Monday, November 17, 2008

Venezuela's Chavez spies on rivals in election game

If you thought the US tramples on rights, how about using the telephone and having that conversation in a political ad?  Chavez, man of the people, as long as you vote for him.

Venezuela's Chavez spies on rivals in election game - Yahoo! News
Government wire-tapping of opposition leaders may conjure up images of Soviet-bloc police states, but in the Venezuela of President Hugo Chavez it's the stuff of state TV commercials.

The Chavez government has turned a barrage of tapped conversations into tongue-in-cheek advertisements slamming the leftist leader's rivals before tough regional elections on Sunday in which a handful of his allies are likely to lose governorships.

One set of state TV spots features recordings of opposition leader Manuel Rosales discussing campaign finance or the purchase of expensive jewelry along with slapstick sound effects and pictures of rings and a Cartier watch.

Another state TV ad replays a conversation of Rosales negotiating the purchase of cattle to a backdrop of mooing sounds and cartoon pictures of coins.

"They use shameful systems to get information, but that's their problem -- I'm relaxed," said Rosales.

Despite the strangely playful twist on spying, Chavez's latest tactic is in keeping with his intimidation of opponents and helps fire up his support base among the majority poor.

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