more than just physical goods "for the greater good." People in that country are already emigrating en masse, it's only a matter of time until the iron curtain rises.

    And by the way, for anybody who still thinks that restricting imports through tariffs and other measures is a good idea for the sake of improving domestic job creation, you'll want to take a good solid look at Venezuela's recent history in the last few months where they've made it extremely difficult to buy foreign goods, and this:

    http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/... [guardianlv.com]

    When they say imports and domestic production rise and fall with one another, this is what they're talking about.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Once the government can start ceasing private assets

      I weep for today's educational systems.

    • by Sique (173459)
      But private entities should be allowed to seize assets for the greater good ("a free market, that will benefit us all"), right? Pardon, it's not seizing assets, it's called making profits while burdening the costs on the general public.
      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Hey, you've got to break a few eggs to make an omelette and... whats this? A bill for eggs? Holy shit a UFO! runs

    • You're a genius having that 20 20 hindsight.
      Oh, btw., you completely missed
      the operative word vis à vis Venezuela.

    • Once the government can start ceasing[SIC] private assets "for the greater good,"

      Apparently in America, football is for the greater good. Good luck keeping your home or business if an NFL franchise decides it's a good place to put a stadium. Oh and you'll get to help pay for the stadium through your local taxes too. You might be compensated but you don't get to set the price. Ask a business owner who's been displaced if he was fairly compensated for the business that's been his family 50 years. Ask the 70 year old couple that lived in the same house their whole lives if there is an

      • In addition, don't forget that the NFL is officially a nonprofit and pays zero taxes.
      • Uhh....is this supposed to be attacking me or my argument in some way? Because I'm very much against imminent domain, with only minor concessions for widening roadways.

        Though in America's defense, the governments (yes, plural) are required to compensate you at fair market value.

        • Apologies, my tone was a little off-key, not trying to attack and I could have left out that last line. I was just wondering whether it is ever the case that the government cannot seize property and assets. Ultimately, I suppose those in power can always exercise that power until the people get fed up and replace it with another power. Take it as a random rant that those with more power can ultimately take what one has. I shouldn't have directed it towards you.
        • by the gnat (153162)

          Though in America's defense, the governments (yes, plural) are required to compensate you at fair market value.

          "Fair market value" is defined somewhat loosely, unfortunately; there isn't really much room for property owners to challenge the price that the government is willing to pay, with the result that the governments can ignore prevailing market rates. In the aftermath of the now-infamous Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision, the city of New London decided that they would only pay as much as the m

          • by Fjandr (66656)

            Indeed. The larger the development, the cheaper it is to buy off a small number of local politicians in comparison to fairly compensating a large number of property owners.

            If the US was broken up into a large number of smaller republics, it would also be easier for the populace of any one of them to deal with this type of politician in a manner they deserve.

    • by smugfunt (8972)

      anybody who still thinks that restricting imports through tariffs and other measures is a good idea for the sake of improving domestic job creation...

      It seems to have worked for the USA for the last hundred years. It won't work for everyone of course, but Venezuela might be big enough to pull it off (if done skilfully...)

  • censXXXXXX

  • Despite a progressive worsening of civil and human rights, governments of the world have shied away from directly labeling Maduro a dictator

    Why should they call an elected president, for incompetent he were, a dictator.
    In latin america we have had our own share of US sponsored dictators, they were no good but in that time we celebrated them. Now looking back to what happened, we know it can allways get worse.

    If you are in a parlamentary system, you disolve the government.
    If you are in a presidential system you wait for the next election...

    The damages of a destitution aren't worth for the people.

    • Given widespread censorship on TV etc, how fair were the elections, really? How fair will be the next ones?

      A country can have elections and still be a dictatorship. Case in point: DPRK. You even get three parties to choose from!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The elections in Venezuela are the most scrutinized in the world. US delegations, European Union and United Nation delegations report they've been given nothing but complete access. None of these international observers have reported abuses. The USA on the other hand, does not allow foreign observers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Forbes.com, hardly a communist front writes:

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/05/14/venezuelas-election-system-holds-up-as-a-model-for-the-world/
          Headline: "Venezuela's Election System Holds Up As A Model For The World"

          Now, if you research the voting system in Venezuela, they have voting machines which are running open-source code, so the code they are meant to be running is public knowledge. USA voting machines are manufacturer's secret and the companies are mostly own by Republicans.

          Al

          • by Teun (17872)
            Democracy is more than 'just' free elections, you also need an independent judiciary and that's one of the elements missing in countries like Venezuela or Egypt.

            I would even hazard to postulate a one-party government is lacking in democratic principles...

            • by gtall (79522)

              You also need an independent press, and you need government regulatory agencies to add in the cost that capitalism and democracy miss such as clean air and water.

        • I was not disputing that the election procedure itself is fair. But for elections to actually be fair, the people casting votes have to be exposed to the positions and platforms of all candidates - which is kinda hard to do in a country where most mass media is basically taken over by the government. It's exactly the same in Russia - it's not the electoral fraud that sets the outcome of elections (though it also happens), it's the government control and censorship of the media.

      • Dictators love to pretend that their people actually love the oppressive government. So elections are quite a common sight. However that doesn't mean the people have any real say. Sometimes it is done like it was in Iraq, where there is only one choice and people are forced to go vote anyhow. Sometimes it is done like in Iran where the elections themselves are mostly left alone, but an unelected body (the Assembly of Experts) determines who gets to run, and the real power doesn't lie with the elected repres

    • by fche (36607)

      "Why should they call an elected president, for incompetent he were, a dictator."

      Because he sought and accepted an "Enabling Act", letting him rule by edict. Just like his predecessor Chavez. And Hitler.

      • by xvan (2935999)
        Well, to be fair, one way or another any presidential system has some sort of instrument to rule by edict in case of emergency... Some presidents respect it and only use it in case of emergency. Some don't give a shit about it and use it constantly.
        When Hitler was just elected, he wasn't a dictator yet... Then things got ugly.
    • by Fjandr (66656)

      I guess that rules out calling Hitler, a democratically elected politician, a dictator.

      A democratic election does not prevent the elected individual from being a dictator.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Funniest was when Fox news reported about a decade ago that Hugo Chavez, then president of Venezuela was corruptly redirecting the countries oil royalties to feed and educate the poor in the rural regions. So corrupt!! at least to crazy right wing lunatics of course.

    • by Ateocinico (32734)

      The sad part is that it was not true. Instead the money was wasted in bribes and corruption.

    • by fche (36607)

      Some of the money may have gone to a good cause. Lots went to bad causes, earning the "corruption" label. (The mob does a good deed once in a while too.)

      And of course, nationalizing the industry killed the goose that laid the golden egg, so in the long term, even the "good cause" was unsustainable. And in the socialist paradise, that "long term" took all of five or six years to turn to crap.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    or landfill, So what's worse?

  • by Kilobug (213978) <le-mig_g&epita,fr> on Saturday February 15, 2014 @08:59AM (#46253993)

    First, it is not "massive protests", it's the typical (for Venezuela since 1999) protest of the wealthy minority opposing the Bolivarian Revolution, despite dozens of electoral victories of PSUV and allies (ratified by various international observers). And it is violent protests, like when Capriles contested the elections of Maduro, in both cases there has been PSUV supporters _killed_ by the opposition. The opposition also assaulted public building, like Chacao municipality or Caracas metro system (this time), or schools and hospitals (when Maduro was elected).

    On the broader picture, the opposition isn't at its first violent attempt to oppose the democratically elected government. For those who don't remember it, in 2002, the same opposition did a military coup attempt, in which Pedro Carmona (the leader of business federation) briefly took power, suspended the Constitution and constitutional guarantees, dissolved the Parliament and the Supreme Court, imposed martial law, closed the public TV station and many independent local TV channels (like Catia TV). Capriles, the current leader of the opposition in Venezuela, was personally involved in supporting the coup, including in a violent assault against the Cuban embassy in Caracas.

    Those protests aren't done by "students", they are done by a rich elite refusing to lose their privilege, and not stopping at any means (including violence, murder, and military coups) to undermine a legitmately elected and always re-elected government. They are fascists, as shown by how they behaved (suspending all constitutional guarantees and dissolving all democratic institutions) when they briefly took power in 2002.

    As for the media, before listening to all the lies about "censorship", you should remember that the media in 2002 actively participated in the coup attempt, manipulating footage to pretend that Chávez supporters opened fire on the opposition, while in reality it was sharpshooters from the opposition killing Chávez supporters from the roof of on hotel. There is a very good documentary on that topic, "The Revolution will not be televised", that was made by Irish filmmakers who happened to be in Caracas during the events. I advise strongly everyone to watch this documentary before supporting the "opposition" in Venezuela and criticizing the attitude of the Venezuelan government towards the media. In most countries of the world, including Europe or USA, if media did half of what they did in Venezuela, there would have been prison sentences.

    Finally, for the Twitter "censorship", the PSUV Twitter account was hacked recently, and Twitter is not cooperating the Venezuelan government to help them track the authors of that infraction. While no one knows (yet) all the details of what is going on between the Venezuelan government and Twitter, it's way too early to call about "censorship" in that context, it may very well be just a way for the Venezuelan government to pressure Twitter to cooperate in tracking the authors of a penal infraction.

    • by Ateocinico (32734) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @09:49AM (#46254115)

      We are in year 2014, not in 2002. Those who protest now were children then. The Venezuelan government through it's agency CONATEL, has eliminated any form of criticism and criminalized reporting about murder, scarcity and economic trouble in TV either cable or broadcast. They forced cable operators to eliminate a Colombian cable channel (NTN24) because they were reporting what was happening in Venezuela. You know that the Venezuelan government is strangling free press by refusing dollars for paper purchase. And remember, legitimacy in origin is not a blank check for violating human rights consecrated in the Venezuela constitution like: right to live, free speech, right to protest and habeas corpus, among many other.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those protests aren't done by "students", they are done by a rich elite refusing to lose their privilege, and not stopping at any means (including violence, murder, and military coups) to undermine a legitmately elected and always re-elected government. They are fascists, as shown by how they behaved (suspending all constitutional guarantees and dissolving all democratic institutions) when they briefly took power in 2002.

      Ah, so everyone who opposes Maduro is a violent fascist, just like everyone who opposes the rule of Kagame in Rwanda is a genocidaire and everyone who opposes Putin turns out to secretly be an agent of anti-Russian overseas powers. Interesting that 'the Bolivarian Revolution' is taking so long, isn't it? It's almost like the concept of revolution is being used to excuse failures and justify oppressive behaviour on a supposedly 'temporary' but actually permanent basis.

      The legitimacy of a democratic state doe

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From wikipedia: Much of the criticism is centered on the filmmakers' "use of stock [documentary] devices", such as compositing clips from several events to present them as one incident.[72] Parallel editing also depicts sequences as if they occurred at the same time, when some of the footage was captured on different days. Bartley and Ó Briain justify these methods as standard practice in the construction of documentary realist films.[72] Caracas-based journalist Phil Gunson, writing in Columbia Journa

    • by ph1ll (587130)

      Mod parent up.

      I'm getting bored of articles about Venezuela's so-called dictatorship. Ask yourself:

      1. Why is Venezuela's democracy questioned when former US President, Jimmy Carter, whose foundation monitors these things, says [theguardian.com] "of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world"?
      2. Why does the media spend so much time vilifying Venezuela's democracy when our friends in Saudi Arabia chop off the head of a princess in a car park [wikipedia.org], ban women from dr [bbc.co.uk]
      • But in a democracy, a country has the right (within reason) to run their affairs as they see fit.

        I hope you remember that when an American court gives the Venezuelan owned refinery to an American oil company to partially compensate them for what Venezuela stole from them in Venezuela.

      • Venezuela is undeniably badly run. But in a democracy, a country has the right (within reason) to run their affairs as they see fit.

        Does it have the right to, effectively, strangle its own democracy (e.g. by comprehensive censorship of mass media)?

      • by the gnat (153162)

        Why does the media spend so much time vilifying Venezuela's democracy when our friends in Saudi Arabia chop off the head of a princess in a car park, ban women from driving and do not have elections but have a rather nasty dictator?

        I've got news for you: it's very, very difficult to find any US media outlet praising Saudi Arabia, and extremely easy to find US media describing what a hellhole the country is. My favorite example is the notoriously right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page: I've seen them

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Excuse me but you're mostly spouting government propaganda. I'm here in Caracas watching all this an I can tell you the following:

      - Carmona "took power" one day, placed there by the same military leaders who later backed off and placed Chavez back in power. Your "dissolving" and "martial law" were just pronouncements of his intentions while things calmed down, at which point everyone backed off. The guy wasn't even a dictator for a day, not even a president.
      - Capriles "was involved" in that coup much less t

    • by jcrada (1876280)
      Oh my god. So much disinformation YOU are providing. Get REAL! Venezuela has a dictatorship where all possible freedoms are being restricted such that the government keeps doing what it does best: Sink the entire country into a hell worse than Cuba in favour of a few red millionaires. The CENSORSHIP is happening every day as the media is not allowed to show images of the demonstrations. Why is the DICTATORSHIP so scared of demonstrations? It is just unbelievable that there are still plenty of idiots refus
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't that term usually reserved for dictatorships 'we' don't like, e.g. Syria? The Venezuelan government was democratically elected.

  • OpenNet tested a large number of country's internet set-ups back in 2006 and couldn't find any filtered IPs in venezuela at all: "The OpenNet Initiative conducted tests of Internet censorship in late 2006 on the two major ISPs in Venezuela. The testing covered a wide range of potentially sensitive content, including sites dedicated to political opposition, freedom of expression, and general anti-Chávez media, as well as sites centered on controversial social issues such as minority religions, indigeno
    • by arielCo (995647)

      Here's a test from the state-owned ISP (CANTV) mentioned in TFA:

      $ for host in lapatilla.com pastebin.com anonymouse.org; do ping -w 3 -c 4 $host; done
      PING lapatilla.com (141.101.113.240) 56(84) bytes of data.
      64 bytes from 141.101.113.240: icmp_seq=1 ttl=53 time=133 ms

      --- lapatilla.com ping statistics ---
      1 packets transmitted, 1 received, 0% packet loss, time 0ms
      rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 133.576/133.576/133.576/0.000 ms
      PING pastebin.com (190.93.241.15) 56(84) bytes of data.

      --- pastebin.com ping statistics ---
      3

      • Where did you source that? I didn't see anything like that in the BuzzFeed article?
      • Venezuela is just about the safest place for dissidents in Latin America, not the worst. For a start, consider "reporters without borders", they're a US-funded "freedom" lobby group. Very anti-communist. Read their headlines about Colombia: https://en.rsf.org/colombia.ht... [rsf.org] Now read their headlines for Venezuela: https://en.rsf.org/venezuela.h... [rsf.org] The Colombian journalists problems are all murder, threats, intimidation by pro-government fascist death-squads. The Venezuelan journalists problems are more a
        • by arielCo (995647)

          Venezuela is just about the safest place for dissidents in Latin America, not the worst. For a start, consider "reporters without borders", they're a US-funded "freedom" lobby group. Very anti-communist.

          Read their headlines about Colombia:
          https://en.rsf.org/colombia.ht... [rsf.org]

          Now read their headlines for Venezuela:
          https://en.rsf.org/venezuela.h... [rsf.org]

          The Colombian journalists problems are all murder, threats, intimidation by pro-government fascist death-squads.

          The Venezuelan journalists problems are more along the lines of politics and bureaucratic red tape. And those are the WORST abuses that Reporters without Borders can highlight about Venezuela.

          I don't know much about the threats on Colombia's journalism but I can tell you a few things about Venezuela. Trust me or call me a liar at your discretion:

          * There are laws regarding "truthful and opportune information" and making "disquieting" and "destabilizing" speech a felony. Of course, no definitions for these fuzzy adjectives.
          * Detention and/or beatings by military and govt-friendly gangs; it is not unusual for both to confiscate the memory cards and tapes. There's some mention of this in the RSF lin

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