It makes sense. Twitter has become one of the few outlets Venezuelans have left for visually demonstrating the literally medieval barbarism that Chavez’s thugs use to break protests – which they’re doing with some regularity now. So like his slightly less clownish but equally execrable ilk in Tehran, he’s looking to shut it down:
President Hugo Chavez has responded to the outpouring of messages — many of which call for his resignation along with expanded freedom of the press — by asking the National Assembly to start preparing legislation that would regulate the Internet. Similar to what we saw happening in Mexico this week, government officials in Venezuela are perceiving social networks such as Twitter (Twitter) to be a threat to the state. Chavez has apparently even gone as far as indicating that Twitter could be considered a “tool of terror,” and National Assembly deputies were quick to leap to the charge of “eliminating terrorist threats posed by social networks.”
Chavez has an interesting approach to national infrastructure. Where it’s working well he’s eager to regulate it into the ground. Where it’s teetering on the brink of collapse – as is the case with, say, the country’s entire power grid – he’s a little more lackadaisical. You’d think all the capital he acquired from the last round of disastrous currency devaluation would have given him enough cash to keep things running. Although no reason to be frugal. He can always just nationalize the auto industry if things get particularly bad.
Of course a lot of that money is probably going into preparing for that war with Colombia that he keeps promising. Ergo his purchase of those 300 new tanks and armored vehicles. And those thousands of missiles. And those nearly 5,000 potential joint projects with the Russians. Probably more important than keeping the lights on.
Anyway, those are the perks of being comfortably ensconced in the Iranian orbit. Sure you need to demonize Israel and parrot Tehran’s feverish conspiracy theories about US infiltration of Iran (as if this White House is running an offense against the mullahs). But that’s not that hard. Plus you get the distinct sense that for Chavez this is as much pleasure as business.
It’s the same as when he formally invited Castro to Caracas. A state visit won’t really advance Venezuela’s geopolitical standing, and US/Cuba rapprochement is a done deal the second Castro dies anyway. So there wasn’t a good justification for the invitation. Chavez just kind of likes being a prick.
References and related after the jump…
* Medieval Repression in Venezuela, exposed via Twitter [Babulublog]
* Venezuelan police break up anti-Chavez protest [AP]
* Venezuela’s Chavez: Twitter Messages Are Terrorist Threats [Mashable]
* Venezuela faces risk of devastating power collapse [AP]
* UPDATE 1-Devaluation ups stakes in Venezuela election year [Reuters]
* Chavez to automakers: Share the wealth, or else [Hot Air]
* Chavez to Troops: Prepare for War With Colombia [Fox News]
* Venezuela to get 300 tanks, armored vehicles [MSNBC]
* Chavez: Venezuela acquires thousands of missiles [Breitbart]
* Venezuela, Russia to boost technology cooperation [AP]
* Chavez Going Nuclear, Consolidating Venezuela-Iran-Hezbollah Terror Axis [MR]
* Venezuela’s Chavez calls Israel "murderous" U.S. arm [Reuters]
* Venezuela blames U.S. for destabilizing Iran [Xinhua]
* Hugo Chavez invites Fidel Castro to Venezuela [AP]