“Spain’s influential El Pais newspaper apologized on Thursday for publishing a “false photo” of cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, removed the image from its website and withdrew its print edition.
The Venezuelan government and the president of Argentina, Chavez ally Cristina Fernandez, condemned the publication of the photo. “As grotesque as it is false,” Venezuela’s information minister said on Twitter.
The grainy photo that El Pais originally splashed on its front page on Thursday, billed as a global exclusive, showed the head of a man lying down with a breathing tube in his mouth.
El Pais, one of the biggest Spanish-language publications in the world and an institution both in Spain and in Latin America, said in a brief online statement that it had withdrawn the photo after ascertaining that the image was not of Chavez.