El Pais apologises for 'fake' Chavez photo
A photo published by the largest newspaper in Spain has been retracted after the Venezuelan government asserted that it was a 'grotesque' fake
Spain's El Pais newspaper, which has a readership larger than that the Times of London, has apologised and withdrawn the above picture, which it claimed was of a sick Hugo Chavez on a hospital bed in Cuba.
The photo, headlined, "the secret of Chavez's illness" was withdrawn after complaints by the Venezuelan government and investigations into its veracity.
Published this morning, El Pais stated that it had obtained the image from a news agency, but that it had not been able to independently verify the date, location or circumstances of the photo.
In recent weeks, speculation has risen about the whereabouts of the cancer-suffering Venezuelan President, with opposition leaders asserting that since Chavez was unable to attend his inauguration following re-election, the the Venezuelan constitution dictated that he should no longer be president.
This apparently, has not stopped Chavez's thugs attempting to squash out rumours of his whereabouts. The security services in the country have been going to great lengths to stamp out speculation about Chavez's health, including raiding houses of the families of opposition members and those they deem to be "online terrorists" for tweeting information about the president, who is still reportedly in Cuba.
Earlier this week, it was claimed by Chavez propagandists that the president is now undergoing physical therapy after his numerous medical procedures. No information was presented as to why the Venezuelan president was unable to do this from Venezuela.
The BBC reports that El Pais has withdrawn the photo from its website and collected copies of the first edition of Thursday's paper from newsstands.
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