Venezuela pulled CNN's Spanish-language television channel off the air on Wednesday, accusing it of spreading propaganda about an alleged visa racket at the country's embassy in Iraq. The state National Telecommunications Commission ordered the immediate suspension of broadcasts by the news channel CNN in Spanish in Venezuela, a government statement said.
President Nicolas Maduro had earlier said he wanted the US-based news channel out of the country, where state media dominate.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told reporters the government had ordered the relevant authorities to take action against the channel.
Shortly after she spoke, the government made its announcement and the channel disappeared from the air. She branded one of the channel's sources in the report, embassy employee Misael Lopez, a delinquent.
CNN en Espanol on February 6 broadcast a report alleging that Venezuelan passports and visas had been sold at the Baghdad embassy to Arabs who the channel said may have been linked to terrorism.
The report named Maduro's new hardline vice president, Tareck El Aissami, as one of those behind the racket. Hardline former interior minister El Aissami, 42, is next in line to Maduro and would take over if the opposition succeeded in its bid to oust the leader in a vote.
El Aissami was targeted separately on Monday by US authorities who announced sanctions against him for alleged drug trafficking.
Rodriguez said the CNN report was based absolutely on falsehoods.