Los Angeles Times
August 13, 2008
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is defending a decision to prevent 272 officials from running in November's local elections, the Associated Press reports.
Chavez says a news media campaign has portrayed the officials as "the best." But he says that really they are 'thieves' who "need to be in prison."
Last week, Venezuela's Supreme Court upheld the Comptroller General's decision to bar the candidates from running on suspicion of corruption.
Those blacklisted include key Chavez opponents, who have protested in the streets.
But Venezuela's National Electoral Commission officially closed registration for the candidates on Tuesday.
Chavez said that the uproar over the disqualifications is the "work of the Empire," a reference to the United States.