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The Varsavsky Foundation
Avenida Bruselas 7, Planta 3
28100 Alcobendas
Madrid, Spain

The political blog of a social entrepreneur

Niklas Zennstrom and Pinochet

Pinochet finally died. In this video Niklas talks about transparency on the internet and that internet is making it harder to be a dictator. Now this is my free association. I grew up suffering the dictatorship of Videla in Argentina in the 70s a contemporary of Pinochet. I think that new style dictators, like Hugo Chavez ,have a much harder time than Videla or Pinochet, who finally died at the age of 91 (how can dictators live so long??).

Videla/Pinochet could control newspapers, radios and TV and rule unchallenged. Nowaday dictators have the internet to deal with. They need the support of a majority of the population who watches TV to oppress a more educated minority, who uses the internet. The internet is always a problem for them and in many cases dictators selectively block it.

Nowadays, most people who oppress minority rights –like Ahmadinejad or Chavez– need to make the majority of people vote for them. That does not mean they are not dictators, but they are a new breed of more moderate dictators who have to learn how to use the new media tools available to them and only occasionally…murder. Hitler was elected. Being a dictator does not mean not to be popular, it simply means to have an unreasonable amount of power and use it to control the opposition and minority groups in order to remain in power for an unreasonable amount of time. Anyway, Niklas did not say any of these things. I just freely associated.

Posted on December 12, 2006