World Bulletin/News Desk
A recording released by Venezuela's opposition, which they claim reveals graft and conspiracy in the ruling Socialist Party, has stirred a new political storm in the OPEC nation's troubled transition after the death of Hugo Chavez.
Opposition leaders on Monday played an hourlong, expletive-laced diatribe in which a man identified as powerful state TV commentatorMario Silva lambastes party heavyweight Diosdado Cabello.
They said Silva was talking to a Cuban intelligence officer.
Silva, whose close links to the late Chavez have led many to see him as more powerful than some cabinet ministers, did not deny it was his voice but said the recording had been manipulated by Israeli intelligence and the CIA.
"I categorically reject this set-up," he said.
Cabello, who heads Congress and is seen by many Venezuelans as a possible rival to recently-elected President Nicolas Maduro, called the recording a "media show" and urged unity within government ranks.
The comments have fed into months of opposition theories of a furious power struggle within the disparate "Chavismo" coalition that the late Chavez controlled during his 14-year-rule.
"The only way to get rid of Diosdado is to demonstrate that he is corrupt and is corrupting everyone else, and to show proof that (Chavez) knew about it," said the man on the recording, which sounded like Silva's familiar, gruff voice.
He said Cabello controls intelligence agencies and was using the tax agency and the currency control board to acquire "financing."
FRIEND OF CHAVEZ
Silva, a friend of the late Chavez, runs a late-night talk-show that has a following among government supporters.
In a statement, he said foreign intelligence services had fabricated the tape by editing actual conversations obtained through recordings made by aircraft being flown over his office. He said he was temporarily suspending his program for health reasons.
The legislators who presented the recording said it was destined for Cuban President Raul Castro, whose government receives generous assistance in the form of subsidized oil.
The man in the recording appeared to suggest that computer hackers had taken over the elections council systems to lower the margin of Maduro's victory.Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2013, 09:31