Photo: Man identified as Hugo Chavez (El Pais)
The incident involving the posting by the Spanish daily El Pais on its Web site of a photo of a man with breathing tubes wrongly identified as ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez “has not been overcome” because the newspaper has not apologized to the head of state or people of the South American country, Venezuelan Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said.
Spain’s highest-circulation daily has not apologized to “President Chavez, his family, the Venezuelan people ... not even to the unidentified patient whose photo was put on page one,” Villegas said Saturday in Santiago, where he attended the CELAC-EU summit.
The Spanish newspaper apologized to its readers but not to Venezuela’s government and people, the minister said.
El Pais said it removed the image from its Web site and the front page of its Thursday, Jan. 24, print edition after wrongly identifying the intubated man as Chavez.
The 58-year-old Chavez has been hospitalized in Cuba since Dec. 11 after undergoing his fourth cancer surgery since June 2011.
Early morning print editions of El Pais contained a grainy photo said to have been taken “a few days ago” and showing a bald man identified as Chavez lying in the foreground with breathing tubes in his mouth.
As soon as officials in Caracas became aware of the purported photo of Chavez, Villegas said the man was not the president.
Chavez, a leftist who took office in 1999, was re-elected on Oct. 7 by a comfortable margin and is to serve until 2019.