Venezuela crossword-writer accused of plotting to kill brother of President Hugo Chavez


A woman walks by graffiti depicting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on April 24, 2012.

A crossword puzzle-writer in Venezuela has been accused of hiding a coded message in the answers to clues to assassinate the brother of President Hugo Chavez.

Neptali Segovia, an English teacher who has written the crossword puzzle for Ultimas Noticias for 17 years, has denied plotting to have Adan Chavez killed, the Spanish-language newspaper said today.

Pro-government television commentator Miguel Angel Perez Pirela made the accusations this week, Reuters reported.

Pirela said a group of experts including mathematicians and psychologists had studied Wednesday's crossword and agreed it was a coded assassination plot.

Reuters said answers to clues included "Adan", "asesinen" (meaning "kill") and "rafaga" (which can mean either a burst of gunfire, or a gust of wind).

Adan is governor of Barinas state and has been touted as a possible successor to his brother, according to the BBC.

Ultimas Noticias said that Segovia went voluntarily to the headquarters of Venezuela’s intelligence service on Thursday after six officers came to the newspaper’s office in Caracas.

"I went because no-one is more interested in clarifying this than me," the paper quoted him as saying.

"I have nothing to hide because the work I have been doing for 17 years only has a cultural and educational intention.”

The BBC said the accusation against Segovia comes amid rising tension in Venezuela ahead of the country’s presidential election in October and uncertainty over the health of President Chavez, who is being treated for cancer in Cuba.

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