CARACAS – President Hugo Chavez’s Twitter account – @chavezcandanga – has attracted 3 million followers a little more than two years after it went online and became the Venezuelan leader’s means of making announcements, celebrating, offering condolences and reporting on his illness.
“To the 3 million Candangueros and Candangueras go my very special thanks! And let’s keep fighting, here as well, the battle of ideas!” Chavez said in a posting Monday.
In a subsequent telephone call to the headquarters of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, to answer reporters’ questions, the president said that “@chavezcandanga is a vehicle for doing battle.”
“We can’t leave these spaces to the right only, they are spaces where the people must carry on the battle, our battle,” Chavez said.
Twitter has enabled interaction, problem solving and “has helped some people, but above all it has strengthened the connection of the government, and in this case the president, with the people, with society and, beyond that, with different international dignitaries,” Chavez said.
Chavez “is the Latin American president most followed” and has the second highest number of followers on Twitter after U.S. President Barack Obama, Communications Minister Andres Izarra told state-owned Venezolana de Television, or VTV.
Chavez’s @chavezcandanga had sent 1,612 messages as of Monday, including reports on the Venezuelan head of state’s health since he was operated for cancer almost a year ago on June 20, 2011.
At the end of February the president told the nation about another surgical procedure he underwent for the removal of a new cancerous tumor, and later continued with further treatment and repose from which he has not yet emerged.
Cancer forced the president to reduce his work schedule and his usual hours-long TV speeches, something he has made up for with his 140-character messages on the social network.
“Venezuela is the country that uses Twitter the most in all Latin America and...Chavez has embraced this technology...and he revolutionized the social network to the point that we can now celebrate these 3 million followers,” Izarra said. EFE