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Chavez beefs up Twitter moves with state funds, staff

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AFP – Just days after his new Twitter account became a must-read in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez said he was setting up a special office with 200 staff and public funds to handle requests supporters Tweet him.

“I’ve created my own Chavezcandanga mission to answer (the messages) and we’re even going to create a fund for the mission to provide many things that are now missing and that are urgent,” Chavez said late Saturday during a televised cabinet meeting.

He said the public fund will be used to make the most needed improvements in the country that his followers bring to his attention, such as in the health care and housing sectors.

Chavez late last month opened his Twitter account and it quickly took top billing in the South American country with an estimated 248,000 followers.

Chavez’s profile name combines his own name with the word “Candanga,” which in Venezuela is used to refer to someone naughty or wild.

The president warned, however, that he is not always readily available to tweet.

“Sometimes four hours go by without me tweeting because when I’m in meetings like this one, how can I tweet,” he said.

“So don’t get used to me, because I’ve got a lot of work to do and can go an entire day” without a new post on the popular microblogging service, he said.

Twitter, which limits its users to posts of no more than 140 characters, has more than 105 million registered users worlwide.

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