Skip to main content

Venezuela: Recording of 'kidnapped' Chavez is fake, president says

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
September 30, 2013 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
People train stick fight in front of a mural depicting late Venezuelan former President Hugo Chavez, August, 18, 2013.
People train stick fight in front of a mural depicting late Venezuelan former President Hugo Chavez, August, 18, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A recording purports to be Hugo Chavez saying he's still alive
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the recording is fake
  • He accuses right-wing opponents of producing it

(CNN) -- Venezuela's president says right-wing opponents have unleashed a new weapon in their push to destabilize his government and demoralize his supporters: an imitation of Hugo Chavez's voice.

An audio recording widely circulated on social media purports to be the late Venezuelan leader saying he's still alive.

The recording comes nearly seven months after authorities announced Chavez's death from cancer and just a few months before municipal elections in the politically polarized South American country.

President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that the recording implying that Chavez has been kidnapped is fake, and he isn't taking it lightly.

'Piranhas' attack women for their hair
Venezuela's asylum strategy
Venezuela's presidential race heats up

"These people have no ethical limit, they have no moral limit, they have no scruples," Maduro said in televised remarks at a United Socialist Party of Venezuela event.

The recording purports to be a message from Chavez to his brother. A voice that sounds like Chavez says he is recovering, that his death was a lie and that he is "more alive than ever."

J.J. Rendon, a Miami-based political strategist who Maduro alleged was tied to the audio recording, fired back in a series of Twitter posts.

"All your insults are compliments to me! Do you like to please me? Keep attacking me," he wrote.

"I challenge that you -- beyond threats, lies and insults -- PROVE just one crime at least! You have no way to do that! Because there isn't any!"

Maduro became Venezuela's interim leader after Chavez's March 5 death and was sworn in as president after a narrow election victory in April.

Maduro's remarks Saturday are the latest in a series of accusations alleging plots to destabilize his government or assassinate him. He has made at least 11 such accusations since the beginning of his presidency, CNN en Español reported last week.

Maduro canceled his plans to travel to New York and attend the U.N. General Assembly last week because of what he said were plots to physically harm him there.

Gabriel Reyes, a Venezuela-based political analyst, told CNN en Español last week that there could be another motivation behind the accusations.

Both Chavez and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro often made such claims, he said.

"Maduro as a pupil of both of them cannot do anything other than using assassination as a sort of alternative distracting agenda," he said.

Journalist Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT