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Minister urges Venezuela to quit Facebook over spying

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-11

The Venezuelan Minister of Prisons Maria Varela on Wednesday called on her countrymen to cancel their Facebook accounts, saying they had unknowingly been “working for free as CIA informants”.

Venezuelan Prisons Minister Maria Varela urged citizens on Wednesday to deactivate their Facebook accounts, claiming that by using the popular social media network, Venezuelans were inadvertently working for the CIA.

“Fellow Venezuelans: cancel your Facebook accounts, since unknowingly you have been working for free as CIA informants! Review the Snowden case!” Varela, a member of the left-wing PSUV party, said in a Twitter message in reference to the American intelligence whistleblower and fugitive, who exposed the vast electronic surveillance programme known as PRISM.

Edward Snowden provided evidence that the United States intelligence agency has been collecting data on both nationals and foreigners via widely-used Internet services like Facebook, Google, Skype and Twitter.

Venezuela, along with at least two other countries in Latin America, has offered Snowden shelter from US authorities who want him on spying charges. But his fate remained uncertain as he appeared to be stuck in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23 without valid a passport.

Snowden’s asylum requests have been ignored or rejected by most countries.

Varela, known for her hard-line rhetoric and who describes herself as an ‘anti-imperialist’, also called on fellow citizens to seek financial compensation for the “gringo espionage”.

“We will break the US economy,” she declared on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile, have begun to demand explanations from Washington over the Prism programme.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-07-11

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