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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Marcel Granier

Interviewed February 11, 2010

Well it´s been– it´s very interesting to see what new technologies are doing to our ways of communicating. For example, look at Twitter. Twitter can be seen from different angles. On one angle, it´s the best source of gossip I´ve ever seen in my life. And people use Twitter for gossiping in an incredible fashion. And it amazes me how much time can– people can spend in something as useless, as we´ll say, as gossiping.

But it that gossiping helped form a very substantial community of Tweeters and of or Tweeting people. I don´t know how to call them. And those Tweeting people have a very effective mean of communicating themselves, letting them know I mean things providing information.

It can range from traffic to police abuses to the disappearance of someone to the need for some– from some prescription. So it plays an important role. I mean it costs nothing because most people have access to Twitter in Venezuela. And, as I said, there is a very substantial community.

On the bad side, of course, it gives the government the opportunity to know what people are thinking. But to follow hundreds of thousands of people requires a very substantial and intelligent police force. And I think the government, no matter how clever the Cubans are at policing a society, they cannot follow hundreds of thousands of people and interpret what they mean, what they are saying.

They know that some people have substantial following. 100,000 followers, 200,000 followers, which are substantial numbers in Venezuela. But then you have to read all those messages to interpret them. I mean that´s not easy.

And that what why the police work in Venezuela is so messy. They are spending look at the typical Venezuelan bureaucrat. He has to spend over three and a half hours a day listening to Chavez. I mean Chavez talks on a week, on a regular week, he talks more than 40 hours. So that takes all your– to– your– your laboring time.

And on top of that you have to follow the Twitter of your position to know what they are thinking and what they are planning or what they are willing to do. But at the same time you have to follow Chavez´ Twitter as well, because that´s one of the means he uses to give instructions. Because everything in Venezuela has to be decided by Chavez. Not the minister. Not an ambassador. Not a representative on Congress. Nobody dares to make a decision according to his own judgment. He has to know what Chavez thinks about that.

So if the minister has to buy a new suit, he will look into Twitter or who– he will watch television to see what kind of suit Chavez is wearing. And he gets confused, because it– when he´s talking publicly he will always be wearing a red shirt with a huge bulletproof vest.

But if he´s meeting the President of Colombia, then he wears a suit. A Saville row kind of suit. And with a very fashionable tie and shirt. And a huge watch. And so they are confused about little things as how to dress. Imagine when they have to make a decision on how to tackle production or how to tackle new investments or how to decide policy or education or health or things more complicated that require more time to study. So the problem with the Venezuela bureaucracy is that it has doubled over the last 10 years. But people are spending more and more time listening to gossip or listening to the Chavez parades.