Block of Wikipedia in Venezuela
The Venezuelan state company CANTV, the main telecommunications provider to Venezuela, has issued a block against the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. CANTV has 1.5 million users, all of whom were affected by the decision.
The major block started about the 12 January 2019 until approximately 18 January. The block coincided with Juan Guaidó's claims to become acting president in the beginning of the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis. During the crisis, several internet outages have been reported alongside the block of other websites.
The Wikipedia block occurred in the midst of several edit wars on the Spanish Wikipedia articles of Nicolás Maduro, Juan Guaidó, President of Venezuela and List of Presidents of Venezuela. The edit wars were in conflict over edits by both registered users and anonymous IP users, with different opinions on the re-election of Maduro as president of Venezuela from 2019, the assumption of the presidency by Guaidó, as well as about the chronology of the presidency. Initial edits claimed that Guaidó declared himself president, with following wars removing this information.
On the afternoon of 12 January 2019, the NetBlocks internet observatory collected technical evidence of the blocking of all versions of Wikipedia in Venezuela. The restrictions were implemented by CANTV, the largest telecommunications provider in the country. NetBlocks identified a major disruption to the network affecting the telecommunications infrastructure, which coincided with other restrictions affecting the ability of Venezuelans to access information in the previous 24 hours. It is believed that the reason is an attempt to hide or suppress the Wikipedia article of the newly appointed president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, who included him as "51st President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela." The information collected also shows several websites that had recently been restricted, meaning that political instability in the country may be the main motive for the control of the Internet.
The Observatory VE without filters (Spanish: VE sin Filtro) also collected information about the block, showing that it is an irregularly effective block, an HTTP filtering block according to the SNI (Server Name Indication), preventing a connection to the server from being established with high frequency. The group reported that they thought that the block had ended on 13 January at 4:50pm, but the blocking methods showed up later, and they deleted the tweet with the incorrect information.
Similarly, several media outlets suggested that Wikipedia directly or indirectly was taking sides with either group.[n. 1]
On 13 January, the Wikimedia Foundation said that they were opening an investigation into the ongoing event, and that they were still receiving web traffic and edits from Venezuela at the same time.
In a statement, Wikimedia Venezuela announced:
During the last 72 hours, volunteers with the non-profit civil association of Wikipedia have shown us their inability to access the free encyclopedia using the most prevalent Internet service provider in Venezuela, the state company CANTV— Wikimedia Venezuela. From Sobre el bloqueo de Venezuela official statement, 16 January 2019.
On 15 January, Nicolás Maduro spoke about Wikipedia and said that the opposition was "aiming to garner political power and become president of the Wikipedia Republic, of the Twitter Republic", in reference to the edit wars that took place surrounding the appointment of Juan Guaidó as president in the midst of the presidential crisis. Maduro added "There they are with their Wikipedia and their Twitter".
William Castillo, former president of the National Commission of Telecommunications (Conatel) and current deputy minister of International Communication denied the block of Wikipedia, and alleged that it was a DoS attack against the site, to discredit the Venezuelan government.
- Benjakob, Omar (13 January 2019). "Venezuela Blocks Wikipedia After Maduro 'Ousted' From Article, Internet Watchdog Says". Haaretz (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "¿Asustados? Cantv bloqueó Wikipedia". EP Mundo (in Spanish). 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Wikipedia ya está disponible para Venezuela tras ser bloqueado por Cantv". El Pitazo (in Spanish). 19 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- "From the blocking of Wikipedia to Social Media: Venezuela's Political Crisis". IPYS Venezuela. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- "Evidence of regional internet blackouts across Venezuela". NetBlocks. 2019-01-27. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- Rueda, Manuel (2019-02-03). "Venezuelan opposition targeted by internet censors". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- @wikimedia_ve (2019-01-23). "#23Ene Reportamos, nuevamente, un bloqueo parcial para acceder a #Wikipedia en #Venezuela desde @ContactoCantv y @SomosMovilnet_. Ayúdanos a reportar: ¿puedes acceder sin problemas? ¡Los leemos! @Wikimediapic.twitter.com/XeVOh8zWMM". Twitter (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- Pulgarín, Jovan (16 January 2019). "Wikipedia ha sido bloqueada por el gobierno de Venezuela –y esta es la razón". CNET (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Venezuela blocks Wikipedia amid presidential dispute". PPC Land. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Wikipedia blocked in Venezuela as internet controls tighten". NetBlocks. 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- @vesinfiltro (13 January 2019). "Sobre @Wikipedia bloqueada en #CANTV en #Venezuela: Bloqueo irregularmente efectivo, similar a otros bloqueos recientes en #CANTVbloquea #internetVE". Twitter. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "Perfil de Guaidó en Wikipedia lo señala como presidente interino de Venezuela" [Profile of Guaidó in Wikipedia designates him as acting president of Venezuela]. Noticiero Digital (in Spanish). 11 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Cantv habría bloqueado acceso a Wikipedia donde se señaló que Juan Guaidó era "presidente venezolano"" [CANTV reportedly blocked access to Wikipedia where it was claimed that Juan Guaidó was "Venezuelan president".]. caraotadigital.net (in Spanish). 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Wikipedia asumió que Juan Guaidó es el presidente interino de Venezuela" [Wikipedia assumed that Juan Guaidó is the acting president of Venezuela]. Diario 2001 (in Spanish). 11 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Juan Guaidó presidente interino de Venezuela, hasta en Wikipedia" [Juan Guaidó acting president of Venezuela, even in Wikipedia]. Venezuela al Día (in Spanish). 13 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Wikipedia actualiza su página y posiciona a Juan Guaidó como el Presidente número 51 de Venezuela #11Ene" [Wikipedia updates its page and positions Juan Guaidó as the 51st President of Venezuela #11Ene]. El Impulso (in Spanish). 11 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Nota de Juan Guaidó en Wikipedia cambia 37 veces en dos horas y nueve minutos este #11E" [Note of Juan Guaidó in Wikipedia changes 37 times in two hours and nine minutes this #11E]. Efecto Cocuyo (in Spanish). 11 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "¡Polémica! Sepa por qué Wikipedia declaró presidente a Guaidó" [Controversy! Learn why Wikipedia declared Guaidó president]. EP Mundo (in Spanish). 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "En Wikipedia designan como presidente interino de Venezuela a opositor de Maduro" [In Wikipedia Maduro's opponent is designed acting president of Venezuela]. Bio Bio Chile (in Spanish). 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- ""Guerra de ediciones" en Wikipedia por los dos "presidentes" de Venezuela" ["Edit wars" on Wikipedia for the two "presidents" of Venezuela]. La Nación (in Spanish). 12 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Una guerra virtual desatada en Wikipedia terminó con el bloqueo de la página en Venezuela". FayerWayer (in Spanish). 15 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- @wikimedia_ve (16 January 2019). "Sobre el bloqueo de Venezuela". Twitter (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "Maduro habla de la oposición con 'un presidente de la república de Wikipedia' y enciende Internet". El Comercio (in Spanish). 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Cabana, Kelly (15 January 2019). "Maduro dice que la oposición tiene un presidente de Wikipedia". La FM (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- Castillo, Carlos del. "Venezuela y Wikipedia se contradicen: ¿bloqueó Maduro el acceso a la enciclopedia tras una "guerra de ediciones"?". eldiario.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-02-05.