Venezuela to Probe Crossword Puzzles’ Role in Protests

Crossword puzzles in a local Venezuelan newspaper are calling readers to violent protests with conspiratorial messages, the country’s information minister said today.

Delcy Rodriguez called for an investigation of El Aragueno daily from the industrial town of Maracay, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Caracas for putting “encrypted messages” in its puzzles, she said in a post on her Twitter account. She didn’t give any details.

One person died in Maracay in a month and a half of protests against the government’s handling of an economic crisis that has pushed inflation to the highest in the world and led to shortages of basic items. At least 35 people have died in the protests, according to President Nicolas Maduro.

Brain teasers have triggered the alarm of Venezuela’s socialist government before. In May 2012, state television accused the biggest national newspaper Ultimas Noticias of trying to organize the assassination of then-President Hugo Chavez through coded crossword messages. Chavez died from cancer a year later.

An Information Ministry spokesman, who can’t be named because of internal policy, declined to comment on the investigation plans. El Aragueno editor Corina Rodriguez wasn’t immediately available for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anatoly Kurmanaev in Caracas at akurmanaev1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net Philip Sanders, Harry Maurer

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