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Hugo Chavez Is Running Venezuela Through Twitter

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is using Twitter as a tool to govern his country remotely from Cuba, as he undergoes medical treatments. He has tweeted more than 40 times since Monday, issuing orders for building a new park and approving the funding of a trash collection project.

When I wrote a speculative piece about how someone could run a country using only Twitter, I didn’t think I’d actually see it happen. I hypothesized that a lot could be done without having to go beyond 140-characters: elections could be held, platforms tweeted, pictures of meetings with other heads of state posted, and even criminals could be caught with Twitter.

Chavez isn’t quite going to these extremes, but he is using Twitter as a way to both remain in the public’s eye while he is out of the country, as well as make decisions in some minor issues.

The Associated Press is reporting that Chavez’ Twitter account (@ChavezCandanga) has been extremely active since he began his chemotherapy in Cuba. He has tweeted over 40 times about political issues as well as vague and optimistic statements about his treatment. He even sent a handful of messages complaining about a referee’s call during a Venezuelan soccer game.

Getting more political, Chavez tweeted about his approval of:

“…the equivalent of more than $25 million for a new trash-collection company in Caracas, $51 million for a state government and $37 million for the organization Frente Francisco de Miranda, which promotes efforts to transform Venezuela into a socialist state.”

He even used Twitter to report on a meeting that he had with Fidel and Raoul Castro as well as Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, and to thank Mexican president Felipe Calderon for his well-wishes.

Chavez was recently named the third-most popular world leader on social media with over 1.5 million followers on Twitter and about 150,000 fans on Facebook. He regularly takes to Twitter to tweet about his country and connect with his citizens.

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