Venezuela: Chávez, media mogul trade accusations following police raid

Venezuelan police and soldiers on May 21 raided a property belonging to Guillermo Zuloaga, president of the country's opposition Globovisión news network amid a growing confrontation between the station and the government of President Hugo Chávez. Judicial police chief Wilmer Flores Trossel said authorities found 24 Toyota vehicles on the Caracas property. "The owners of the residence will have to explain what these vehicles are doing there and why they aren't in a dealership," he said.

Zuloaga said he had "nothing to hide" and that the cars were being stored at the property because a dealership he owns had been robbed. He suggested the raid was an attempt to intimidate him, telling reporters: "I don't know if they're trying to find something to try to shut me up. They won't shut us up." (AP, May 22)

Chávez defended the raid in comments the following day at the opening of a chapter of the Armed Forces University in central Barinas state. "Some house, property of a filthy rich in Caracas, filled with luxury cars, and they did not produce any documents. Go and defend yourselves in court. If I have 40 cars, I should explain why I have them," said Chávez. "And what does the bourgeoisie say? Surprise, surprise! The owner of that house is also the owner of a TV channel. They say that Chávez is chasing them. Impunity must end here!" (El Univseral, Caracas, May 21)

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