Only in a country like Venezuela with such tight and ridiculous controls on press freedom could a crossword writer be accused of embedding a call to kill the president's brother in a puzzle. Perez Pirela, a TV pundit who is something like a pro-Chavez Glenn Beck, made the accusation against veteran crossword writer Neptali Segovia, whose work appears in the the Ultimas Noticias newspaper, on his show earlier this month. Segovia was then questioned by the national intelligence service.
The particular puzzle included answers like "Adan", "asesinen" (meaning "kill") and "rafaga" (which can mean either a burst of gunfire, or a gust of wind). Coincidence or hidden message to kill Chavez's brother Adan? Chavez's government wanted to find out.
"I am the first to want to clarify this. I have nothing to hide because the work I have been doing for the last 17 years has only a cultural and education intention, and is transparent," Segovia told the local press.
"I was treated respectfully. They took down my comments and made a routine summary. Then they took me home."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
- "What officials do when they misuse public funds" (Corruption);
- "Perhaps the most abused law?" (Constitution);
- "Name of supreme leader who governs our destiny? Bearded." (Fidel Castro).