Vastavam web: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday said Twitter was an “expression of fascism” after accounts linked to his government were suspended, accusing the U.S. company of persecuting his followers.”Twitter in Venezuela today deactivated thousands of people’s accounts,” Maduro said at televised rally. “Simply for being ‘Chavistas,'” he said, using the term for followers of his predecessor, late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.Chavez was a pioneer among politicians in the use of Twitter, gathering millions of followers and frequently announcing news on the platform. Even today, Chavez’s 4 million followers beat Maduro’s 3 million.
Media contacts listed on Twitter’s corporate website did not return email requests for comment. The company does not list Caracas among the cities where it has international offices.It was not clear why the accounts were suspended, or how many had been affected. Earlier, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said 180 accounts were hit.Twitter’s guidelines say accounts can be suspended for abusive behavior, security or spam, among other reasons.
Despite the strong words, Maduro encouraged his supporters to keep using the service as a way of countering online the opposition, which has taken to the streets over the past two months to demand elections, protest restrictions and complain about crippling food and medicine shortages.On Saturday, hundreds of opposition activists held prayer services in Caracas and other cities to oppose Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution, while the government held rallies in several regions to support the initiative. Maduro threatened opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles on Saturday, saying he would sooner or later “face justice” for deaths in an earlier round of protests.