Venezuelan Internet is Down Amid Social Unrest and Political Fission

By Bill Toulas / February 5, 2019

As we have seen it happen in other places in the world recently, when governments feel threatened by social unrest, they shut the internet down. This helps in making the coordination of the opposition harder, so calls to protests and demonstrations cannot reach a broader social base quickly. In the case of Venezuela, it is President Maduro who feels threatened, especially after the US and Europe political status quo officially recognized Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, responsible for carrying out democratic elections in the economically-tortured country.

However, the government of Maduro is also using the internet to call their advocates to supportive rallies, so Venezuelans see an on/off approach in regards to when the internet is operational, depending on when the government needs it, and when the opposition needs to be silenced. As Alp Toker, the Executive Director at NetBlocks has told Top10VPN: “technical data shows that Venezuela’s networks are restricted during protests and critical speeches, only to return when the incumbent presidency uses Twitter to call supporters to its own rallies.”

Venezuelans use a set of methods to bypass the imposed censorship, like VPNs and Google DNS. Some VPN services have been blocked as well, but for now, Psiphon, Lantern, TunnelBear, and ProtonVPN are considered functional solutions. However, with the government shutting down the internet entirely, no VPN or alternative DNS server can help, so the only choice left is internet services that are available in networks near the Colombia and Brazil border, as well as that of Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, these open portals act as a channel of communication for Venezuelans and the rest of the world, and there’s nothing that the Maduro government can do about it really.

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Do you believe that censorship on the internet is indeed an effective way to protect authoritarian government interests, or is it just a temporary annoyance that only makes things worse for them? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below, and don’t forget to like this story and subscribe to our socials on Facebook and Twitter, so that you get daily fresh tech news.

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