Crossword Puzzle or Coded Threat? Venezuela Ponders
Writer accused of suggesting assassination of Hugo Chavez's brother
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2012 5:47 AM CDT
A Venezuelan crossword puzzle writer is accused of political dirty tricks.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It makes American politics look sane: Venezuela's intelligence service grilled a crossword puzzle maker this week because some think he called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez's brother in code. As Reuters explains, answers to one newspaper puzzle included the words "adan" (the first name of the president's brother), "rafaga" (which can mean gunfire), and "asesinen" (kill).

A prominent Chavez backer called it a death threat on national TV, arguing, "These sorts of messages were used a lot in World War II." The puzzle writer denies it and says his work over 17 years has "only a cultural and education intention." He blamed "irresponsible people who are seeking to generate a controversy in an election season," notes the New York Times. Chavez, who is battling cancer, is up for re-election in October.