The social media giant has suspended the accounts of numerous Venezuelan government institutions, including the country’s Army, Navy, National Guard, Air Force, Central Bank, Finance Ministry, Oil Ministry, National Center for Information Technology (CNTI) and National Commission for Information Technology.
#Venezuela | Twitter suspended several accounts of Venezuelan institutions such as central bank of Venezuela, the presidential press and the one of the national center of technologies for alleged violation of rules. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/sRDEBBlAqL— Bart News (@00_bart) January 8, 2020
The account of the GNB, Venezuelan National Guard has also been suspended pic.twitter.com/f4fishG3m6— CNW (@ConflictsW) January 7, 2020
The accounts of government figures like Victor Clark, the governor of Venezuela’s Falcon state; former Bolivarian National Army Forces General Commander Jesus Suarez; and Freddy Bernal, the coordinator of the country’s subsidized food distribution program, the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP), were also shut down.
Still other accounts shuttered include Red Radio Venezuela, the presidential press office and the press office for the mayor of Caracas.
Twitter suspende más cuentas del Chavismo:@PresidencialVen@FreddyBernal@vclarkb@PrensaFANB@JSuarezChourio@MinPetroleoVE@laradiodelsur@hugbelpsuv@RedRadioVe@MinEcoFinanzas@AviacionFANB@Hispantv@ceofanb@ciudadccs@otrak0ssa@albaciudad#DanielRiosTeInforma— Daniel Rios (@Daniel_RiosVE) January 7, 2020
While a few of the accounts have since been unlocked, such as Bernal’s and the Finance Ministry’s, most remain locked.
Toeing the State Department Line
TeleSur noted that according to Twitter’s rules, an account can be closed if it’s being used for spam, has been hacked, participates in abusive or bellicose behavior or impersonates another account - but the closed accounts haven’t violated any of these rules.
The crackdown mirrors one by the social media giant in September that targeted numerous Cuban news outlets and journalists. As Sputnik reported, dozens of Cuban accounts were shut down just moments before Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel addressed the nation about a chronic fuel shortage caused by US sanctions and collective methods of coping with the shortages.
Twitter has steadily treaded closer to the US State Department’s line in recent years, adopting the same bellicose stance against accounts associated with governments targeted by Washington, including those of Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China. Under the guise of combating disinformation, Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, have closed down accounts spreading information and news that run counter to the US government’s official line on events such as the Guaido’s declaration of his own interim presidency and the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. However, in the recent crackdowns on Cuban and Venezuelan accounts, Twitter has not even attempted to offer a veil of justification.
Washington Decries Guaido’s Ouster
On Sunday, Guaido failed to secure re-election as the speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly, a post he received in January 2019 amid rotating leadership of the legislature by the country’s opposition parties. Instead, 81 of the 150 lawmakers chose Luis Parra, an independent opposition member representing Yaracuy State.
Parra recently left the centrist opposition party Primero Justicia, the party of Henrique Capriles, who challenged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the 2013 presidential election.
Unsure if he would win re-election, Guaido postured as if he had been barred entry to the legislature, attempting to scale the fences outside on Sunday. However, there’s no evidence Guaido was actually prevented from entering the building in a normal way, especially since Guaido loyalists like William Davila entered without trouble.
Video footage later emerged showing Guaido refusing to enter unless in the company of several lawmakers whose parliamentary immunity has been revoked for alleged criminal offenses, Venezuelanalysis noted.
El vídeo que Guaidó no quiere que veas.— ✽ Orlenys 🍁🍃 (@OrlenysOV) January 5, 2020
La mediática mundial dice que la GNB no dejó entrar a Guaidó a la Asamblea Nacional.
La verdad es que NO QUISO INGRESAR y utilizó a Gilberto Sojo (diputado inhabilitado) para armar el predecible show que lo disfrazara de víctima. pic.twitter.com/JK8ZU30vRj
After opposition members failed to convince Guaido to enter, he and they later met at the headquarters of anti-government newspaper El Nacional, declaring the parliament’s vote void and re-electing Guaido as speaker, with several figures standing in for legislators who had left the country.
Washington quickly denounced the events in the National Assembly, with US Vice President Mike Pence declaring Guaido the country’s “only legitimate president” and US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams promising new sanctions against Maduro.
Guaido’s claim to be interim president is recognized by roughly 50 countries, mostly European and US-allied nations, while Maduro, who won reelection in 2018, remains recognized as the president of Venezuela by roughly 75% of the world’s nations. Since January 23, 2019, Guaido has launched four attempted coups d’etat, each of which has gained less traction than the last.