Just getting home from his latest round of cancer treatment, the last thing Hugo Chavez probably expected was a crossword puzzle conspiracy that apparently threatened his brother's life.
Miguel Pérez, the host of a state-run TV show in Venezuela, said on air that a crossword in a Venezuelan newspaper contained hidden messages that were supposed to be threats against the life of Chavez's brother. The puzzle in question included the words "Adan," his brother's first name; "Rafaga," which can refer to machine gun fire or a gust of wind; and Asesinin, which means "to kill." The TV host compared the mysterious crossword clues to messages the French resistance used during World War II. Pérez said he got a team of psychologists and mathematicians to look at the crossword puzzle, and even they agreed with him.
Neptalí Segovia, the guy who actually wrote the crossword found the whole thing a little silly. He was quoted in his own paper saying the crossword had no political motive. He even volunteered to be interrogated by the National Intelligence Service over the crossword.
As we said, this probably isn't how Hugo Chaves expected to be received when he arrived back in Venezuela from his latest round of cancer treatment in Cuba. Chavez's health has been a concern going into October's election that he's insisting he'll be healthy enough to run in. "I come with great optimism that this treatment will have the effects we hope for, always asking God to help us and give us the miracle of life to keep serving," Chavez said after getting home. The cancer might not kill him, but he should probably check for messages in next week's cryptoquote to make sure there aren't any plots against his life.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.