Venezuelan citizens have been encouraged to shut down their Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) accounts by a government minister in fears of them becoming unknowing informants for U.S intelligence gatherers such as the Central Intelligence Agency.
Prisons Minister for Venezuela, Iris Varela, posted the suggestion on her Twitter account in reference to revelations leaked recently about U.S. surveillance programs and their link with major technology corporations.
Varela, who is known for radical rhetoric and support of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez tweeted, “Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts, you’ve been working for free as CIA informants. Review the Snowden case!” She added, “Countries and people that have fallen victim to gringo spying should sue the United States to ensure fair compensation. We’re going to bankrupt the U.S. economy!”
Varela was referring to the recent events surrounding former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, who was last reported stranded at a Moscow airport while trying to avoid capture by the U.S.
Snowden is wanted by Washington on espionage charges for leaking details about how U.S. intelligence agencies obtain information from popular websites such as Facebook. Snowden also divulged details regarding secret U.S. surveillance programs including PRISM, which primarily relies on customer data supplied by technology corporations.
On Thursday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua, offered to provide asylum for Snowden, but Snowden has not yet responded and appears unable to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport. “We communicated last week, we made an offer and so far we haven’t received a reply,” Juau said.
Foreign ministers from the Mercosur bloc of South American nations, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, are preparing for a summit on Friday where leaders are expected to respond to allegations that Washington spied extensively in the region. Another topic of precedence at the meeting will be the diversion of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane over European airspace last week. Allegedly, the plane was diverted on suspicions Snowden was onboard. The presidents of Ecuador and Bolivia will also attend the meeting on Friday.