Maduro disguises himself as rights defender on Twitter

Maduro disguises himself as rights defender on Twitter

Published on 14 Jun 2023

On Saturday, June 10, in the framework of the visit of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to the country, MIPPCI promoted the hashtag #VenezuelaGaranteDeLosDDHH (Venezuela Advocates for Human Rights). With at least 425 thousand tweets, the Maduro regime sought to divert attention from the allegations of human rights violations in the country and create the perception […]

  • On Saturday, June 10, in the framework of the visit of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to the country, MIPPCI promoted the hashtag #VenezuelaGaranteDeLosDDHH (Venezuela Advocates for Human Rights).
  • With at least 425 thousand tweets, the Maduro regime sought to divert attention from the allegations of human rights violations in the country and create the perception that Khan is an ally of his government.

Does Maduro’s regime guarantee Venezuelans’ human rights? Those who checked Twitter trends last Saturday, June 10, might think so.

The hashtag #VenezuelaGaranteDeLosDDHH was positioned with approximately 425 thousand messages in Twitter trends, in a coordinated digital campaign that appeared to be an endorsement of the Maduro government’s policies regarding the promotion of human rights in the country. However, complaints from victims and reports from human rights organizations in Venezuela reveal another reality: cases of violations of the rights of Venezuelans are so frequent and serious that even the International Criminal Court opened an investigation two years ago to evaluate it.

We tell you what happened in the digital conversation

The Ministry of People’s Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI) issued a guideline to the digital troop to promote #VenezuelaGaranteDeLosDDHH as its hashtag of the day on Saturday, June 10 on Twitter. In fact, throughout the day the MIPPCI reiterated the promotion of this, mentioning the promotion of the same at least seven times from the official account of the institution.

The regime’s interest in positioning and amplifying in social networks a pro-human rights narrative is framed by the most recent visit of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, who arrived in the country on Thursday, June 9, in what would be his third official visit to Venezuela for the investigation being carried out by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro government.

MIPPCI accompanied the messages promoting the circulation of the hashtag #VenezuelaGaranteDeLosDDDHH with photos of the meeting between Maduro and Khan accompanied by the message “Venezuela’s Truth Triumphs!”. Only on one occasion was the message different by accompanying the hashtag with an image of Maduro and the president of Brazil, Lula da Silva.

The hashtag was also boosted by the accounts of channels and groups linked to the State such as VTV and the PSUV, although without content linked to the main intention of MIPPCI, which was to talk about the visit of the ICC Prosecutor, demonstrating the coordination in the search to position the hashtag as a trend in Venezuela.

It is not the first time

The regime has previously used Twitter to push narratives in which Nicolás Maduro is perceived as a guarantor of human rights. The first visit of the ICC prosecutor to Venezuela (November 2021) was accompanied by a campaign on networks by chavismo to manage the discourse in the face of the ICC’s decision to open an investigation for crimes against humanity in the country.

A publication by ProBox, together with Caracas Chronicles, showed the promotion of four hashtags by the MIPPCI to control the digital conversation on this issue through two fundamental messages: “Venezuelan justice works perfectly well” and “Venezuela cooperates because the institutions have nothing to hide”.

On that occasion, the tags driven were #CooperaciónCPI (Cooperation ICC) (110,000 tweets apx), #VenezuelaGarantizaLaJusticia (Venezuela guarantees justice) (47,459 tweets apx), #DocumentoHistórico (Historical document) (124,000 tweets apx) and #VenezuelaJusticiaSoberana (148,000 tweets).

So, is Maduro’s regime a guarantor of human rights?

One thing is what is said and another is what is done. Although the narrative that the Maduro regime’s communications apparatus seeks to promote is that human rights are respected in Venezuela, reports from organizations such as Provea show a very different picture. In fact, the same ICC investigation that weighs on Venezuela is a great alarm signal regarding the human rights situation in the country.

According to its data, during 2022 there was a high number of illegitimate deprivations of the right to life by Venezuelan police and military officials.

In 2022 alone, 824 alleged violations of the right to life were registered in the country, occurring in different circumstances. There was also an increase of 68.6% in the number of violations to personal integrity with a total of 2,203 victims, mostly persons deprived of liberty who were subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

The data collected by Provea are revealing: during 10 years of Maduro’s administration, 9,465 people have been killed by police and military.

Although the regime does not want it, the protest continues in Venezuela (and on Twitter)

Although the Maduro regime is very effective in massifying tags on Twitter to impose itself in the conversation on networks, that does not mean that civil society has abandoned the platform to denounce human rights violations.

From the ProBox Digital Observatory we recorded that complaints and demands on the respect for human rights in Venezuela were the main reason for citizen protest in 2021 with 116 trends and more than 850 thousand messages.

In 2022, demands on this topic continued and were positioned as the third most recurrent narrative in Venezuelan digital protest, surpassed only by economic demands and basic service failures.

Despite the false trends promoted by the regime to pollute the digital conversation, the reality is that in terms of human rights, Venezuela is going through serious complaints and thousands of victims seeking justice; that is why organizations and organized civil society continue documenting and denouncing the reality that the government tries to hide.

Remember that you can follow us on all social networks by searching @ProBoxVE to keep up to date with the most relevant news of the digital conversation in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

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