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Venezuela urges citizens to quit Facebook

Minister Iris Varela believes this will help prevent the CIA from spying on them.

The minister says this will help prevent CIA agents from spying on them. Facebook Logo.

CARACAS - A Venezuelan government minister on Wednesday urged citizens to shut Facebook accounts to avoid being unwitting informants for the US Central Intelligence Agency, referring to recent revelations about US surveillance programs.

Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor who is stuck in a Moscow airport while seeking to avoid capture by the United States, last month leaked details about American intelligence agencies obtaining information from popular websites including Facebook.

"Comrades: cancel your Facebook accounts, you've been working for free as CIA informants. Review the Snowden case!" wrote Prisons Minister Iris Varela on her Twitter account.

Venezuela has offered to provide asylum for Snowden, but he has not responded and appears unable to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.

He exposed a program known as Prism that relied on customer data supplied by major technology companies.

"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 US economy!" wrote Varela, known for radical rhetoric and ardent support of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

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