Huffington Post: Jose Gregorio Briceno, Venezuela State Governor, Claims To Be Victim Of Oil Spill Cover-Up

March 20, 2012 9:50 pm0 commentsViews:

Briceno suspended by ruling Socialist Party

* Says he was “sacrificed” for speaking out over oil leak

* Has been sparring with Chavez ally Cabello

By Andrew Cawthorne

CARACAS, March 20 (Reuters) – A Venezuelan state governor suspended from Hugo Chavez’s ruling party for dissent said on Tuesday he was the victim of a cover-up over an oil spill and a vendetta by the president’s most powerful aide.

Monagas state governor Jose Gregorio Briceno – better-known to Venezuelans by his nickname “The Cat” – was accused of repeatedly disobeying his superiors in the Socialist Party and was suspended last week pending an investigation.

The affair has highlighted power struggles in an election year amid uncertainty about Chavez’s treatment for cancer. It has also thrown attention on several oil spills that the authorities have played down, despite widespread public concern.

Briceno had long sparred with Diosdado Cabello, the head of Congress and No. 2 after Chavez in the party who has this year returned to prominence as the president’s most influential ally.

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