In the past few days, Venezuela and Ukraine have been in the midst of political protests and nearly civil war-like outbursts of violence. One thing both of these countries are fighting for are the basic respect of their human rights, and while Ukraine has finally accomplished a treaty that has ended this repression, Venezuela is on the 15th day of protests with 15 reported deaths so far.
The venezuelan government has taken over television, radio, and print media across the country leaving the nation with a distorted view of the existing socialist policies implemented by Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. At this point we ask ourselves, can this government really call itself a democracy when people are deprived of open communication, debate, and protest against laws they don’t agree with? By censoring all media and even revoking press credentials from networks such as CNN en Español from the country, the venezuelan people feel like traditional media is being silenced against their will.
As a result, social media has been established by the venezuelan people as the only method of uncensored communication and “walkie-talkie” apps such as Zello (which is now based in Texas) have become the only way to transmit messages that can keep people away from danger. Social media has perhaps been even more effective than traditional types of journalism since news can be reported minute by minute at the moment things happen. Using hashtags, people have managed to organize protest gathering locations, routes, and report any danger or plans for action. By creating and posting images and videos, people have been able to spread the word of the political repression and violence being experienced in this country as they see it. Additionally, after being frustrated to see only 1 minute segments on the news talking broadly about the protests, venezuelans abroad have turned to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to know what is really happening in their country and share with their friends and family.
People have become their own reporters and the best thing about using Social media is the ability to spread the word to the world. Celebrities have been able to show their support through Twitter and politicians have joined the conversation helping them connect with the venezuelan people and the world.
To see what is happening look up the hashtags #26f and #sosvenezuela on Twitter and Instagram or follow @NoticiasSOSVzla and @RCTVenlinea.
Politicians: @leopoldolopez @mariacorinaYA @hcapriles @VoluntadPopular @NicolasMaduro
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