Hugo Chavez Bans Guns, Gives Away A House On Twitter, Might Be On Heavy Duty Morphine

Hugo Chavez had himself the kind of action-packed weekend fit only for a Bolivarian strongman. First, he banned all private gun sales in Venezuela -- limiting hand guns to just police and military forces -- in a move he says will help stem the wave of violent crime in his country. Then, he turned around and rewarded his three millionth Twitter follower with a free house.

Even more remarkably, his exciting fin de semana came amidst the latest dire news about his battle with cancer; a Spanish daily reports that Chavez is doped up at the moment with an opiate "100 times more potent than morphine."

Chavez announced his ban on gun ownership on Friday. In Venezuela as in the States, any citizen could get a gun permit and buy a weapon from a dealer. Now, a state-controlled weapons importer and seller will be the only legal source for guns, and only police, security agencies and the military will be able to buy them, the BBC reports.

Chavez's aim? To "disarm all civilians," the BBC writes. Venezuela saw 18,000 homicides last year and Chavez argues that stricter gun control could cut the violence.

Shortly after releasing news of the ban, Chavez turned to his real passion: Twitter. A lucky 19-year-old from Margarita Island named Natalia Valdivieso was the 3 millionth person to click "follow" on Chavez's personal @chavezcandanga account. 

Chavez quickly congratulated her:

But the real prize came on Friday, when Chavez rewarded Valdivieso with a new house on Margarita for her Twitter loyalty.

For all his delightfully Chavez-y antics, though, the Venezuelan president is still dogged by leaks claiming his return bout with cancer is worse than he's revealed. The latest report came on Saturday, via the Spanish daily ABC.  

The paper claims to have obtained the "latest intelligence reports" on Chavez health and writes that Chavez is doped up on fentanyl, a powerful opiate, to combat the pain of his cancer treatments.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >