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Venezuela Congress Head Requests Travel Ban for Journalists

FILE - National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello (C) take part in a rally with a Bolivarian militia in Caracas, March 15, 2014.

The head of Venezuela's congress says he's asking courts to bar more than a dozen news executives from leaving the country while he's suing them for alleged defamation.

Those targeted include Miguel Otero, who heads El Nacional, the largest Venezuelan newspaper that's still critical of the government.

National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello is suing the executives and their outlets for linking him to the drug trade. In January, they published stories saying his bodyguard had defected to the U.S. to testify that Cabello heads a drug ring.

Cabello is the most powerful figure in Venezuela's ruling socialist party after President Nicolas Maduro, and denies any ties to drug trafficking.