Ecuador’s Government Censors App Designed to Mock President

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - May 11, 2016, 8:42 am
MashiMachine was trending nationally on Twitter for 12 hours. (Hazteoír)

EspañolEcuadorian creativity has broken the mold with the recent creation of the MashiMachine digital application, which plays videos with phrases spoken by President Rafael Correa.

MashiMachine was a national trend on Twitter for 12 hours, but was hacked a few hours later.

The app has thousands of words spoken by President Rafael Correa for the user to pick from to form sentences in a video that can be shared on social media.

“MashiMachine’s goal is to invite all citizens to participate in freedom of speech and to say whatever they want using the President’s voice. There will be no censorship or punishment,” said Jose Hernandez, Director of La Prensa.

“We believe that this is the closest thing to a virtual performance…For society this has become a kind of catharsis. That’s proven by the nearly 118,000 videos made over five days. It is the most important viral experience in Ecuador,” he said.

Censoring MashiMachine

On Monday May 9, 4Pelagatos, creator of MashiMachine, reported that the Ecuadorian government had managed to censor Twitter users that used MashiMachine with help from the Ministry of Communication (Secom).

Only on Sunday was the agency able to withdraw videos from at least six Twitter users who shared their videos.

According to 4Pelagatos, the Ministry argued some users were misusing material that Secom says belongs to them, but which is actually public domain.

On May 6, the Ministry of Communication sued the app designer. Secretary of Communications Patricio Barriga claimed videos of the President are owned by the government.

Source: 4pelagatos; La Prensa.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Businessman Who Testified in Kirchner Money-Laundering Case Found Dead

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - May 10, 2016, 5:27 pm
Horacio Quiroga

EspañolHoracio Quiroga, an Argentinean businessman who testified in a money-laundering case involving late President Néstor Kirchner, his successor Cristina Kirchner, and his business associate Lázaro Báez, was found dead on Tuesday, May 10, in his apartment in downtown Buenos Aires. Quiroga was the director of two oil companies belonging to Lázaro Baez, Epur SA and Misahar SA, until November 2010. Local media reported that his 10-year-old son found his corpse in a bathtub at home. The former businessman had a cut on the forehead of about 10 cm wide, and the bathroom doors were closed at the time they found him, according to newspaper La Nación. Read More: Kirchner Real Estate Firm with One Employee Makes Millions Read More: Former President Kirchner and Son Charged with Unjust Enrichment Argentina's federal police continue investigating on the site and the reason for his death is still unknown. Quiroga a was key witness in the investigation that involves the Kirchner family. It was thanks to his testimony that an investigation for money laundering against Lázaro Báez and the late President Néstor Kirchner began. In 2013, after revealing the case for the first time to Noticias magazine, he told Congresswoman Elisa Carrió that he feared for his safety and that of his family. After Quiroga's interview to Noticias, federal judge Sebastián Casanello took his testimony. He told the judge that the late President Néstor Kirchner laundered around US$7 million in cash through the two Báez's companies that he headed. In an interview with Infobae in early April this year, Quiroga confirmed that Báez took orders from President Néstor Kirchner and that he witnessed the counting of the money. "In our company I saw people counting a lot of money. Up to US$7 million in cash were on a table. I do not know if [Báez] stole for [the president]. What I know is that Báez enriched himself scandalously, in a way impossible to justify," Quiroga said. // In 2013, Quiroga was evicted from an apartment that he rented from Báez in Puerto Madero, an upscale Buenos Aires neighborhood, over his interview to Noticias magazine, according to him. The investigation only yield concrete results in 2016, when a video surfaced showing Lázaro Báez's son counting millions of dollars and when Leonardo Fariña, a witness under protection, began confessing the details of the money-laundering scheme. Thanks to these two pieces of evidence, the Argentinean justice formally charged Lázaro Báez and his accountant Danile Gadin Pérez, as well as former President Cristina Kirchner and Former Planning Minister Julio de Vido. Source: La Nación, Infobae.

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