Venezuelan opposition targeted by internet censors | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Venezuelan opposition targeted by internet censors

Opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for Venezuelans to abandon Nicolas Maduro’s government are booming across the world outside, but the self-declared interim president is having a harder time delivering his message at home.

Watchdog groups in Venezuela and abroad say Guaido’s efforts to reach citizens via the internet have been hindered by the dominant provider — state-run CANTV — in a country where critical newspapers and broadcast media already have been muzzled.

Since Jan. 23, when Guaido proclaimed himself interim president and when protests against Maduro’s rule broke out, CANTV has blocked access to social media sites at least four times, according to the monitoring groups.

Those disruptions have coincided with politically significant events, including a rally attended by thousands of people last week and a Jan. 27 night speech that Guaido livestreamed on Periscope to call for a new round of protests and urge members of the military to defect.

CANTV accounts for about 70 percent of Venezuela’s fixed internet connections and 50 percent of mobile, and Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, found that the government provider blocked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube during 12 of the 13 minutes that Guaido’s speech lasted, so the stream could only be seen without interruptions by people using privately run internet providers.

The organization runs tests from its headquarters with software that captures evidence of connection failures. It also has designed a scanner app that volunteers in affected countries can use to run tests from their own phones or computers.

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