Venezuela’s Maduro Admits to Cheating Facebook Ban with Wife’s Account

CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 12: President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at Miraflores Government Palace on March 12, 2020 in Caracas, Venezuela. Maduro announced a travel ban for travelers flying in from Europe and Colombia and restricted gatherings and massive events in an attempt to stem …
Carolina Cabral/Getty Images

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro told supporters in a nationally televised broadcast Wednesday that he is evading a currently active ban on posting to Facebook by using his wife’s, “First Combatant” Cilia Flores, account.

Maduro once again condemned the censorship of his page, a result of repeated postings promoting unproven and dangerous alleged coronavirus “cures,” as part of a “criminal persecution that the empire [the United States] has launched against our country.”

Facebook banned Maduro from posting from his official page for 30 days on March 26 and deleted a video he posted promoting “Carvativir,” an oil made of thyme and oregano, as an alleged coronavirus cure. Maduro and his illegitimate socialist regime refer to Carvativir as “miracle droplets” and claim it eliminates Chinese coronavirus infections. Maduro has also extensively promoted the use of ozone to cure coronavirus infections; the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized the use of ozone in this manner — or to disinfect surfaces and products — because the amount of the gas it takes to kill coronavirus cells is higher than the amount a human being can safely ingest.

Facebook terms of use appear to prevent users whose content prompts restrictions on their account from evading the limitations through other accounts. In a recent example, Facebook officials warned Lara Trump last month that an interview she promoted on the site with her father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, would violate Facebook regulations because the former president himself cannot use the platform.

Maduro told viewers on his state propaganda network, VTV, on Wednesday, that a group online chat between himself and representatives of Venezuela’s 24 states was being broadcast concurrently on Facebook live through Flores’ account, essentially allowing him a live, unregulated platform on the social media network.

“We are now connecting with the leaders of the promoting committees of every municipality in the country and through social media, through Facebook live, through the account of my wife, Cilia Flores,” Maduro said, “since, as you all know, they censored by [sic] Facebook live over making recommendations for the health of the people, for tending to the pandemic in Venezuela.”

The video remains available on Flores’ official Facebook page at press time.

“Facebook got the idea to censor me. We sent our official complaint to the Facebook company and they haven’t responded,” Maduro added. “They haven’t answered the letters we have sent in more than 15 days, so Cilia lends me her Facebook and you guys can connect there through your Facebook.”

Maduro went on to accuse Facebook of attempting to create “a new hegemony” alongside unnamed “multinational corporations” to censor socialists.

Facebook confirmed to several news organizations in late March that it had locked the Venezuelan socialist dictator out of his official page for 30 days and deleted a video promoting false coronavirus cures.

“We removed a video posted to President Nicolás Maduro’s page for violating our policies against misinformation about Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] that is likely to put people at risk for harm,” a spokesperson told the BBC at the time. “We follow guidance from the W.H.O. [World Health Organization] that says there is currently no medication to cure the virus. Due to repeated violations of our rules, we are also freezing the page for 30 days, during which it will be read-only.”

Facebook has yet to weigh in officially on Maduro’s return to Facebook through his wife’s account. The Facebook “help” website — in response to the question “If a person is ban [sic] from Facebook for 30 days. Are they allowed to have a second account?” — appears to consider the practice a violation of terms of use.

“We disable Facebook accounts that don’t follow the Facebook Terms. If your account has been disabled, we ask that you wait until your block has been lifted,” the page, from 2015, reads. “Furthermore, having two Facebook accounts is against policy and can often times result in another temporary block.”

Facebook’s action against the potential publication of an interview with former President Trump also appears to be consistent with this policy. Following her announcement of an upcoming interview with Trump, Lara Trump published the content of a message she received from a Facebook operative warning her not to upload the video.

“Content posted on Facebook and Instagram in the voice of President Trump is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking) and will be removed if posted, resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it,” the message read.

Venezuela is currently suspected to be enduring a severe coronavirus crisis, though official statistics published by the Maduro regime indicate a much smaller national epidemic than in neighboring free states like Colombia and Brazil. Even Maduro’s statistics have repeatedly broken one-day records in the number of cases in the country in the past week, however, suggesting a worsening problem. At press time, Venezuela has documented 170,189 cases of Chinese coronavirus nationwide and 1,705 deaths, compared to millions of cases in the two aforementioned South American countries.

Venezuelans largely distrust the regime. A poll published this weekend found over 80 percent of Venezuelans nationwide do not believe the official coronavirus numbers, a slight increase in distrust from the results of a similar poll in October.

Maduro has not been legally president of Venezuela since January 2019, when his last legitimate term expired.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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