Publication Date

2019-05-05

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2019-05-05

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies (Graduate)

Date of Defense

2019-04-02

First Committee Member

Bruce Bagley

Second Committee Member

Lilian Yaffe

Third Committee Member

Sallie Hughes

Abstract

Venezuelans are living in the middle of a sociopolitical crisis that likely began in 1999 when Hugo Chavez began his first term as president of the country; however, Venezuela has experienced a significant downturn over the past few years, under leader Nicolas Maduro. Censorship and oppression have magnified, as have economic struggles, both of which have led to a massive exodus, in which more than 300 million people have left the country. The opposition, journalists and human rights activists have been contesting the Maduro regime and one of their tools to do so has been turning to social media platforms. Social media has allowed all groups of people to denounce the injustices they see and experience. It has permitted opposition leaders to organize massive anti-government protests. It has helped Venezuelans share information and garner international attention and it has given a voice to those previously silenced, but social media is also a mechanism available to the Maduro regime. Will it ultimately be an effective tool to combat oppression or will social media be censored just as traditional media have been? I hope this thesis can serve as a contribution to the study of social media and its multiple uses as well as its setbacks.

Keywords

Venezuela; social media; Hugo Chavez; Nicolas Maduro; Juan Guaido; Leopoldo Lopez

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