By: John Roberts
Valdivieso Natalia sent messages of celebration on her Twitter account in her new home on Thursday, one of them said, "Thanks, my house is very beautiful!" She said there were about 200 families receiving public housing in the area of the Island of Margarita.
Chavez congratulated Valdivieso in a message on Monday when he said she had become his 3 millionth follower. His regional campaign manager, Carlos Mata Figueroa, later announced that she would get a free home. Government officials said Valdivieso is 19 years old.
The Chavez government has been building new public housing complexes before the October presidential elections.
In other posts Thursday, Valdivieso called Chavez "the best president" and gushed: "I woke up
knowing that this is the happiest day of my life!"
The stunt also drew criticism from some, and jokes from others.
Government critic Gustavo Coronel wrote on his blog that it was "intolerable" that Chavez has awarded someone simply for being his follower. He noted the house was built with government money, not money from Chavez, he asked the president how he dared to distribute government funds on the basis of political support. "It is shame to give government charity to those who follow him," wrote the Colonel.