Hugo Chavez gets 34,000 followers after a single tweet

Posted by Emma Woollacott

It's pretty good going to get 34,369 Twitter followers (and counting) after a single tweet - and over 12,000 of those signed up to follow Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez before he'd even typed a word.

But Twitter is enormously popular in Venezuela, with over 200,000 active users. Unfortunately, they're not all big fans of Chavez - indeed, the country's most popular Tweeter, television station Globovision, is also the president's most vocal critic.

Chavez's first, eagerly-awaited tweet reads: "Epa que tal? Aparecí como lo dije: a la medianoche. Pa Brasil me voy. Y muy contento a trabajar por Venezuela. Venceremos!!"

Which means something like: "How's it going? Appeared as I said at midnight. To Brazil I go. And very happy to work in Venezuela. We will win!!"

The strategy seems to be working, at least at first. One reply to Chavez reads: "welcome to twitter president I hope we can be closer to you."
"HAPPY TRIP President ... God and the Virgin accompany you and protect...!!!!!" reads another.

But there's the odd voice of disagreement: "I have no water or electricity because of you," says one. "When will you release those accused as spies kidnapped by the simple fact of being Colombian !!!??" says another.

The 140-character limit on tweets may prove something of a handicap for poor Hugo, who has a reputation for rather long-winded speeches, some of which last for hours.

You can hang on his every word, here.