Really Mr. Snowden, Venezuela?

It seems odd that the only places that are being so vocal about supporting NSA data thief Edward Snowden and offering him sanctuary are countries with some of the worst records on freedom of speech/expression and press.

Thanks to Boing Boing, we get to hear a first-person account of what it is like living in Venezuela.

Snowden and Venezuela: My bizarre experience in the surveillance state

Highlights:

  • On Monday, Sept. 14, 2009 a private phone call between my mother and me was broadcast on two talk shows on the Venezuelan government TV station.
  • We can be heard talking about the international anti-Chavez demonstrations, and how we thought they hadn’t been successful. I compared them to the much larger ones for democracy in Iran that I attended in DC.
  • My mother, Maruja Tarre, was an outspoken critic of the Chavez government and she is often on television commenting on Venezuelan foreign policy. She is a columnist for the country’s oldest newspaper, El Universal, and is followed by thousands on Twitter.
  • Our private conversation aired again on the late night show, La Hojilla, hosted by Mario Silva. He plays clips from news shows edited to ridicule opposition politicians. The government has used “evidence” gathered by reporters on this show to accuse opposition leaders.
  • This was an eye-opening incident. Like most Venezuelans, I have long been aware, on an intellectual level, that many calls are recorded and that my mother’s landline was most likely tapped.
  • That was four years ago. Since then, the Venezuelan government has grown even more aggressive in its use of private conversations to intimidate opposition activists, and even their own supporters.

 

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Filed under Censorship, Freedom of access, Freedom of Information, International News Coverage, South America

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