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Hugo Chavez's 3 millionth Twitter follower gets a free house

The gesture has been criticised by some and mocked by others who worried about the other 2,999,999 followers.

Chavez waves to his supporters from his Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas earlier this year.
Chavez waves to his supporters from his Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas earlier this year.
Image: Ariana Cubillos/AP/Press Association Images

A YOUNG WOMAN in Venezuela has been rewarded with a new home by the country’s president Hugo Chavez after she became the three millionth person to follow him on Twitter.

Natalia Valdivieso, 19, posted celebratory messages on her Twitter account as she received a new home in one of the new public housing complexes Chavez’s government is building ahead of the country’s October elections.

In a series of messages, the teenager thanked the president, one of them reading: “Thank you my home is very beautiful!”. In other she referred to the socialist leader as “my sweetheart” thanking him for his government’s policies in Venezuela.

She said there were about 200 families receiving public housing in her area on Margarita Island.

In a message on Monday, Chavez congratulated Natalia, saying to her on Twitter: “Hey my dear Natalia! You have become the follower no. 3 million chavezcandanga! I thank you and congratulations!”

Though he has guaranteed at least one voter in the 7 October election as he seeks a fourth term in the office he has held since 1999, the give away has been criticised as well as mocked.

Government critic Gustavo Coronel wrote on his blog that it was “intolerable” for Chavez to have rewarded someone in such a way simply for being a supporter, noting the home was built with government money, not Chavez’s money.

“It’s about shamelessly giving charity to those who follow him,” Coronel wrote.

But some saw the lighter side of the whole affair.

The satirical website El Chiguire Bipolar poked fun at the free house with a mock news article saying that Chavez’s 2,999,999 other Twitters followers were disappointed.

“Millions of the president’s followers complained at having received nothing,” it said, adding: “We tried to locate the follower 3,000,001 for their views on the subject and discovered it was a porn spambot.”

- with reporting from Associated Press

Read: Chavez makes energetic homecoming after surgery

Read: Where’s Hugo? He’s running Venezuela on Twitter from his hospital bed

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Hugh O'Connell

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