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Venezuela's Maduro hits Twitter milestone, still lags mentor Chavez

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks to media after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart President Mahmoud Abbas at Miraflores
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks to media after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart President Mahmoud Abbas at Miraflores

By Alexandra Ulmer

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has hit a Twitter feed milestone of 2 million followers, though his cyber popularity still lags far behind that of his charismatic predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.

"Today I reached 2 million followers on my Twitter feed that's been active for barely a year!" he exclaimed during a speech to university students, lauding the follower who propelled him above the mark.

"Greetings to Mr. Enver Segundo Medina Dias, of Maracaibo, I'll see him tomorrow. He's 53 years old, a compatriot, Evangelical ... What was he doing up so late? It was like at 1 a.m. and this man - bam - he logged on."

Maduro, like Chavez, regularly blasts mainstream media as agents of a greedy U.S.-led capitalist system that misrepresents the self-styled Socialist state.

Both leaders proved avid users of Twitter, a U.S.-based social networking company known for its service that lets people send and post text messages of 140 characters.

Maduro's main Spanish-language @NicolasMaduro Twitter account has been complemented with sister handles in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

But on Twitter as in reality, Maduro has failed to trigger the same fervent adoration as Chavez, who amassed 4 million followers.

Still, Maduro said the platform is helping him reveal the "true" Venezuela to people in the country's ideological foe the United States.

"Of those 2 million, 30 percent are followers in the United States ... Every day my messages are reaching them. I thank all followers of this communications tool through which we're telling the truth about Venezuela, where we show the true Venezuela," he said.

Venezuela says Washington is behind the last three months of massive street protests. On Friday, Caracas lodged a formal complaint against the superpower during a meeting of the Union of South American States (UNASUR).

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by David Gregorio)

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