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Head of Venezuela's Globovision Considering Asylum in US

President of Venezuela's Globovision Guillermo Zuloaga (file photo)

President of Venezuela's Globovision Guillermo Zuloaga (file photo)

The head of a Venezuelan pro-opposition television channel says he cannot return to Venezuela, where he could face arrest, and that he could seek political asylum in the United States.

Globovision president Guillermo Zuloaga spoke to VOA's Foro Interamericano, in an exclusive interview being broadcast on Friday. Zuloaga also said U.S. government officials and attorneys have recommended he request asylum.

Last month, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government ordered Zuloaga's arrest on criminal charges he and his son illegally stored 24 new Toyota vehicles. Zuloaga - who owns a car dealership - denies the allegations. Security officers went to Zuloaga's home to arrest him and his son, but they were not at the property.

Last week, Zuloaga visited the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington to seek help from its human rights body, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Zuloaga told Globovision he went to the OAS to "seek the justice" he said does not exist in Venezuela.

Zuloaga has suggested Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered his arrest on trumped up charges. President Chavez has rejected the criticism and was quoted Thursday as saying his government will have to request Zuloaga's extradition from the U.S.

Zuloaga disappeared after a Venezuelan court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Zuloaga also faces charges for allegedly making false and offensive remarks about the Venezuelan president at a meeting in March of the Inter American Press Association in Aruba.

Zuloaga briefly detained after he spoke about restrictions on freedom of expression in Venezuela at the gathering.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said earlier this year that it is concerned about the use of the punitive power of the state to silence opponents in Venezuela.

The commission also said in a report that Venezuela under President Chavez constrains freedom of expression and has placed serious restrictions on human rights. Mr. Chavez called the report "garbage."

Some information for this report was provided by AP.