While President Hugo Chavez seems to like Twittering away on his Blackberry, he takes a dim view of people who use the service to complain
.Last week two Venezuelans, a 35-year old woman and a 41-year old man, were charged with making statements on Twitter critical of Venezuela’s banking system.
Reporters without Borders tells us they could face 11 years porridge. The pair were arrested under a 2001 law prohibiting spreading false rumours about or attempting to destabilise the nation’s banks.
Apparently one of them warned that the system was so shaky, people only had a few days left before it collapsed.
Venezuela’s banks are in a bit of a state at the moment and people are worried.However a decade of imprisonment for 140 characters of personal investment advice is a bit damn silly.
Chav asked his country’s parliament for a bill regulating the Internet, allowing the blocking of Web sites and restricting access to one ISP.
This would make it easier to spy on citizens. He also ordered a criminal prosecution against the site, Noticieros Digital, which briefly hosted false rumours that a Venezuelan official had been assassinated.
But the move is hypocritical given the fact that Chav loves twittering his own political ideas.