January 19th 2020 SPANISH TRANSLATED
So patent has been interference by the regime of Nicolas Maduro in social networks in Spanish not only of Venezuela but of the rest of Spanish america, that the big digital platforms, based all of them in the United States, have begun to take drastic measures to limit their influence, including a recent closure of hundreds of accounts not only automated, but also of activists crucial in amplifying propaganda and denigrating the opposition. The regime, however, resists thanks to a digital communications strategy devised in the past three years and implemented through various ministries.
The regime has what has been referred to in internal reports as an "army digital", organized even in brigades of up to 500 people that can control up to 11.500 accounts. That "army," according to documents consulted by this journal, depends to a large part of the Ministry of Popular Power for Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace, which responds directly to the presidency. Other groups of what is coming to be called "trolls" (individuals who participate in discussion forums, blogs, Twitter, chat rooms and other environments of conversation for cause) is directly dependent on the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information.
In addition, the regime has, according to those documents, had a strategy to amplify messages of propaganda offering subsidies by means of a mobile application called VeMonedero that distributes aid on the Card of the Homeland, a variant of the national identity document that includes a service of digital payment. Twitter has repeatedly suspended the accounts from which they organized the procurement network of supporters and disseminating political messages.
In these documents of the regime, some of which began to circulate through the cabinet communications government from 2017, it is openly admitted that Chavez makes "the media war", including the creation of web pages falsely aligned with the opposition to spread of veiled propaganda among the possible disenchanted with the Maduro.
Closing of accounts
A recent turning point in this strategy was the assault of the regime to the legislative branch on the 5th of January. After Maduro deployed the National Guard around the Parliament, and to prevent by force the access of John Guaidó and a hundred other opponents, Twitter suspended half a hundred accounts directly affiliated or sympathizers with the regime, with millions of followers. Where made less than 48 hours after the assault on the National Assembly.
Twitter has blocked accounts of the National Government#8Enehttps://t.co/GXiRVPO2g8pic.twitter.com/HY5IOK65xK
- VTV CHANNEL 8 (@VTVcanal8) January 8, 2020
Among the profiles frozen are those of the Bolivarian National Guard and the cabinet press of Maduro. Also suspended the Twitter accounts of the ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the National Aviation, the Operational Strategic Command, the chief of staff, the protector of the state of Táchira (Freddy Bernal), the governor of the state of Falcón (Victor Clark).
Another fact makes clear the strategy of Twitter with this close massive (the company has refused to make public statements about their motivations): also closed for a few hours the account of the deputy Luis Parra, to which the regime had bribed to that being proclaimed president of the Assembly in replacement of Guaidó, without the necessary quorum. Parra barely had more than 11,300 followers, but immediately deprived of a voice on Twitter to justify their approach to the regime.
Parliamentary colleagues, let us make of this time, the time of the goodness triumphant and justice standing upright.
- Luis Eduardo Parra R (@LuisEParra78) January 5, 2020
Thank you, thank you, fellow members for making me President of this Honorable National Assembly. pic.twitter.com/shKg7vAYjm
Also they have closed accounts of the media in government as a City, Caracas, and Dawn City, station of the ministry of Culture, in addition to Radio South, Radio Network Venezuela and Ciudad CCS.
The last operation of Twitter against the propaganda Chavista stands out, however the suspension is not only official accounts of the Government but also of activists and officials that this will be worth it to make the media war in social networks, such as those of Patricia Dorta (@MetralletaPD) or Yepfri Arguello (@YepfriArguello).
Dorta is the national coordinator of social networks of the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, and has had multiple accounts suspended under other aliases. Arguello is responsible for national communicators of the Local Committees of Supply and Production (Clap).
Also has been suspended for the second time the account of Kenny Ossa, President of the National Centre of Information Technologies of Venezuela, and a key part of the strategies cyber-regime.
Last year, Twitter closed hundreds of accounts in Venezuela, which the company itself related directly with "disinformation operations".
Activity in Latin america
Various recent analyses show a high activity of accounts based in Venezuela in the popularization of messages and slogans to create division in various countries in Latin america in those who have been protesting, especially in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. Accounts traditionally defenders of the regime of Maduro also came out in defense of Evo Morales in Bolivia when he was accused of electoral fraud and was forced to resign.
Today, those who help to prevent you from installing legitimate venezuelan Parliament becomes an accomplice of the dictatorship and an accomplice of those who are oppressing the people of Venezuela.
- John Guaidó (@jguaido) January 5, 2020
It will be exposed to members of their families, the country and the world!
The great machine of disinformation and propaganda aims to popularise the slogans of the regime. According to an analysis by consulting firm Probox took place in October 2019, "38% of all the daily trends that go mainstream in Venezuela are linked to the regime of Maduro". The consultants analyzed the political sphere in Venezuela for four months and found 21.7 million messages, of which 20 million were aligned with the regime. In sum, "93% of the content of the political conversation on Twitter belongs to the communication policy of the ruling party".
In recent weeks, the social network Instagram has also closed hundreds of accounts related to the dissemination of propaganda in Venezuela. The array of Instagram, Facebook, gives no details of the closure and the reasons they obey. On the 11th of January, Instagram withdrew thousands of messages related to Iran and the defense of the general who was killed by U.S., Qassem Suleimani. Twitter also closed the account of Hispan TV, the public media of Iran in Spanish, which also participated in the defense of Maduro in social networks.