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Anti-Chavez TV Head Seeks OAS Help

Guillermo Zuloaga, Globovisión

The head of a Venezuelan pro-opposition television channel has asked the Organization of American States for help as Venezuela's government pursues criminal charges against him.

Globovision president Guillermo Zuloaga visited OAS headquarters in Washington Friday to make the request to 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.

Last month, security officers went to Zuloaga's home to arrest him and his son, who were named in a warrant, but neither man was at the property. The two face charges related to a 2009 case in which they are accused of illegally storing 24 new Toyota vehicles. Zuloaga, who owns a car dealership, disappeared after a court issued the warrant.

Zuloaga also suggested Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered his arrest on trumped up charges. President Chavez has rejected the criticism.

The elder 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 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 and AFP.