Venezuela bans CNN Spanish-language television channel, accusing it of spreading “propaganda” about an alleged visa racket at the country’s embassy in Iraq. The state National Telecommunications Commission ordered “the immediate suspension of broadcasts by the news channel CNN in Spanish” in Venezuela, a government statement said.
President Nicolas Maduro had earlier said he wanted the US-based news channel “out” of the country, where state media dominate. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told reporters the government had “ordered the relevant authorities to take action” against the channel.
Shortly after she spoke, the government made its announcement and the channel disappeared from the air, AFP reporters in Caracas said. She branded one of the channel’s sources in the report, embassy employee Misael Lopez, a “delinquent.”
Venezuela bans CNN after report on Iraq visa claims
CNN en Espanol on February 6 broadcast a report alleging that Venezuelan passports and visas had been sold at the Baghdad embassy to Arabs who the channel said may have been linked to terrorism.
The report named Maduro’s new hardline vice president, Tareck El Aissami, as one of those behind the racket.
Hardline former interior minister El Aissami, 42, is next in line to Maduro and would take over if the opposition succeeded in its bid to oust the leader in a vote.
El Aissami was targeted separately on Monday by US authorities who announced sanctions against him for alleged drug trafficking.
Rodriguez said the CNN report was “based absolutely on falsehoods.”
The top story on its Spanish-language site repeats their statement and has a larger 3-minute segment on the event. The network’s Spanish-language YouTube channel is currently live streaming their programming.