Venezuelan firemen jailed for donkey video mocking president

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Two firefighters have been arrested after a video surfaced on social media showing them mockingly compare Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to a donkey, officials said Friday.

The two-minute clip shows one man lead a donkey through a firehouse. Another man videotaping says they are receiving a presidential visit.

"As you can see, he is doing an inspection," the firefighter says, adding that the burro approved of the grass outside the building after briefly grazing.

The joke is based on a disparaging nickname that critics of the socialist president use for him Maburro, a play on his name using "burro," the Spanish word for donkey.

Maduro is widely unpopular, overseeing the once-wealthy oil-nation's plunge into a deep economic crisis. A shortage of food and medicine is driving mass migration across its borders.

Seeing no humor in the video, counterintelligence police arrested the two men at the firehouse after the video went viral.

The firefighters are Ricardo Prieto and Carlos Varon, each with more than a decade of service in the fire service.

Jesus Moron, an attorney for the western state of Merida, confirmed the arrests, but said he didn't know what charges might be filed. Prosecutors in the state Attorney General's Office haven't announced charges.

Lawmakers loyal to Maduro last year passed a law against spreading hate, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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