Chavez Whines About 'Little Hugo' Dog in Colombian Soap
TV company ordered to yank 'shameless' program
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 17, 2011 4:02 AM CST
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, speaks during his annual state of the union address at the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend.   (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

(Newser) – A diplomatic battle is brewing over the unlikeliest of things: a Colombian soap opera. Chepe Fortune features a dog named Little Hugo that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is convinced represents him. It also features a character called Colombia and her little sister, Venezuela, who owns the annoying dog. Venezuela (the woman) loses the dog in one episode, and her sister tells her she's better off without him, reports the BBC. The Venezuelan government has ordered a private TV company to stop showing the series in the nation because it's insulting to the country.

The role of Venezuela is "repeatedly characterized as associated with crime, interference and vulgarity," said Chavez's telecommunications chief. The "shameless manipulation" of the program is a "plot to demoralize the Venezuelan people," he added. The program's producer denies the series is intended as a swipe against Venezuela. The dog fight is emerging just as the two nations are trying to improve their fractured relationship.