Venezuelan journalist faces arrest in Caracas for inciting offensive chant to Messi’s wife | qualifiers – south america

A day before the Venezuelan national team host Argentina in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Venezuela’s Attorney General, Tarek Saab, called for the arrest and indictment of a Venezuelan sports journalist for “symbolic violence and promoting hatred” due to to a Twitter comment urging fans to sing a song offensive to Lionel Messi’s wife, Antonella Roccuzzo.

Lionel Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo at FIFA The Best Awards — Photo: Reuters

Deputy leader of the South American Qualifiers, with 12 points, Argentina faces Venezuela this Thursday, in Caracas, for the ninth round. The local team is second to last, with four points.

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Sports commentator Fernando Petrocelli, who lives in Argentina, retweeted a message that quoted Antonella in sexual terms, offering suggestions for adapting the crowd’s song with other equally spicy terms, according to AFP news agencies.

The 37-year-old journalist deleted the message, but the Venezuelan prosecutor included a screenshot of Petrocelli’s retweet in the arrest warrant. Also on Twitter, the journalist apologized, before the arrest warrant requested by Saab.

“I deeply regret that my comment yesterday offended women, whom I always respect at all times. I offer my most sincere apologies. My reference was to the country music that exists in Argentina. I was wrong. It was not my intention to offend them.” , he wrote.

Venezuelan authorities have arrested people for comments on social media, usually when they are critical of President Nicolas Maduro’s government or his relatives.