Venezuelans Dismiss Minister's Comments Urging Facebook Exodus

Created: 2013-07-12 13:15 EST

Category: World > South America
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Many Venezuelans remained unfazed after a government minister Thursday (July 11) urged citizens to shut their Facebook accounts, to avoid being unwitting informants for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Prisons Minister Iris Varela Twittered, "Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts; you've been working for free as CIA informants. Review the Snowden case!" in reference to recent revelations about U.S. spy programs.

Former U.S. spy, Edward Snowden, last month leaked details about American intelligence agencies obtaining information from popular websites, including Facebook.

Varela proposed bankrupting the U.S. by suing for compensation.

Social networking specialist Frank Monroy says the minister is not making sense.

[Frank Monroy, Social Networking Specialist]:
"It makes no sense beyond propaganda, beyond grandstanding. It seems like a comment by a fan and not of a high government official, because it makes no sense, it is not going to ruin any economy. If we were all to sue Facebook, which is not a public company but one that has a limited capacity, if we sue it, it's Facebook that winds up being affected, not the U.S. economy."

Student Nenibeth Coy says it’s likely the U.S. wants to spy on average Venezuelans.

[Nenibeth Coy, Student]:
"I don't think that this is true. I don't think that the CIA is interested in knowing what every person is doing, rather there are certain people and those are who they investigate. It seems to me that it isn't consistent."

Venezuela has offered to provide asylum for Snowden but he has not responded, and appears unable to leave the transit zone of a Russian Airport.

He exposed a program known as PRISM, that relied on customer data supplied by major technology companies.