Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has accused Twitter of attacking his account and those of several cabinet officials as part of a right-wing plot.
Maduro said late Thursday that the alleged attack was conducted in concert with social networks to provoke unrest and suspend upcoming December 8 municipal elections.
Communications Minister Delsy Rodriguez said nearly 6,600 Maduro followers disappeared from the president’s account in 10 minutes, although she did not specify when the incident too place. As of Friday, Maduro’s official Twitter account had 1.4 million followers.
Rodriguez said her own Twitter account had also been suspended.
“We’ve uncovered a massive attack by the Twitter company and the international right against the accounts of Bolivarian patriots and Venezuelan Chavistas, coming from various parts of the world,” Maduro said.
A Twitter spokesperson declined comment.
Senior opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez said it was “ridiculous” that Maduro was worried about the loss of Twitter followers at a time when the oil-rich country is beset by economic crises.
Speaking in Miami, the former mayor who heads the Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) Party said Maduro is “totally out of touch with what’s happening in the country.”
Maduro, the hand-picked successor of late president Hugo Chavez, was elected president April 14 over opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who has refused to recognize his 1.49 percent win.
Analysts see the December polls in which Venezuelans will cast ballots for mayors and municipal council members as a key barometer of support for the government.
For months, Maduro has denounced alleged plots from abroad to sow trouble, overturn the government, assassinate members of the executive branch and aid opposition.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]