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Venezuela blasts U.S. TV show over Maduro nerve gas plot

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela has lashed out at new U.S. television show "Legends" for an episode that mentions Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in connection with the buying of chemical weapons to quell unrest at home.

"For lies and manipulations against President @NicolasMaduro in the series "Legends" we're requesting (National Telecoms Commission) Conatel open an investigation," Information Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a tweet late on Monday night.

"The series Legends aired on U.S. channel TNT represents a Hollywood script typical of imperialist actions against legitimate governments," she added.

Fox 21, the Twenty-First Century Inc-owned producer of the crime drama, apologized to Maduro in a statement.

"'Legends' is obviously a work of fiction," Fox 21 said. "The producers did not intend to imply that the show was reporting any actual events when it mentioned President Maduro's name. We sincerely apologize to President Maduro."

Time Warner Inc-owned cable network TNT is currently airing the first season of "Legends." The disputed episode, "Lords of War," shows an undercover FBI agent, played by British actor Sean Bean, burning a suspect with an iron to get him to confess to whom he is selling VX, an extremely toxic nerve gas.

"I don't know," the man whimpers. "There's a proxy."

Bean responds, "And who is the proxy? Maduro."

The suspect says, "PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela). They're worried about the civil unrest in Venezuela."

Maduro endured three months of violent street protests at the start of the year over spiraling inflation, rampant crime and shortages of basic goods ranging from diapers to corn flour.

Maduro's predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, also frequently lampooned Venezuela's ideological foe the United States. Tensions ran especially high after a brief coup in 2002 that Chavez blamed the United States for instigating.

It remains unclear what reach the investigation into "Legends" will have.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Eyanir Chinea in Caracas, additional reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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