No Tweets for You: Correa’s Opponents Censored

Rafael Correa and Twitter censorship
(PanAm Post)

Español“Sorry, that user is suspended.” That is what you’ll read when searching Twitter for the opponents of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. In the last 24 hours, Diana Amores (@Diana_Amores), Carlos Andrés Vera (@polificción), Juan Carlos (@carlitoswayec), and José Joaquín Olmedo (@jjolmedo) have all had their Twitter accounts shut down.

All four of the suspended accounts were known for being highly critical of Rafael Correa’s faults and failures.

A few hours before his Twitter account was taken offline, José Joaquín Olmedo tweeted: “Please Ecuador, don’t give in to tyranny. Keep informing and communicating. We cannot read anyone. We will not give up Resistance SOS.”

Carlos Andrés Vera, a well-known filmmaker, has not yet publicly criticized the suspension of his Twitter account. However, his father, activist and writer Carlos Vera Rodríguez, took to Twitter himself to denounce his son’s suspension.

Twitter suspended @Polificcion’s account for the 2nd time. He did not violate terms of use. How heavy does a tweet weigh on tyranny!

Vera Rodríguez also pointed out that the companies IMS Media and Ximah Digital both work with Twitter in Latin America, and that these companies also happen to have business relationships with Ecuador’s government.

1. @imscorp represents @twitter in Latin America. We need to ask why Twitter’s representative in Ecuador is also the government’s digital agency.

Vera Rodríguez tweeted at Ximah’s manager in Ecuador, Juan Carlos Váscones, and questioned their involvement in the suspensions. “If the government’s digital agency also works for Twitter in Latin America, we have reasons to believe they are behind these acts.”

Váscones responded to Vera Rodríguez’s claims by saying, “If you’d like to defame me, you’ll have to do it with evidence. I will not accept you speaking lies. Apologize for defaming me.”

Diana Amores, a prominent activist in Ecuador, told El Universo“I received a few notifications from my followers claiming they had trouble seeing my account.” She says she was contacted by Twitter and told her account had been suspended for violating their user agreement regarding the use of automated systems to gain more followers.

Amores denies Twitter’s claims and says she has submitted a report and is waiting to hear back from the company’s representatives.

In the past, Rafael Correa has offered Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and NSA leaker Edward Snowden political asylum in his country, claiming his government believes strongly in freedom of expression.

Snowden, a former systems administrator for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and private intelligence contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), is accused of revealing details of classified US information about government surveillance to news organizations.

However, Correa’s government is now being accused of doing the same thing Snowden denounced: mass surveillance of the public.

According to Semana, Ecuador purchased US$5.5 million in equipment from an Israeli company to intercept calls and other electronic communications from cell phones.

The equipment gives the government complete access to their citizens’ private calls. It identifies incoming and outgoing calls and can intercept text messages. It also comes with a tracking service, providing a device’s location through visual and audio recognition.

Subscribe free to our daily newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special reports delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time