Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro says CNN is an “instrument of war” after his country pulls the network’s Spanish-language channel off the air.
During a televised Wednesday speech, Maduro claimed that the channel had been spreading "propaganda" over an alleged visa racket at the country's embassy in Iraq, while adding that the channel was an “instrument of war in the hands of real mafias.”
He also warned US President Donald Trump to “open his eyes and ears” in the face of an “incorrect policy” adopted by CNN and the US State Department, which he said were “promoting a general, massive intervention and aggression against Venezuela."
Earlier, the Venezuelan government issued a statement, announcing that the country's National Telecommunications Commission had ordered "the immediate suspension of CNN Spanish broadcasts."
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez also stressed that the government had "ordered the relevant authorities to take action" against the channel.
She added that the February 6 report was "based absolutely on falsehoods," and that the channel "has launched an operation of psychological warfare, a war propaganda operation."
She also referred to one of the report’s sources, embassy employee Misael Lopez, as a "delinquent."
The report also claimed that new Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami was behind the racket. Aissami was also recently sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury over alleged drug trafficking into the United States.
Meanwhile, Carlos Lauria, CNN's senior program coordinator for the Americas, called on Maduro "to stop interfering with the work of the press.”